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Letter to the Editor: Settle with Sunoco Now

It's time to end 24 years of tax appeals over the Eagle Point refinery.

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!

Joann Priga

West Deptford

Priga is the secretary of the Gloucester County Republican Party.

Richard Denick June 01, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Please vote to settle this now, enough is enough.
canodit June 01, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Do you realize that this isn't a single appeal that has been dragged out but rather that the oil companies file an appeal EVERY YEAR? Settling doesn't end this, it just gives the oil companies what they want, cash now, and a low assessment precedent with nothing but an unwritten and unstipulated promise not to appeal for at least two years, meaning that even if the oil companies can be taken at their word, we will be back into a tax appeal fight in just two years, and instead of arguing the difference between 153mil and 100mil, we will be arguing between 100mil and something much less because the mayor will have already signalled that he doesn't think the refinery is worth more than 100 million. The Mayor seems to think he only has to run this town for one year, and not worry about this town's future beyond the scope of this year.
canodit June 01, 2012 at 03:19 PM
And you know, a lot of people are having hard times, but we can't go to the mayor and say, "sorry mayor, I only have X amount of dollars for property taxes, can you give me a preferential reassessment of my house based on what I want to pay, rather than by an honest assessment and appraisal process that is fair to other tax payers?" We don't get that option, but in Chintall's WD, oil companies do get that option. Chintall's defense?: "The refinery sold for less than it was appraised for." I am going to blow Chintall's mind then. Oil companies make simultaneous sales of both property and product. They sell the product at 4x market value so they can sell the refinery at a significant undervalue. Decent leadership rather than a rookie mayor and his freshman litigator who just passed the bar a few years ago would be confident in arguing that point to make sure that a crooked sale tactic isn't used to devalue our refinery today. Chintall and Cianfarini: GET BACK TO THE TABLE AND GET US A BETTER DEAL BEFORE YOUR DAMAGE IS PERMANENT.
john w p June 01, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I assume you don't recall the Citgo and Coastal tax appeal in which the township lost and our taxes skyrocketed because of that.Why have this linger on and on. I have a business in this town and I come in contact with a lot of residents of this commuinity and republicans and democrats alike what this matter over with once and for all. If the two democratic individuals that are on the committee vote no,Denise will definetly joepardize her political career. there is only a handful of people that read the patch compared to 6000 + property tax payers in this township.So for every one that is against the settlement you have 10 that are for.GET IT OVER AND MOVE ON.
canodit June 01, 2012 at 04:10 PM
It will never be settled "once and for all" because the oil companies will continue to appeal their assessment every year until the refinery is broken down and no longer a taxable entity. They have appealed every year since the beginning. If we had settled the first year then we would be talking about a 23 year problem. If we had settled the first two years then we would be talking about a 22 year problem. Every time we settled we are just resetting the clock but with the town being handed a weaker negotiating position for the next round. To give them everything they want now just hurts our position for the future, and with only two years of assessment "guaranteed" and at such a low value, we are setting ourselves up for a new appeal from a weaker negotiating position in 2014. The idea that we are somehow settling for good is a fallacy.
WDNeedsHelp June 01, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Your facts, as usual, are undocumented and, as usual, incorrect. Your expectations are again, as usual, not reasonable given all the facts of the settlement. The settlement proposed by Committeeman Cianfarini clearly addressed all of your "made up" concerns. Please stop posting political garbage for the Democratic Party Bosses and only post fully documented and accurate facts.
WDNeedsHelp June 01, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Your facts, as usual, are undocumented and, as usual, incorrect. Your expectations are again, as usual, not reasonable given all the facts of the settlement. The settlement proposed by Committeeman Cianfarini clearly addressed all of your "made up" concerns. Please stop posting political garbage for the Democratic Party Bosses and only post fully documented and accurate facts.
WDNeedsHelp June 01, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Your facts, as usual, are undocumented and, as usual, incorrect. Your expectations are again, as usual, not reasonable given all the facts of the settlement. The settlement proposed by Committeeman Cianfarini clearly addressed all of your "made up" concerns. Please stop posting political garbage for the Democratic Party Bosses and only post fully documented and accurate facts.
Ernest Kraus June 01, 2012 at 06:12 PM
A selling price is negotiated between a buyer and a seller. If it sold for less then appraised value, then that is what a knowledgeable buyer was willing to pay. The seller obviously wanted out. Talk to oil people on how they valeu a refinery; not an appraisor that appraises everything. There is enough presedence locally to add fact to that issue. The time to settle is now and stop listening to the county Democrat bosses that had nothing to say regarding the issue over the past twenty years. On one other note "candoit;" why not have the integrity to put your name on what you write.
canodit June 01, 2012 at 09:30 PM
If I sell my car for 1$ and sell each gallon of gasoline in my car at the time of the sale for 1000$/gallon to the same person at the same time, is my car worth 1$ or $13,001? By your logic, my car is only worth 1$ and gas is worth 1000$ per gallon just because that's the crooked deal I managed to pull off, and fair market value has nothing to do with it.
JEANNE NAPOLI June 01, 2012 at 11:19 PM
your analogy is like a fly on a turd. why is it your the only one on here cranking out this is not a good deal. enlighten me and the other 19,998 residents in this community to why this is not a good deal.You be the acting attorney for west deptford and lay it on the table Just as I thought nothing but gibberish and political hate towards anything that is good.Must have had a bad childhood Got beat up a lot huh!

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