I received this campaign e-mail from Freeholder Candidate Nathan Rudy:
“On Monday, June 28th the Courier News ran an AP article entitled, “Taxes without benefits frustrate residents.” The article noted that a survey found that 60 percent of New Jersey residents believe they do not get a fair value for the taxes they paid, a number that I suspect is likely lower than the opinion in Somerset County.
Somerset County residents should be particularly upset at paying high property taxes to the Somerset County Freeholders and getting little in return. Only six counties in New Jersey pay a higher ratio of County to Municipal property taxes. In fact, 13 of the 21 towns in Somerset County, property owners actually pay more in taxes to Somerset County than they do to their own municipality.
The three most egregious examples pay over 60 percent more to the county. Branchburg property owners send $5.2 million to the town, while remitting $8.5 million — 64 percent more — to the Freeholders. Residents of Warren paid 2003 property taxes of $7.1 million to their town, while sending $13.6 million � 92 percent more — to the Freeholders. Residents of Bridgewater paid their municipality $13.9 million dollars in 2003 property taxes, while handing over $29 million � more than twice as much — to the Freeholders in the same time period.
And for what?
When you think a burglar is in the house, you call your local police department. If you have a fire in your home or business, you call your town’s volunteer fire department whose training and equipment is funded primarily by local taxes. When you go to a restaurant, you know the food is safe because of your town’s health department’s inspections. When you want a youth sports program you use your municipal recreation department. Even recycling, where our bins have the Somerset County logo, is paid for with municipal property taxes and not those levied by the Freeholders. One of the biggest expenses for the County is road maintenance, but the municipalities maintain 75 percent of the roads in Somerset County, and the Freeholders only oversee 18 percent.2
As a two term councilman in North Plainfield, I know that Somerset County’s residents get great return on their tax dollars from their home towns, but are not receiving equal value for the average $8 million increase in Somerset County property taxes the Freeholders tack on every year.
Please download this information sheet to learn more, and pass it out in your neighborhood. Our campaign needs your help to educate the people of Somerset County about where their tax dollars are going, and that they have the power to make a change.”