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Two Stories About Me In Yesterday’s Star *

For those of you who don’t read The Coast Star:

Council passes Schneck’s funding

resolution with unanimous vote

 By Molly Mulshine

After more than one month of trying, David Schneck saw Belmar’s mayor and council pass an educational funding resolution which he first suggested on June 1.

The governing body unanimously approved the resolution at the July 20 council meeting.

“This just shows you how important it is to be consistent,” Mayor Matt Doherty said before the vote.

Council President Claire Deicke “vetted [the resolution] through the Belmar Board of Education [BOE] and they gave it their approval,” Mayor Doherty said.

The resolution, which Mr. Schneck obtained from Sen. Mike Doherty’s [R-23] website,, calls upon the state legislature to “fulfill its constitutionally assigned duty to distribute the state aid for education to the school districts in this state in a fair manner that is for the equal benefit of all the people of the state and not by means that are prejudiced by the actions of special interests.”

“Our state income tax is supposed to be for property tax relief,” Mr. Schneck said at a prior meeting, on July 6. “The residents of Belmar pay over $4.5 million a year in state income tax and we get back about half a million dollars out of that in property tax relief.”

 The rest of this money is given to urban municipalities, Mr. Schneck said.

“Basically, the suburban towns are being used to subsidize the political machines of the urban towns,” he said.

Mr. Schneck ran for Belmar council as an Independent last year and is currently the Libertarian candidate for the state Assembly, 30th district.

He brought the resolution to the council three times before the governing body approved it.


And in the Spring Lake Heights pages:


Fair-funding advocate lobbies Spring Lake

Heights Council 

 By Katie Lobosco

A state senator is proposing legislation which aims to provide an equal amount of school aid for every student in New Jersey, regardless of where the student resides — and a local candidate is seeking the Spring Lake Heights Council’s support for the legislation.

Sen. Mike Doherty’s [R-23] Fair School Funding bill would establish a new formula for the allocation of state aid to school districts, and has garnered some support from the southern Monmouth County area.

Belmar resident and State Assembly hopeful David Schneck, a Libertarian, approached the Spring Lake Heights Council at its meeting last week, urging the members of the governing body to adopt a resolution in support of the proposed state legislation.

It is time to stop the state from “abusing” its taxing power, said Mr. Schneck.

“Spring Lake Heights is paying a lot in New Jersey taxes and getting nothing back,” he said, arguing that urban and Abbott districts currently receive more than their fair share of state aid.

The Abbott district designation was created in 1985 as the result of a series of New Jersey Supreme Court rulings related to the case Abbott v. Burke.

 The rulings gave the New Jersey Legislature and, or Commissioner of Education the authority to designate as Abbott districts the state’s lowest-performing and most socioeconomically underprivileged school districts.

The Abbott designation means additional state aid for the designated district.

According to Mr. Schneck, seven towns have passed a resolution in support of the Fair School Funding bill — Belmar’s council adopted such a resolution in July.

Members of the Spring Lake Heights governing body were skeptical of the resolution, yet Mayor H. Frances Enright said they would take a look at the document.

She asked Mr. Schneck if he had given a copy of the proposed resolution to the local school board.

Mr. Schneck said he has not yet approached the Spring Lake Heights Board of Education.

Councilman John Brennan asked Mr. Schneck if he knew how many cents per income tax dollar collected by the state is allocated for education.

Mr. Schneck said he did not know, but argued that Abbott districts are “flooded with cash” when state aid is awarded to schools each year.

Although the borough’s tax office is responsible for collecting residents’ school taxes — as well as county and fire district taxes — school and municipal budgets are separate in all New Jersey towns, with school budgets drawn up by the members of the board of education and school administration, and subject to a public vote in April.

A resident makes one property tax payment per quarter or per year to the municipality. However, only a portion of each payment stays with the municipality. The town is responsible for forwarding the portions of residents’ tax payments that belong to the local school district, county government and, if applicable, fire district, to those entities.

Councilwoman Patricia Cindea said “what’s really unfair for municipal governments” is how hard the town gets hit after there is a successful tax appeal in the borough.

The decreases in property taxes — not income taxes, which go to the state and federal government — that result from tax appeals are not spread evenly among the entities the municipality collects property taxes for.

When a property owner files a successful tax appeal, the property is revalued at a lower total value than before the appeal. Thus, the owner owes less in property taxes.

The cut in collected tax revenue only affects the municipality, and not school or county, said Councilwoman Cindea.

By law, school districts, county governments and fire districts must receive the taxes anticipated, regardless of whether or not successful tax appeals have been filed.

The municipality is stuck making up the difference, the councilwoman said.

“We have the smaller portion of the tax bill, and we’re the only one that gets hurt,” said the councilwoman.

For instance, the Spring Lake Heights School District will raise $6,908,282 through local property taxes this year, while the borough will raise $3,737,718 to fund its 2011 municipal budget.

Regardless, Mr. Schneck said he “respectfully suggested” the Spring Lake Heights Council consider passing the resolution in support of the Fair School Funding legislation — which would address the allocation of state income taxes.

“We’ll take a look at it,” said Mayor Enright.


* Reprinted with the permission of The Coast Star

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