More data needed on proposed development

Manalapan Mayor Jack McNaboe and Township Committee members Jordan Maskowitz, Susan Cohen and Mary Ann Musich voted “yes” to introduce an ordinance to change the current zoning for the old Probasco Farm at Route 33 and Millhurst Road to ensure that the development of Manalapan Crossing proceeds to the Manalapan Planning Board for further enactment.

Only one member of the governing body, Committeeman Ryan Green, voted “no” to this proposal; up to 720 apartments, an entertainment center, commuter parking, and 500,000 square feet of commercial space will add to municipal services costs and most likely exceed or blunt out any gains in tax revenues from the development that these four committee members maintain will lower our municipal taxes.

There will be additional burdens on police and public safety, fire services, and school/education services; new, additional costs will be incurred.

The only way to bring down property taxes is to return to the traditional “caretaker” role of local government, not to expand its role in areas local government does not belong.

Despite the dog and pony shows of meetings (sponsored by the governing body members) held for citizens at a variety of venues, our citizenry still does not have hard figures or statistics from this governing body concerning estimated tax revenues, projected municipal service costs and net return to the town and how that will reduce our property taxes.

Prior to the passage of this ordinance set for Nov. 10, the residents of Manalapan deserve to have full transparency of information from the municipal governing body’s so-called studies.

An array of “cost of community services” studies nationwide document: A) “…that residential development costs a municipality more in maintenance costs than farmland and open space;” B) “…delivering services to residential almost always costs more than the community can expect to realize in taxes and other benefits;” and C) “On average, tax rates were lower in the groups with less business property, and higher in the groups with more business property” indicating “that tax rates tend to be higher — rather than lower — in towns that have the most commercial activity.”

The Township Committee, which has bent over backward for the developer of this property, should reap the results of their misguided decision-making. The ballot box in the Nov. 3 local election should be used accordingly.

Deborah K. Smarth