The adherents of the Berkeley Heights community center have been putting on an all-court press to pass the referendum. Mayor Cohen crossed an ethical boundary by using taxpayers' money to propagandize for passage. But how will it affect your taxes?
If the center is built, the annual carrying costs for owning and operating the structure will include approximately $240,000 for heating and cooling. This number is based on costs for other comparable structures. Insurance, electrical service (lighting, etc.), cleaning, maintenance and repairs will probably bring the total cost to a minimum of at least $400,000. This does not include the loaded salaries of additional recreation staff and a police officer.
Mayor Cohen received a waiver on the down payment of the proposed bond, which means that the Township will have to bond the full $10,000,000 in the referendum. The debt service for this bond will be about $800,000 annually.
Added together, the debt service and the operating costs will result in an increase in municipal taxes of 12% or more. On an average home (assessed valuation of $300,000) the tax increase will amount to over $500 annually for the life of the bond.
Mr. Bruno said the center is necessary because the Senior Club is oversubscribed and needs more room. Quite simply, this is a lie. The truth is that the Senior Club is relaxing its age limit (from 65 to 60) in order to attract more members. The Seniors have had plenty of space for years.
P. T. Barnum was once quoted as saying "There is a sucker born every minute." To vote without the facts and without the truth makes one a sucker. Vote how you wish, but please be informed.
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