I read a recent article that warned that Mayor Joseph Scarpelli and Township Council members are planning on calling up residents who are delinquent in tax payments and asking them to meet their obligations.
The tax collection rate in Brick has fallen from 98.06 percent to 96.6 percent. Township officials report that the reduction is worth between $2 million and $3 million.
They surmise that the reason for the lower collection rate is that many taxpayers have paid off their mortgages and have just forgotten to make their quarterly tax payments.
I have another and, in my view, a much more likely theory about the cause of the rising delinquencies.
The tax burden continues to grow yearly and is becoming too much for some residents, particularly new families with young children and senior citizens living on fixed incomes.
With the faltering economy, unemployment increasing and the stock market in the tank, it becomes harder and harder to afford dramatic tax increases year after year.
The tax rate in Brick has risen 38 percent since 1997. It was 51.5 cents and is now 71.1 cents. In 2002 alone, the tax rate increased 10 percent, over one-third more than the statewide average.
Things could have been different. The mayor and council were presented with a way to reduce the 2002 tax levy by over $800,000 and chose to ignore the credible tax reduction plan.
Mayor Scarpelli has taken on many roles during his term, such as SummerFest emcee and wizard at HalloweenFest, but he and the council taking on the role of Christmas Scrooge is not his or their best choice.
I suggest they spend more time on finding ways to avoid another tax increase rather than dunning taxpayers to collect the tax they force upon them.