“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
December 14, 2018
As the new President of Fairness in Taxes, I am very proud to lead a dedicated group of board members committed to challenging the government on the misuse of our precious tax dollars. We are actively advocating for taxpayers in the areas of capital expenditures, educational spending, the environment, and flood remediation. Our activism drove us to successfully oppose the city’s plan to purchase a tract of land at taxpayers’ expense for the inflated price of 9 million dollars. We plan to continue to actively advocate for taxpayers, and to do that, we need your financial help!
On September 13, City Council voted unanimously to purchase a 1.89 acre tract of land on the 1600 block of Haven Avenue for 9 million dollars. The property, owned by the Klause family, is the site of the former Perry-Eagin Chevrolet dealership. Two weeks before, many members of FIT had spoken out against the purchase, stating that the appraisals were flawed and that the property was only worth 6 million dollars. FIT urged Council to slow the process and give the public a change to weigh in, but City Council ignored FIT’s recommendations and rammed the sale through.
Through documents received by public records requests, FIT determined that the City had agreed to purchase the Klause property in December of 2017, but had kept the matter secret from the public for 9 months. FIT discovered documents that proved many of the City’s claims were false and misleading. We also found that the City Solicitor had been illegally conducting city business on her private email server that could be shielded from open records requests by the public.
FIT quickly mobilized and made the decision to petition for a referendum on September 20th, targeting 10% of the total voters in the most recent municipal election. Over the next several days FIT petitioners canvassed the city, talking to hundreds Ocean City taxpayers and on October 9, delivered notarized petitions with 467 signatures (10% of the registered voters from the last municipal election) to the City Clerk.
After reviewing the petitions, the City Clerk and the Solicitor stated that the threshold for triggering a referendum was actually 15%, not 10%, and wrongly refused additional time for FIT to produce the needed signatures. FIT was then forced to secure the services of an attorney, who successfully argued that our legal rights under NJ State Law were being denied. The City subsequently allowed FIT ten more days to get 200 additional signatures.
On October 22, with support for FIT’s petition drive growing rapidly, we delivered 287 additional signatures to the City Clerk and they were certified the next day as sufficient to trigger a referendum. That stopped the purchase of the Klause property in its tracks.
Fresh off our success, we were called in by the City to discuss their plans to spend 15-20 million dollars of taxpayer revenues to build public housing for the Ocean City Housing Authority, which was mismanaged for many years. FIT strongly asserts that taxpayer funds should not be used to fund the Housing Authority because it is a totally separate legal entity located on land that is not owned by Ocean City. Out of 200 New Jersey communities who reached settlements with the non-profit NJ Fair Housing, not one has made taxpayers pay for the construction of public housing.
Fairness in Taxes has expended over 6 thousand dollars fighting for Ocean City taxpayers and we expect that there will be continued legal expenses as we move forward. We created a special legal action fund to pay for those unexpected legal costs.
Please help us by making a contribution to “FIT Legal Defense fund” and mail your check to: Fairness In Taxes, P.O. Box 565, Ocean City, NJ 08226.
Or pay online by going to our new website at www.fairnessintaxes.com and selecting “FIT Legal Defense Fund”.
President, Fairness in Taxes