A New Jersey Borough Serves as a Role Model, Demonstrating Efficient Government and Fiscal Restraint
Sunday, October 21, 2012 • 9:21am
The Christie administration took office vowing to install efficient government, while practicing fiscal restraint. Now, three years later, it appears that the administration is penalizing a municipality for doing just that.
The Borough of East Rutherford has served as a role model of efficient government for other communities in New Jersey for many decades. In fact, the Borough has historically demonstrated a tradition of stable government and fiscal restraint. The current Mayor, James Casella, is serving his fifth term in office, ably supported by Council members George Perry, Jeff Lahulia, Joel Brizzi and others. The Mayor and Council have delivered quality services to its residents, while maintaining one of the lowest tax rates in expensive Bergen County. Yet, somehow, the Borough is being chastised and threatened by the Christie Administration for not finalizing its budget.
Unlike other New Jersey municipalities, The Borough of East Rutherford is a Meadowlands community that hosts the New York Jets and Giants, the former Xanandu Project (now the American Dream) and the Meadowlands Race Track.
The above entities are governed by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority which shares no administrative power with the Borough. Furthermore, the East Rutherford Municipality is left with the legal responsibility to ensure police, fire, and emergency service protections, requiring unnecessary expenditures by the Borough.
Unlike the Borough of East Rutherford, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority has been losing millions of New Jersey Tax Payer dollars every year, while paying exorbitant executive salaries and failing to receive worthwhile returns on its investments. Furthermore, Mayor Casella and his Council members have been
struggling to attain proper property tax payments from the private entities that are "squatting” in the Borough. Among the struggle is the failure of the New York Giants training facility to pay a delinquent 1.5 million dollars tax bill. In addition, the American Dream project has been delinquent in paying a 2.6 million dollar tax bill. Through it all, the Borough has remained solvent and has cash in hand, thanks to efficient fiscal management by the Mayor and Council.
The Governor and the State can take lessons in efficient fiscal management from the Borough of East Rutherford. Rather than chastise and threaten the Mayor and Council, the Christie Administration would fare better by signing up for a workshop on proper fiscal planning, to be taught by the East Rutherford municipal officials.
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