To the Editor:
I was aghast at how a letter writer was treated by underpaying her property taxes by $2, forced to pay a late fee of $42.01. To add insult to injury, and much embarrassment, her property was advertised in local papers as a “tax sale.”
I am perplexed by a township that would treat its citizens in such a manner. Is it intentionally trying to antagonize its citizens? I pray and hope civil unrest never comes to Cape May County.
The decisions of leaders will define the actions of its citizens. It's not like we never had a revolution or civil war before.
Our township council, mayor, and administrator can do better. I propose a 10-day grace period, without incurring late fees, interest, and penalties, after our tax office advises our citizen by mail, phone, or other electronic means.
I have had my problems with Middle Township, forced to pay property taxes on a rental house under construction with no occupancy code for several years, paying thousands in legal fees, zoning hearings, engineering surveys, permits, and other arcane rules and regulations of the state and township.
It is impossible to offer affordable housing with the above scenario. With the coming of Covid and unconstitutional executive orders 106 and 128, landlords cannot collect rent. Rental housing is now off the market and sitting vacant.
I applied for an electrical permit. After being told wrong information by Middle Township's electrical inspector, a $3,000 estimate ballooned into $12,000 plus to connect power to a pole barn to run a few light bulbs. All because I could not have an electrical meter attached to the barn.
Yet, my neighbor has a meter on his garage, and the mobile home park next door has separate meters. What gives?
I asked for a refund. I was bluntly told by the administrator, “We don't do refunds.”
Mayor Tim Donohue has refused to discuss this matter. He has not returned my phone calls, even at the request of Congressman Jeff Van Drew's office.
Our problem lies with an administrator that is unyielding and serves our township in what seems to be a bureaucratic, uncaring manner. Unelected by the populace, when the road gets difficult, many move on at the next opportunity.
With the upward creep of taxes, I am convinced taxes can be reduced through consolidation and elimination of township functions. I have asked simple questions and received six different answers. I throw a dart at one answer, hoping to hit a bullseye.
The vast majority of township employees are conscientious and hard workers, assisting taxpayers in any way possible.
I can only thank the letter writer for their letter and speaking out. Many others have faced the same situations, and hopefully, our mayor and council will correct these injustices.
It is time to remind our elected officials, “You work for us. We do not work for you.” Maybe after Covid, citizens should attend a council meeting to air grievances.
After observing Middle Township's treatment of its citizens, and the seeming lack of professional ethics and professionalism, our forefathers realized a day in the “stocks” were a great incentive for an attitude adjustment. It is time to start public shaming.
I will erect a big sign on my lawn, facing Route 9. On this sign, a fancy scroll will announce our township's new motto: “Welcome to Middle Township. Home of the bite."