Dan Perez has a six-year plan to bankrupt Sussex County
When you think back on all the spending "mistakes" that the Sussex County Freeholder Board has made since 2011, can we afford six more years of them?
Dan Perez thinks so.
Dan Perez is a Democrat running for Freeholder. Perez is a New York lawyer who has helped many a county insider with their legal troubles. Perez is himself an insider, who has been appointed to two patronage jobs courtesy of the Freeholder Board.
At the Freeholder debate on Wednesday evening, Dan Perez argued the case for the county establishment. Perez said to "trust" county government.
Fortunately, most taxpayers know better. They want their government back in their own hands. They want a plan to get the county out of debt, so that we can begin to talk about getting property taxes under control.
The people who pay property taxes know that the Democrats' talk of lowering them is pure bullshit (because they are the party of higher property taxes) and that the Republicans' hopes to lower them are pie-in-the-sky until we get spending and debt under control. That's why we need a five-year plan to get out of debt, instead of Dan Perez' six-year plan to put Sussex County into bankruptcy.
Neighboring Warren County has such a plan. They are on the path to a debtless future.
How are they doing it? By putting county government on a diet.
While Sussex County was stumbling from crisis to crisis, from scandal to scandal, Warren County passed an ordinance that prevented its politicians from borrowing without first getting the approval of the taxpayers. It is a reform that works!
What it does is this: Before any long-term borrowing can happen, it must first go on the ballot for the voters to decide whether or not they think it is a worthy project and they want to pay for it.
Once this ordinance is passed, the politicians on the Sussex County Freeholder Board will have to ask the taxpayers for permission the next time someone comes up with a scheme to use tax money to place solar panels all over the place, or to build a new county administration building, or to finance the sale of the county dump to private investors. It would put any of these crazy ideas on hold until the voters can properly scrutinize the plans and then place it on the ballot for the voters to decide.
It is the same thing that just happened in Newton, where the voters got to decide on a ballot question seeking voter approval for more than $18 million in bonds to fund the expansion and renovation of the Merriam Avenue School. Voters were asked to approve $18.69 million in new debt (bonds), which would have increased the tax burden on the average home by $337 annually over the next 20 years. 959 voters said "no" and 238 voters said "yes" so the borrowing didn't happen.
No wonder insiders like Dan Perez are pissing their pants!
Some insiders make an argument that begins with the words, "what about an emergency" -- when they darn well know that the ordinance makes exclusions for emergencies. It also makes exclusions for anticipatory borrowing, where the money is promised to the county. What it ends is borrowing just to spend money and give contracts to other insiders.
Insiders like Dan Perez are livid over this legislation and at how it threatens them and their fellow insiders. At Wednesday night's debate, Perez lied about the ordinance and used the term "gimmick" to describe it. Now telling lies is something lawyers are trained at, so we shouldn't expect better from Perez, but we think "gimmick" better describes what Perez did when he tried to get the fine reduced for a convicted scumbag who tried to bring heroin into the country. That was a "gimmick" and that was a convicted scumbag and that was Dan Perez.
Here's a copy of the ordinance passed by Warren County. It's working!
On motion by Mr. Smith, seconded by Mr. Gardner, the following resolution was adopted by the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Warren at a meeting held on February 13, 2013.
RESOLUTION OF THE WARREN COUNTY BOARD OF CHOSEN FREEHOLDERS TO REQUIRE VOTER APPROVAL BY PUBLIC QUESTION OF BONDED INDEBTEDNESS OF THE COUNTY OF WARREN
WHEREAS, Warren County was created by an act of the New Jersey Legislature in 1825 as a Class III County (political subdivision) deriving its authority from the people and the State Legislature; and
WHEREAS, the creation of debt is addressed in part by the State Legislature in Article VIII, Section II, Paragraph 3 (a) of the N.J. State Constitution which requires that debt in excess of 1% of the annual appropriations of the Legislature shall be submitted to the voters for approval; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Chosen Freeholders is an entity of limited authority whose members are chosen by the voters of Warren County and who have solemnly pledged to exclusively represent their interests; and
WHEREAS, the members of the Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders shall operate within the framework of the Constitutions of the United States and the State of New Jersey along with the laws enacted by the Legislature and who have a moral obligation to have its decisions reflect the will of the people they serve; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of Warren County have the right to transparency in the operations of County Government and to be informed of the decisions that affect the financial health, safety and welfare of the County.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders in the County of Warren, State of New Jersey as follows:
1. It shall be the policy of the Board of Chosen Freeholders not to create nor authorize debt on behalf of the County of Warren that exceeds 2% of the annual appropriations of the County, unless such debt is approved by the voters pursuant to provisions of N.J.S.A. 19:37‐1, et. seq.
2. The Board of Chosen Freeholders further resolve that the citizens of Warren County have a right to be informed of the specific purpose of any borrowing authorized by its Board of Chosen Freeholders along with the overall costs to the taxpayers and the manner in which such debt shall be repaid and the terms and conditions of such debt.
3. It shall be the policy of the Board of Chosen Freeholders not to assume additional debt, nor enter into any bonding agreements not approved by the majority of the voters of Warren County.
4. Debts incurred by independent public authorities or boards who have their own governing body, established under statute, or when repayments of said debts shall be funded by revenues generated for the purpose of said authority or board, are not regulated by this Resolution.
5. Nothing herein shall prohibit the Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders from making emergency appropriations when said emergency affects the physical assets of the County of Warren, or the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of the County of Warren.
6. This Resolution is not applicable to debt funded by sources other than the County Purpose Tax.
This Resolution shall take effect immediately.
I hereby certify the above to be a true copy of a resolution adopted by the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Warren at a meeting held on February 13, 2013.
Steve Marvin, Clerk of the Board
Recorded Vote: Mr. Gardner yes, Mr. Smith yes, Mr. Sarnoski yes
And kudos to Republican Freeholder candidate Herb Yardley for proposing this for Sussex County.