Category Archives: Municipal Government

Nouveau Trial Of Tears


Water, water, everywhere…

not a drop to drink

Tears running down parents’ faces

Brown water in the sink

 

From Flint, they will sprint

Politicians tried to save a buck

Colored water! Coloured faces

Did they give a fuck?

 

Switched the source, much remorse

Some think it is too late

School-aged children sure to die

Golden water, heaven’s gate

 

Urban crisis…Flint, Detroit

In our own backyard?

Children asking, “Our water too??”

Poker facing, will they see our card?

 

Clean water put out fires

Dirty politicians who we hire

How much till we tire?

Patience surely to expire!

 

That wasted water, we can’t drink

Sending fresh water, so we speak

“Mom, why are we moving?”

Tears falling, mom can’t speak

 

Mom’s packing our clothes

Dad is making calls

Those who CAN move, WILL

Those who CAN’T    F  a l  l

 

Like Katrina, government arrived late

Like Ferguson, government said WAIT

Like New Orleans, government: ” RElocate!”

Texas, here we come!!

 

Build a wall??

WE are coming from the North

Southern Belles, prepare your homes

You’ve been “Trumped” citizens coming forth!

 

 

Don’t you get it?

Don’t you care?!?

It’s not just in Flint!

It’s the American nightmare!

 

This nouveau trail of tears

Renewed death and fears

Politicians campaign smears

Victory brings no cheers…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fairfield Township is For Sale to the Lowest Bidder

Several vendors including insurance carriers and legal servants have deliberately submitted proposals that undercut vendors with long standing relationships with the township; only to exploit the township after the new contracts were accepted. This speaks nothing to the credit of township officials who knowingly accepted these new contracts and sign off on the inflated service bills on a monthly basis.  

  

But let’s focus on the positive. In seven months, there have been no lawsuits settled (although several have been filed). There have been no new complaints about roads that need to be fixed or homes that need to be condemned (even though the convenience center issues are left unresolved and the grants received for road improvements have not been implemented).  There have been several positions filled (as a result of letting several employees and volunteers go). There will be progress. Leaders who are constantly looking ahead take little responsibility for the wake they’ve created behind them. Any political party leaders worth their salt could spin this to glean more support. But we know better.  

Now let’s take a look at what’s to come. We have a mayor who’s denial of owning a small business in the township (because all of the assets may be in a family member’s name); a deputy who’s has a big event in less than 60 says concluding that he may not actually live in the township; two committee members who refuse to run again; and a freshman member who hasn’t decided whether he should continue to take orders or take a stand on an issue. Things are good in Fairfield Township! With no one taking responsibility for the direction of the municipality, the people are at liberty to take the reigns (both figuratively and literally). You see, with the entire committee behaving like stubborn mules, the public can now intervene and make their voices heard! That is however if the public is allowed to participate.  

Little explored fact: every governing body in the state of New Jersey is not only required to advertise public meetings, but is also required to allow for public comment. A mayor who is knowingly refuses to facilitate this is in violation of state statute. In fact, a committee that allows this behavior without objection could be charged with conspiracy.  

Money is a big factor in municipal management. The governing committee is audited based on its ability to develop a budget, articulate to the public how it has managed public funds, and most importantly adhere to that budget. Short of that, concerned citizens are within their rights to demand accountability legally (either through criminal or civil avenues). We don’t like to see that because ultimately this comes as a cost to the community. Let’s not forget, the Fairfield Township Committee recently passed legislation to protect themselves legally from persecution (or prosecution). Poor planning? Not at all. It’s been beautifully orchestrated. Kudos to the mayor and his handlers.   
This is all bought by the tax payers at the cost of a mere two and a half percent tax increase. The township IS for sale…to whomever is willing to pay the price. Some pay to play. Others play so that you can pay. It’s a divisive system, but thus far it’s proven effective.  

Fairfield Fantasy

Imagine that the residents were offered an opportunity to have a township celebration at the municipal building and surrounding recreation fields. There could be refreshments and rides and music.  It would rival the Harvest Festival, but admission would be free.  Unlimited fun while children and adults engage in countless activities.  This event could be planned annually for the next ten years for no additional cost!  The only cost would be a one-time fee of $20 by each tax payer in the township. Wouldn’t that be great?

How about this instead?  Imagine planning for a community center for the entire township. With a game room, big screen televisions, and a dinning hall;  a recreation area for community events and staff to facilitate, we’d have an asset that would rival neighboring communities. Again all of this (with some creative planning and about a $20 contribution from each tax payer) could be ours. How cool would that be?    Alright!  One more idea–what if we could get a discount on an emergency vehicle that could supplement the emergency medical services for all of Fairfield Township. The vehicle could be paid for with grants, but mostly with the funds that could be raised from consenting taxpayers. It would cost a minimal $20 times all 4000 tax payers.

Now here are the requirements. We can only choose one of these delightful options. Either a 10 year festival that celebrates the residents of the township, or a community center for all of the residents, or an emergency medical vehicle that services the entire community.  Which would you choose?  The entire township would have to vote, and the winning selection would be acted upon immediately.  Every tax payer would be pledging the minimal one-time-only fee of $20.  Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

The Math

There are approximately 8000 residents in the township, but not all are tax payers. Excluding the children , the seniors, the renters, and the other family members that live in each household, there are about 4000 folks who are eligible to pay taxes. But that would be enough to meet these goals. If everyone made their mandatory contribution, the fund would amass a whopping $80,000!  Imagine that!  An annual celebration would cost about $8000 a year.  With proper planning and community development, a community center could be developed. Non-profit organizations right here in Cumberland County have done it for less! Emergency vehicles are expensive, but (again) with proper planning, research, and a lot of tenacity a vehicle could be purchased for nearly the same amount of money.  It wouldn’t be easy, but nothing worth having is ever easy. This doesn’t have to be a fantasy. This $20 we speak of is smaller than the additional $30 a year that we WILL be paying due to the most recent tax hike. That’s NOT a fantasy!   

Now imagine instead of getting one of these amazing projects, we had to give that entire sum to one person.  Would you be as excited?  Collectively, would we consent?  Perhaps if you had an explanation?  Imagine that the reason is because that individual claimed that he or she felt entitled because the system failed him or her.   All of those who already consented to the other project(s) have already made their mandatory contribution. No party!  No community center!  No rescue vehicle!  Instead a law suit must be settled. It’s sad but necessary. No refunds will be given.  No further explanation will be offered. How do you feel about that?

What if I told you that this is one of many reasons that residents loose interest in local government.  Is this the reason that so few residents vote?  Would our participation adversely impact the final outcome?  So often great plans crumble as a result of exchanging the wants for a community for the needs of a few.  This is the Fairfield Fantasy.  Or should it be called Fact or Fiction?  Either way the residents will get an F.