Monmouth County Reliability Project Sheds Light on the State’s Continued Skim on Taxpayers

By Tony Fiore, Middletown Deputy Mayor

409007_485290121501434_1271080836_nThe recent filing of the proposed JCP&L Monmouth County Reliability Project should serve as a wake-up call to all taxpayers in the state of New Jersey.   The proposed 10 mile project with upwards of 200 foot monopoles to be installed on New Jersey Transit right-of way, will have a negative impact on the property values of all adjoining properties and potentially, properties within the line of site.  The impact alone in Middletown could be upwards of $1.5 million in lost value. However, don’t despair taxpayers of Middletown, Holmdel, Hazlet, Aberdeen and Red Bank, according to their BPU filing, JCP&L will be making a $9.8 million payment towards the local municipalities through Energy Receipts taxes.

Energy Receipts taxes are the monies paid by electric utility companies for use of easements and equipment in a community to provide their services.  In other words, the utility company pays a fee for you and I having to deal with power lines, sub stations, utility poles, and so on and so forth.   You may be thinking Middletown may lose millions in property values but JCP&L will make up for it so it should all work out in the end.  Not so fast.  Since Governor McGreevy’s actions in 2002, the State of New Jersey has taken this money due to the municipalities and has used it for their own state budget purposes.  Both Democratic and Republican governors alike have continued the state’s skim on suburban taxpayers to the tune of millions of dollars per year.  Fortunately this was challenged in court and the state was told that they could not directly take the money due to municipalities in this fashion. Thus, lawmakers in Trenton will tell you that this is not true and that municipalities do receive their energy receipts tax money.  Instead, all Governors since 2007 have reduced CMTRA (Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief Aid) payments to local towns by the amount that is owed to the towns in Energy Receipts taxes.  If a town receives $2 million in energy receipts taxes, the State of New Jersey reduces the exact amount that is supposed to be used for property tax relief to your town.  Money that belongs to the taxpayers is syphoned away to be spent on wasteful state budget programs on an annual basis instead of reducing our property taxes.

Since 2007, Middletown Township has seen Trenton skim over $40 million dollars that rightfully belongs in Middletown.  In fact, Middletown is owed over $5 million per year in this year’s budget alone.  To put that into perspective, that $5 million would have resulted in a 9% property tax reduction on the 2016 municipal tax bill with a fully funded budget to meet our obligations.  This is not a one year one-time event.  These cuts would be happening EVERY year.  Municipal tax bills in Middletown and neighboring communities would be slashed.

If approved, the Monmouth County Reliability Project will have a negative impact on taxpayers in all of the affected municipalities.  The only entity that will benefit from this project will once again be Trenton.  Middletown Township has done everything we could over the past 5 years to bring this issue to light. As Mayor in 2011 and 2012, I hosted public forums with other Mayors to bring this issue to light.  The Middletown Township Committee has supported countless resolutions sponsored by the League of Municipalities and supported bills that would stop this state shell game and provide the necessary property tax relief we deserve.   If the leadership in Trenton is serious about helping to control the soaring costs of property taxes in New Jersey, it is time that they stop their continued Ponzi scheme financing on the backs of municipal taxpayers.  The list of unfunded state mandates and diversionary programs that are breaking the backs of municipal taxpayers runs deep, and it is time that the taxpayers of New Jersey to demand the restoration of these critical funds back to the people they belong to.  As I struggle to find one positive benefit to the Monmouth County Reliability Project for Middletown and our neighbors, I hope the issue brings to light an issue that would surely help provide immediate property tax relief.  If the state doesn’t stop the way it does business, will the last one left please turn out the lights?




Posted: August 15th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: JCP&L, Middletown, Monmouth County News, Opinion, Tony Fiore | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

4 Comments on “Monmouth County Reliability Project Sheds Light on the State’s Continued Skim on Taxpayers”

  1. Barbara Iannucci said at 10:12 am on August 15th, 2016:

    Definitely an eye-opener on the bait and switch shenanigans practiced by our state government. Agreements are negotiated with no intent to satisfy the terms of monies due. If the terms were honored towns in NJ could use those funds to bury these monstrosities underground in NJ, the most densely populated state in the country. The negative tax impact of loss revenue would be moot, and the power companies (and NJ Ratepayers!) would see huge savings from not needing to repai and maintain failed overhead lines from intense storms and fallen trees.

  2. Chrissy Maiorana said at 10:17 am on August 15th, 2016:

    A fellow RAGER estimated the total loss in property value for all 5 towns involved in the MCRP to be upwards of $83million ( and that was a conservative estimate). This $9.8 million is nothing ( regardless of how it will be used) compared to that loss and the effects these monopoles will have on our health and beautiful homes we’ve all worked so hard for to have, and the aesthetic of our beautiful towns!! This plan affects all of us from ABERDEEN to RED BANK regardless of your proximity to the proposed route!! Please get involved now to prevent JCP&L from ruining our beautiful towns!!! StopJCPL.org

  3. Amy said at 1:19 pm on August 15th, 2016:

    Thank you Anthony Fiore for this info, incredible!
    The Monmouth County Reliability Project-adds so many burdens and insults- we get stuck with this abomination and the state ends up with the payoff? Disgusting.
    Plus JCPL will charge us all a 6% rate increase to help pay for the project. and have these harmful monstrosities forever

  4. Tricia said at 7:21 pm on August 15th, 2016:

    Thank you Tony Fiore for sharing this information with the public in response to the MCRP. In recent years I have seen the township committee and the BOE work together to deliver services to the township while working within the 2% cap. Both groups have been faced with rising healthcare and have managed to implement shared services and other cost saving initiatives. In past years, Middletown has been recognized as Money Magazines top place to live and has recently been recognized for being a safe town. All of the neighboring towns are unique and we are fortunate to live in this great part of Monmouth County. It is important that taxpayers pay attention to the unfunded mandates that continue to cost us more each year in our state. Trenton needs to reform and take control of the financials so taxpayers can finally get a break in NJ. I attended a property tax relief forum at Brookdale a few month ago and many residents in NJ would be surprised at some of the loopholes and policies that cost us money each year. We elect officials to serve us and I applaud the township committees who have been vocal about the energy money and who have worked to gain awareness among the public. Elections are just a few months away and voters should all be aware of where the elected officials in their towns stand on these issues not only in Monmouth
    County but across the state.