The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our Tax Rate and Fiscal Responsibility

As many of you know, I have been asking the administration for our 2012 tax rate for several months (we passed the budget last spring). Every time I asked, I got some excuse for why the information couldn't be given to me. Then, after being told at the September 10 council meeting that they didn't know I had made the request (!!!), I received an email from Administration and Finance a day later with the numbers (of course, the County had just released the numbers as well). The rate is as follows (click to enlarge):

The city portion, as you can see, has gone down very slightly, thanks mainly to Council President Mapp and Dave Kochel, the budget consultant the city council approved to assist with the process in the continued absence of a Chief Financial Officer. The administration bragged, in early spring, about getting the budget down to Trenton on time, but then deliberately hid from the council for several weeks the notice that the state had returned the budget to the administration, basically stating that it was a hot mess, sloppily put together, and riddled with errors that amounted to about a $2 million shortfall. 

In that budget, there was no accounting for the deferred pension payment, insurance costs, etc., in addition to the mayor's attempt to pad her own budget and pet projects to the tune of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars (while also attempting to slash the Plainfield library budget by 40%!). 

I wrote about this in June: The Politics of Incompetence.  It was only through the hard work of the council's finance committee, led by Council President Mapp that Plainfield residents did not receive a tax increase this year.  

I also have received numerous complaints about the tax collection in our city. At the budget hearings, I was mortified to discover that untold amounts of money were sitting in the tax collector's office, not deposited in violation of state law! The tax bills were once again sent out late. I will be following up on this and other items at the next city council meeting--this coming Monday, October 1.

All best,



  1. Councilwomen Williams you are the best. Council president or should I say Mayor Adrian Mapp keep up the good work. I will be supporting you.


  2. Rebecca, please note that it is not just this year that Adrian Mapp was able to keep rates down. It has been at least 3.

    And remember folks, your taxes do not include a $150 million toward the schools.

    We bring in more than $200 million dollars into Plainfield. Do you feel like this is a 200 mil town and are you getting your money's worth?

    I would also like to add that I believe there should be a law that any elected official that receives taxpayer compensation, should have their compensation garnished if they owe taxes or any other fines owed to the city/state.

    We have people on our city payroll that do not pay taxes or city bills, and yet they take the taxpayer money. Which means that the taxpayers are paying them twice - once as an elected official, and a second time covering the money owed to taxpayers which they do not pay. If officials cannot pay their fair share or make arrangements if they fall on hard times, then they should not get paid by the taxpayers.

    Do you know the process of starting to get this bill in front of the council or legislature?

  3. Kudo's Councilwomen, keep up the good work

  4. To 12:46 PM,

    In general, if there is a resolution that you want the city council to consider for adoption, you should come to the agenda-fixing session and ask for it to be put on the agenda for discussion.

    I gotta say, I found it quite upsetting that new PMUA ED Williamson was apppointed to his new job while owing well over $2,000 to the PMUA--this was, in my opinion, a cynical "Who cares what you think, peon!" (from the commissioners who voted to appoint him)to the rate-payers of this city who struggle to pay their bills. In addition, the fact that the mayor also did not pay her PMUA bill while obstructing any attempt at cooperating with the city council to bring about real reform demonstrates to me that she, too, has nothing but contempt for the people of this city. It is inconceivable to me that someone making the salary our former Corporation Counsel was making would not pay his bill. The mayor, as the chief executive of the city, should at the very least, pay her fair share of municipal bills of the city she purports to be responsible for. We should be held to a higher standard--indeed, we are.