A boy scout describes the successful bat boxes placed around Hillside Park. Credits: Danielle Nifenecker
Committee Bob Smith provides an update about the Solid Waste Advisory Commission. Credits: Danielle Nifenecker
The committee engaging in a discussion during the meeting. Credits: Danielle Nifenecker
Andover Township Discusses Energy Tax and Shared Services Proposal
Friday, July 27, 2012 • 2:29pm
ANDOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ - Councilman Tom Walsh addressed his concerns about the State Energy Tax at the July 23 township committee meeting.
Walsh gave a presentation including the history of the Energy Tax in New Jersey, the purpose of the tax, and how the state has not been fulfilling that purpose for over four years.
Before 1980, municipalities collected taxes on utilities such as water and electricity, the presentation explained. After 1980, the State of New Jersey collected these taxes and redistributed them back to the municipality in hopes of lowering the property tax.
Over the past few years, the State has failed to return these energy taxes back to the municipality, resulting in over $60 million owed to the municipalities.
“They claimed this was state aid and property tax relief, but they have not returned this money and instead raised the sales tax in 2008,” Councilman Walsh said.
When asked about these funds, the county freeholders told the municipalities that these funds were already accounted for in the budget.
“I say that it’s not your money to put in the budget,” Walsh said.
The committee members distributed the phone numbers and addresses of the representatives so residents would be able to contact them about this problem.
“They [the state] have been stealing our money for years, and we want our money back,” Walsh said. “Only representative McHose voted for the return of funds to the municipality, so please contact the other representatives and demand the money being given back."
Another important topic discussed at the Andover Township meeting is the Shared Services proposal. Under this proposal, the Township is considering removing the dispatch center and joining with another community to cover the emergency calls. Many residents anticipated the meeting, thinking the vote would take place. However, the council is still discussing the subject and will have the results at the August 27 meeting.
Betty Donnelly who spoke on behalf of the dispatchers, said, “The emergency responders rely on the dispatchers like family. We know the addresses of the residents of this community and the responders need us in order to get to an emergency quickly.”
In other business:
· The Environmental Commission of Andover Township, the Green Team, gave a report on their farming and food bank donations. In the past week, the Green Team has been able to grow 16 pounds of fruits and vegetables in the community garden to donate to the food bank. Over the next few weeks, the best harvest will come in and that donation will increase. The community garden is located at Sunset Vista Farms and residents may visit at any time. The next Green Team meeting will take place at the Hillside House on Thursday, July 26 at 7pm. Anyone who would like to be involved is invited.
· Committee member Bob Smith updated the committee and the public on the Solid Waste Advisory Commission (SWAC) activities, explaining that the Lafayette landfill will close in 2018 when it reaches capacity. This commission has been recommending that freeholders find a transfer station within the next few years in order to be prepared for this problem. However, the freeholders formed a separate committee to discuss this problem without advising SWAC, and without including any of its members.
“The freeholders are completely ignoring our advise, and I feel like I’ve wasted my time with these recommendations that they’re not taking seriously,” Smith said. The committee agreed to introduce a resolution regarding the actions of the freeholders.