Senator Sweeney continues to hide behind closed doors and use the Gloucester County Times as his vehicle to deliver baseless claims and disinformation.
Senator Sweeney and his party created this mess in the first place, delaying the inevitable for 24 years while spending millions of West Deptford taxpayers’ dollars in legal and expert fees with no results. Now the Republican majority is acting to clean up the tax appeals mess.
Senator Sweeney does not have the courage, solutions or answers to face the residents in person, as we requested in our letter to the editor on April 26, 2012, in the Times.
Judge Small, the presiding judge of the tax court, in his decision dealing with the on Dec. 4, 2009, stated, "There is no question that the proof of value of a refinery, absent a sale, is an almost impossible task," which means that the tax court would very likely conclude prior sales figures would be the only clear way to determine the actual assessed value of a refinery.
Looking back to the last time the Eagle Point Refinery was bought, we find our answer in a Jan. 19, 2004, article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, wherein it is reported that Sunoco bought Eagle Point refinery for $111 million.
In his letter to the editor on May 11, 2012, Senator Sweeney conveniently selected numbers that are impossible to understand when taken out of context to the entire settlement.
The senator claims we should have appraised Eagle Point at $225 million, but those numbers are not supported by the reality of the situation.
The Republican majority has worked out a settlement at an appraised value of $167 million (the $134 million settlement assessment at the town's 80% ratio for 2004), which is $56 million above the 2004 sale price. Remember, this was before operations were shut down.
When the Senate President inappropriately released this sensitive information, he compromises the case should it go to trial. This is not in the best interest of the people of West Deptford.
Perhaps Senator Sweeney and the former Democratic administration’s refusal to deal with this decades-old litigation and resolve this tax dispute is what forced Sunoco to close down its operations in West Deptford, resulting in over 400 people losing their jobs. The plant closing in turn has negatively impacted our local economy.
It is time all of us to pull together for the greater good of our fine community. If they have a better deal to resolve this long standing tax appeals issue, we challenge them to produce it.
The new Republican majority is moving West Deptford forward so that we can start to rebuild our once-thriving corporate base in this township; a move that will lead to more jobs for our residents and more ratables to reduce our residents’ tax burden.
Senator Sweeney—West Deptford taxpayers need closure on this 24-year-long ordeal. New Jersey and West Deptford cannot afford to continue taxing businesses right out of the state. This tax appeals case is one of the most critical issues impacting home values, taxes and our way of life in West Deptford.
Ray Chintall, mayor
Sean Kilpatrick, deputy mayor
Sam Cianfarini, committeeman