Budget Resolution submitted to exempt EHT from unwarranted EDA Assessment
(Egg Harbor Township, NJ) — Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) on Wednesday said he has submitted a measure to exempt the Egg Harbor Township School District from an unwarranted $543,000 state assessment that would take away money from classrooms.
Mazzeo’s state budget resolution for next fiscal year comes after a recent meeting with state Education Commissioner David Hespe and Department of Education staff. Mazzeo was joined at the meeting by Egg Harbor Township School Board Member Pete Castellano and Superintendent Scott McCartney.
“We viewed Monday’s meeting with Commissioner Hespe as a great success,” Mazzeo said. “It was great to see the commissioner and department recognize the struggle and tax burden of Egg Harbor Township families, but now we have to turn this meeting into results. This assessment is unfair and takes away money that would otherwise go into the classrooms to benefit children.”
If included in the state budget and signed by the governor, Mazzeo’s resolution would exempt Egg Harbor Township from paying the $543,000 assessment. Since 2010, township taxpayers have paid more than $2.2 million in Economic Development Authority assessments that stem from School Construction Corporation bonds used to build new schools in the previous decade.
Never in the referendum question did township taxpayers agree to pay these annual assessments, but after being included in the state budget, districts such as Egg Harbor Township have no recourse but to pay the assessment. Next fiscal year’s assessment for Egg Harbor Township would rank third highest in the state.
Exempting Egg Harbor Township from paying this year means that the district could, for instance, purchase new math textbooks in the elementary and middle schools — a cut made to this year’s budget due to budget constraints.
“While just a small fraction of their school budget, getting this money back on behalf of Egg Harbor Township taxpayers can mean new text books for children and hopefully avoid privatization of vital educational services,” Mazzeo said. “We must aid Egg Harbor Township residents who are already overburdened. This exemption is the right thing to do.”
Mazzeo praised the Egg Harbor Township School Board and superintendent for their navigation through these difficult choices at a time of financial hardship. Mazzeo also praised Egg Harbor Township residents for keeping him updated throughout the last year about the budget situation and their passion for improving their schools.