Hornik Campaign: Republicans Don’t Know How Municipal Government Works, Blames Board Of Ed, John Dwyer For Tax Increases
Invoking Abraham Lincoln’s ‘You can fool all of the people’ quote and Congressman Frank Pallone’s promise of affordable healthcare, the Republican “PositivelyMarlboro” team of Ira Goldberg for Mayor and Council candidates John Dwyer and Sui Allex charged that their incumbent Democrat opponents, Mayor Jonathan Hornik and Councilwoman Randi Marder have been deceiving the public regarding their record of taxing and spending. The Republicans noted that Hornik’s own property tax assessment went down in 2015 and that Marder’s assessment is lower now than it was in 2011.
In a press release and postings on their website and on facebook on Friday, the Republicans said that Hornik and his “obedient” and rubber stamp” Township Council are employing election year budgetary gimmicks and deceitful campaign language in an attempt to convince voters that they’ve been fiscally responsible and that others—the Board of Education and the County Tax Board—are responsible for the growing tax burden.
The Republicans disputed Hornik’s recent claim that the new property tax assessment program has “effectively has eliminated the avenue to appeal a tax assessment.”
“Marlboro homeowners can and should appeal their property tax assessments if they believe they are wrong,” said mayoral candidate Ira Goldberg, “Don’t let Mayor Hornik tell you that you can’t. Monmouth County’s public records website reveals that 306 Marlboro families appealed their tax assessments in 2014, the first year of the new program. That’s 109 more appeals than filed from neighboring Manalapan, 202 more than Aberdeen and 157 more than in Colts Neck.”
“Marlboro homeowners historically appeal the high taxes imposed upon them by Mayor Hornik, Councilwoman Marder and the rest of his hand-picked rubber stamp council,” said Goldberg. “In 2012, there were over 600 appeals! As is often the case, our young mayor is playing fast and loose with the facts.”
The Hornik campaign responded with a press release that accused the Republicans of “continuing efforts to throw accusations at the wall to see what sticks, they are now attacking Jon Hornik for defending the taxpayers. Our opponents do not even understand how local government operates. The Monmouth County Tax Board certifies the assessed values for residents in the Township.”
“There he goes again,” Goldberg said in response. “while the County Tax Board “certifies” assessed values, those values are submitted to the County by the Marlboro Township Tax Assessor under the new system, just as they were under the old system.”
“The tax figures that the Hornik campaign has been touting do not tell the whole story,” said Council candidate Sui Allex, “they are using election year gimmickry.”
In their press release, the Hornik campaign did not address the Republicans’ charges that they have increased spending while using gimmicks to keep the tax rate down in an election year. Rather, the Democrats attacked the Board of Education and Republican council candidate John Dwyer, a former Board of Education Member for Marlboro’s increased tax burden:
Meanwhile, the Marlboro Board of Education, of which our opponent John Dwyer was a member until he abruptly quit to run for Council, chose to raise the budget almost 6 ½ percent, representing an additional $4.36 million in taxes to be paid by Marlboro residents. After raising taxes on Marlboro residents, Dwyer then decided to quit the School Board to pursue his current political agenda.
“That’s Hornik’s typical manipulation of words,” Dwyer said in response. “I voted against the school budget increase, because except for the teachers salary increases, it’s over-inflated. We need to take care of our teachers. Families don’t move to Marlboro for our Parks and Recreation. They come here for our excellent schools. The school board needs to take a different, more transparent approach to its other appropriations and capital expenditures. I always made that clear during my service on the board.”
“I was not running for reelection and my term would have already expired had Marlboro not changed the date of the Board of Education election,” Dwyer said about his resignation from the Board. “When a spot became available on the Republican ticket for Township Council, I resigned from the Board because politics and the schools should never be mixed.”
While the Hornik team’s press release did not address the 2015 spending increase of $1.030 million, or the fact that Hornik’s 2015 tax assessment went down that the Republicans noted in their release, a Hornik supporter who asked not to be named called MMM to defend the mayor’s spending record and dismiss the Republicans’ claims about Hornik’s tax assessment.
“Hornik had nothing to do with his tax assessment,” the caller claimed,”It wasn’t just his block that went down, as the Republicans said. The assesed value of the entire 132 home development he lives in, Highlands Crest, was reduced by $257K in 2015.”
“The Hornik Administration has held the line on spending since taking over from Mayor Kleinberg,” the caller continued, “go and take a look at the 2008 budget and compare it to 2015. Don’t just compare 2015 to 2014.”
In the 2008 budget Marlboro spent $27.6 million for municipal operating purposes, compared to operating funds $27.8 million budgeted for 2015. Municipal taxes were $17.9 million in 2008 compared to $25.8 million in 2015. The Township had a Surplus of $8.1 million in 2008, which has dwindled to $4.2 million since Hornik and Marder have taken office.