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Connors, Rumpf & Gove

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Connors, Rumpf & Gove Oppose Proposed Bureaucratic Expansion and New Taxing Authority Slated for Ocean County Only

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Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove today announced that they are opposed to and will vote against legislation (S-1815/A-2577) that would allow for the creation of new stormwater utilities in Ocean County that could charge fees for local residents.

“Protecting the Barnegat Bay is a shared responsibility. It is estimated that the Bay produces $3.3 billion in economic activity, meaning that the state as a whole, not just Ocean County, benefits when the Bay is prospering and the integrity of its water is protected. Therefore, Ocean County and its residents cannot be left shouldering the preponderance of the responsibility to protect what is considered to be one of the state’s most precious natural resources.

“It was our Delegation that was the first to call for legislative hearings on the Barnegat Bay. More recently, we are proudly working with the Barnegat Bay Partnership in a grass roots public awareness campaign about best management practices for fertilizing lawns to reduce the amounts of pollutants washing into our local rivers, creeks, wetlands and Barnegat Bay. Additionally, we support legislation to establish reasonable restrictions on the use of fertilizer to limit amounts entering our waterways and to establish standards for the restoration of soil health through erosion and sediment controls in order to reduce water pollution and storm water runoff.

“However, what’s critical for local residents to know is that there is legislation included as part of a bill package to protect the Barnegat Bay which is advancing in the Legislature that would expand government in Ocean County and impose new fees on County ratepayers to pay for it. This measure only applies to Ocean County. No other resident in the state would be faced with paying for the new utility authorities and the fees needed to fund the additional layer of government bureaucracy. The sacrifice in terms of higher utility fees to pay for the utilities and associated costs would be born solely by Ocean County residents.

“In light of the dismal condition of our nation’s economy and the hardships that residents continue to struggle with everyday just to make ends meet coupled with the fact that only Ocean County is being asked to pay higher utility rates for what is a statewide and federal issue, our Delegation is unalterably opposed to this legislation and fully intends to vote NO if and when it is presented on the floors our respective Houses for final consideration.

“Our Delegation’s primary concern here is to protect local ratepayers, especially seniors living on fixed-incomes, from being forced to pay higher utility rates that they simply cannot afford. Residents in Berkeley have already seen their water bills nearly double over the past three years alone.

“In a larger sense, these measures represent a return to the failed policies of the past when Trenton thought taxes and government was the solution to every problem. We’ve seen that policy mindset play out as New Jersey’s high taxes and anti-business posture drove residents out of the state en masse while, at the same time, crippling our state’s finances.

“The real progress the state has made in the face of extremely difficult economic and fiscal challenges to limit government expansion and control spending will be set back if big government, once again, is seen as the answer. Moreover, lost in the deliberation is that Ocean County residents don’t need to pay for another layer of bureaucracy when the County already has effective personnel in place for stormwater management.

“To reiterate, we will not support legislation to impose new fees on residents through their utilities for expansion of government that taxpayers neither want nor can afford, especially not when viable alternatives to protect the Bay exist and are being considered.”

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The 9th District Team

Chris Connors

Senator - District 9

Brian Rumpf

Assemblyman - District 9

DiAnne Gove

Assemblywoman - District 9

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