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Monday, May 21, 2012

2012 Sewer User Fee....Any Way You Flush It, It Reeks of a Tax

The following definitions were obtained from

user's fee   
1.  a fee charged for the use of something, as one charged by a city government for the use of one of its services, as garbage collection or fire protection.
1.  a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.
2.  a burdensome charge, obligation, duty, or demand.
1.  a statement of money owed for goods or services supplied.
     By now most, if not all, Westfield property owners have received a "SEWER BILL" from the the Town of Westfield.  Accompanied with the "bill" was a letter that purports to answer "Frequently Asked Questions."  Does it answer all the questions or does it make excuses for a "bill" that can easily be construed as a "tax" as much as a "user fee," as the letter suggests this new fee to be. 
     "Tax" is a nasty word within political circles.  Perhaps if our town's council was heavily weighted to the Democrat side of the political aisle, Republicans would be calling this levy on property owners a "tax" and not a "user fee."
      While the letter answers some of the questions, it stops short of reality, which is the new sewer bill a.k.a. "user fee" is a tax just as much as it is a fee for using the sewer system. has defined "tax" to be: a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.
     Once again, town government uses fear mongering in their letter to property owners, when explaining the impact of not charging a "sewer user fee" citing public safety as an example of what essential services would need to be cut if a "sewer user fee"....a "tax" were not levied on property owners.  Town officials warn that municipal services such as school crossing guards, leaf collection, and curbside recycling pickup would be significantly curtailed or quite possibly eliminated if not for a "user fee"....a "tax" on sewer usage. 
     True to form, town officials tug at the heart strings of the taxpayer by mentioning the possibility of reducing crossing guard staffing levels; fear mongering? 
     If light controlled crossings, such as the "HAWK" crossing on Central Ave., are so safe as Mayor Skibitsky has stated, why the need for duplicative services by stationing a crossing guard at the location when our town officials must balance the budget.  Oops...went off on a tangent. 
     Have town officials stopped short in cutting expenditures in other areas of the budget process in the wake of reduced revenue?  The wasteful spending and mismanagement of the town's resources will continue to reduce available funds for our town government to access while reduced revenue will cause more "user fees" to materialize in the wake of New Jersey's 2% property tax levy. 
     Mayor Skibitsky is living up to his claim that Town government is doing "More with less."  More user fees/taxes are on the horizon with less revenue flowing into Town coffers.      

Duck test
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A duck
The duck test is a humorous term for a form of inductive reasoning. This is its usual expression:
"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck."
The test implies that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing that subject's habitual characteristics. It is sometimes used to counter abstruse arguments that something is not what it appears to be.

Inductive reasoning leads one to believe, plain and simple.......Westfield's new 2012 Sewer User Fee is a TAX. 

Coming to a municipality near you in the absence of more traditional revenue raising efforts by town government: 
Sidewalk User Fee
To be imposed on all those that traverse a municipal owned sidewalk
Roadway User Fee
To be imposed on all those utilizing a public roadway to avoid traversing a municipal owned sidewalk.
Meter Feed Access User Fee
To be imposed on anyone standing on a public sidewalk, parking lot, or roadway while paying for the use of public parking on a right of way.

............and the list goes on and on.

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