AOC Reference Pops up in Morris Freeholders’ Debate

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MONTVILLE – Freeholder Doug Cabana was clear and concise Monday night when he addressed a room full of loyal Republicans in this Morris County town. “We continue to deliver quality budgets,” Cabana said, boasting about years of no tax increases to speak of. A few days earlier. the trio challenging Cabana and his runningmates in the June 4 Republican primary claimed that Cabana and friends were distracting voters with misleading statements,. The challengers – Donald Dinsmore, William Felegi and Cathy Winterfield – ridiculed the incumbents’ claim of budget discipline, claiming they actually have raised taxes by $26 million over the last four years. Who’s right? In a way, both sides are right – at least technically. But we must go a bit deeper. It is true that when you look at recent Morris County budgets, you see that the overall tax levy, which was $217 million in 2015, is now $243 million. So, there’s your $26 million increase. Unless you are a professional athlete, $26 million is a lot of money. But there is another side here. The increase in the tax levy breaks down to an average yearly increase of a little more than $6 million, which comes out to less than 2 percent of the county’s overall budget. Of more relevance is what people actually pay. Because rising ratables increase the tax base, the county’s tax rate has changed little in recent years. This year, it’s about 25.5 cents per $100