To the Editor:
I recently resigned my position as West Deptford Republican chairwoman and now write this as just another township resident—a resident who has seen politics from the inside and outside locally and countywide. With that being said, I ask one of my township committee members both Republican and Democrat: PLEASE ratify . Twenty-four years of legal wrangling is enough!
For three decades now, West Deptford Township has spent over $3 million in legal fees over ’s tax appeals. In the course of those decades, property valuations have risen and fallen and done so over again numerous times. Now, our township committee wants to settle this morass and move on for the betterment of our future fiscal well-being and the prospect of economic revitalization and jobs.
I could cast blame against previous administrations and committee members, but that is a petulant game I refuse to play. What has passed is now over with, not only new Republican control of the committee, but with two Democratic committee members who had no part in the previous decision to fight the appeal.
While people like Freeholder Director Damminger, state Senator Sweeney and others tied to the past due to personal politics bemoan the agreed settlement, even West Deptford’s current township administrator Eric Campo (a Democratic appointment) says settling is best for the municipality. Thank you for your professional honesty, sir!
Democratic committee members Szymborski and DiCarlo argue they haven’t had time to look at the particulars of the settlement and the past appeal’s legal maneuvers. I think two decades of time is long enough to make a decision! It’s time to put the blinders and myopia of partisan politics in the rearview mirror.
If this case goes to court West Deptford will lose and face a tax increase of possibly $900 or more for the average homeowner just from this lengthy appeal. But if the settlement made by Mayor Chintall is approved, the tax increase is only $87. Sorry, but that seems like an easy choice.
I’ve seen Sen. Sweeney work with the opposing party numerous times, but feel his antipathy and grandstanding on this issue has become too personal for him to think clearly. His vitriolic rants muddy the water on what should be a township committee matter devoid of Democratic or Republican bickering.
Two “no” votes by Szymborski and DiCarlo will send this appeal to court and cost residents delay in legal fees and tax increases. A vote to approve the settlement on a 5-0 count will send notice that despite our political differences, the township committee is doing the right thing for all residents regardless of affiliation, and acting rationally prudently is paramount.
After all, isn’t this what politics should be about in the first place? I ask the two Democratic committee members Szymborski and DiCarlo, to join Republicans Chintall, Kilpatrick and Cianfarini and approve the settlement currently negotiated. That would be West Deptford pride we can embrace, and an onerous burden lifted from residents’ shoulders permanently!
Priga is the secretary of the Gloucester County Republican Party.