Opinion: Where are our taxpayer dollars going?


There are some financial issues going on involving Lakewood’s Township Committee and Board of Education and I think we, the people of Lakewood, deserve some explanation.

This Tuesday night, the Board of Education adopted their annual budget with a modest 2.9% increase to the tax rate, which amounts to a $121.18 increase for the average townhouse, and a $167.55 increase for a single family house assessed at $557,100.

Even with this increase, the board stated that they are unable to fund much needed after-school programs. They turned to the Township Committee, who in previous years, covered these programs from the regular township budget. This year, however, Mayor Coles told the school district officials that the township’s own budget is very tight and therefore, the committee can’t commit to funding the after-school programs.

Related: Lakewood 2019 tax increase: Avg Single-family to add $268, Townhouse $201, GL debunks previous Township tax claims

Additionally, it was reported in local media that the very same Board of Education just authorized pony therapy for the coming school year.

The Township Committee just adopted their own budget which includes an 8.2% increase to the tax rate – as explained earlier. However, the committee hasn’t given us any explanation as to what they need the extra money for.

So, 1) why is the Board of Ed funding pony therapy before after-school programs, and 2) what is the Township Committee using all their extra money for, and why do they claim their budget is so tight when in fact they are raising our taxes so much this year??

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of GreaterLakewood.

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    • A good point is a good point. GL strongly opposes people who throw the torah away to prove a point though.

    • May make your life simpler, but has made my life much more expensive. Do you pay taxes? Mine have gone up 30% in the last 3 years. All with a decrease in quality of life. When you listen to the same people for almost 2 decades, and the results are a disaster, you tend not to listen anymore

  1. Why don’t you give Ray Coles a call and ask him why there is a tax increase? He will answer your call and tell you why. You don’t have to agree with his reasoning, but to just write “the committee hasn’t given us any explanation as to what they need the extra money for” sounds silly. Did you try to ask?

    I called him, and he told me why. You can too.

    • This was an opinion piece. The person who submitted it, spoke with th township extensively. After those talks he was left with these questions.
      GreaterLakewood requested answers from the Mayor as well as others. We will update the story IF they answer.

      If you asked them, perhaps you can post what they replied 🙂

      • I didn’t post it because I personally don’t agree that these reasons suffice as important enough that they all must be done in one year and cause taxes to go up. If you’re asking though, he said that the increased taxes is because of newly hired police officers, extra hours at the DPW, and higher payments to the pension fund, plus another few added expenses.

        • Why do you need to add 13 police officers when police officers in Lakewood do not patrol, in my over 20 years in Lakewood I have never seen a police officer patrol down the street. Why is the average Lakewood police officer making over $130k a year, $50k higher than the state average.

        • Just going to update you, multiple emails were sent to multiple people. None were answered yet.
          If you are not part of the ‘establishment’ – things are harder.

  2. This is so wrong – WHY DO WE NEED MORE POLICEMEN???? and by extension, more Police cars? Crime is low!!!!

    We need a more efficient sanitation department!

    And oversite of the BOE

    • Lakewood’s only problem is our road accident rate. Even then, I believe strongly that this rate is high because the roads are small, bumpy, and simply not built for a town of 100,000. As you stated, our crime rate is low. We should be spending money on these things and not more policemen.


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