Schools, Straub – Wednesday’s Roundup

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The Asbury Park Press takes a look at what percentage of your property tax bill goes to schools. In Atlantic County, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that school-less (and close to child-less) Longport has the lowest percent of its property tax bill going to schools. Atlantic County in general is not as bad as you might think. You might be more surprised by Cape May County districts though. Upper Township schools eat up about 75 percent of the municipality’s property tax bill. Read all the details here.

Atlantic City’s favorite red-tape warrior and wannabe casino-license holder Glenn Straub is in legal trouble for not paying $62,641 in fees to the city’s Special Improvement District (SID). The Press of Atlantic City has details. Special Improvement District fees sound like the kind of tithe that would be collected by the overlords of #DOAC’s version of the Hunger Games but in fact they’re the purview of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. Everyone who has the temerity to try and run a business in the Atlantic City Tourism District – that’s everyone from Peanut World to Mel’s Furniture – must pay this money.

Maple Lake in Estell Manor via @marm2kids on Instagram

In return, we’re told, they get the right to call up the SID team (which would be like Public Works if Atlantic City were a normal kind of place) and ask they mow the tumbleweed on their neighboring vacant lot, or remove dead trees. Anyway. Straub didn’t pay in 2015 and while the money is a drop in the bucket of the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Straub lays out every month for his empty casino shell at the end of the boardwalk, for mere mortals like Peanut World and Mel (of Mel’s Furniture), the SID fee is not insignificant. For CRDA, however, the money is not a big deal (SID collected $1.87 million in fees last year). It is less than 2 percent of what CRDA dropped on the Miss America pageant last year, although that $62,641 would pay the salaries of several SID workers (who did not all get raises when a third of the staff did earlier this year). It’s barely worth going to court over. So why are they going to court over it? And why make sure everyone knows about it? Even if it’s not the personal vendetta that Straub no doubt thinks it is, the existence of the SID assessment/tax/fee and then the collecting authority’s willingness to go to court for it just serves as another reason not to do business in Atlantic City. Which would be odd for an Authority that’s charged with economic development, but at this point who’s even kidding themselves that CRDA is here to help small businesses.

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In the rest of the news, there’s a whole lot of coverage of the arrest of Dr James Kauffman, widower of murdered radio host April Kauffman, on weapons charges – read Lynda Cohen at BreakingAC. In other other news, there could be major changes coming to the National Flood Insurance Program later this year, an Egg Harbor Township guy who faked his own death (in Longport) is in jail in Florida, and Delanco’s former Dietz & Watson distribution center is being redeveloped. All that and more below:


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