Today Sussex County Republican Freeholder candidate Herb Yardley was joined by Warren County Deputy Freeholder Director Ed Smith and Warren County Freeholder Jason Sarnoski on the steps of the old Sussex County Court House in Newton to announce his intention to push for an ordinance similar to one in Warren County that has worked so well there: this ordinance would prevent county government from bonding without voter approval.
“Property taxes are utmost on my mind,” said Yardley. “How do we hold the line on them? How do we reduce spending and debt so that we are in a position to discuss lowering them?
“This ordinance would provide a check on spending,” Yardley stated. “It would slow down the process of acquiring debt and would force it out into the open, to be debated publically and then voted on, up or down.”
Yardley said it would give taxpayers the opportunity to thoroughly pick apart a proposal for new debt. It would give the media greater time to scrutinize a bond proposal.
“Yesterday, the voters right here in Newton had the opportunity to take on $18 million in new debt at a cost to them of an average of $337 per household for the next twenty years,” Yardley said. “They weighed the benefits with the costs and said ‘no.’
“My ordinance would place county government under the same discipline. It is a reform that expands transparency and democracy.”
Senator Steve Oroho, who could not be here today, has proposed legislation to bring all 21 counties into line with this. Yardley’s proposal has received his support.
“I wholeheartedly support Herb’s proposal to have the voters approve borrowing initiated by the county government,” said Senator Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “Senator Mike Doherty and I are the prime sponsors of legislation in the Senate to require this throughout the State (S566). This is not only a good check and balance that we should give taxpayers, but it is also a great tool for elected officials as well. I applaud Warren County for being the first in the State to implement it and I look forward to Sussex County becoming the second.”
Warren County Freeholders Smith and Sarnoski also pledged their support to Yardley’s plan.
“A strong stance on voter-approved bonding is about fiscal responsibility and concern for the taxpayers of the county,” stated Deputy Director Smith, who is the architect of Warren County’s rule to mandate voter approval for county borrowing. “It provides time for a deliberate decision by the voters before huge debts are incurred by future generations.”
“I am glad to see Herb Yardley stand up for the taxpayers of Sussex County by adopting the same controls that Warren County has put in place,” said Freeholder Sarnoski. “This has helped us control taxes and put government back in the hands of the people, and I am sure it will do the same for Sussex County.”