With a 7-0 vote, Mayor Barile and City Council "increased" the City of Morristown property tax rate from $0.98 to $1.05 on first reading yesterday. The second and final reading will take place tomorrow (Thursday, July 8) at a special called meeting at 4:00 at the City Center.
This amended and increased rate comes just a little over two weeks after the property tax rate was first set at $0.98 on June 17 AND a $10/month garbage fee was voted in for residents of Morristown.
The new garbage "fee"--forcing residents to start paying a separate "fee" for garbage pick-up that has previously been a service paid for by taxes--was put in by Mayor Barile and Councilmembers Bob Garrett, Claude Jinks, Kay Senter, and Doc Rooney. Councilmember Frank McGuffin "abstained" on the garbage vote due to a potential conflict of interest in that his family owns a garbage service (Tidi-Waste). Councilmember Gene Brooks voted "no" on the garbage fee.
Why a new garbage "fee"? Mismanagement, waste, illegal money transfers, excessive and unnecessary spending, loads of debt, violations of the City Charter, $100 Million dollar wish lists, and on and on.
Higher property taxes (2007), increased sales taxes (from the 2008 "pick-your-poison" sales tax referendum), red light camera revenues, and illegal money transfers (taking money from the sewer fund and putting it in the general fund to "cover" for financial mismanagement) no longer did the financial trick at the City Center.
Since Mayor Barile, Garrett, Jinks, Rooney, and Senter didn't want to repeat any of the recent previous tax hikes/revenue "enhancements," they came up with a brand new "fee" to take an extra $1 million from the residents of Morristown.
And the $10/month starter rate is just a way for the Mayor and Council to get their foot in the door and get residents used to paying a fee for garbage pick-up even though there has not been any additional charge for garbage pick-up in previous years.
Watch out! In the coming years--- if the Mayor, Council, and City Administrator do what they have said they are going to do (pull all tax money from the sanitation fund so they can spend that tax money elsewhere and collect a garbage "fee")-- then the garbage "fee" of $10/month will end up being $17 or $18 per month or more.