At last evening’s Millville City Commission meeting, Bob Tesoroni questioned the Commission regarding economic development. Until this year, Millville employed Don Ayres as the economic development officer. This man was paid approximately $110,000 annually. With his benefits, it was estimated Mr. Ayres earned about $150,000.
In what was touted as a money-saving move, Mr. Ayres retired from the city. The city did not fill the position. Instead, Mr. Ayres went to work in the private sector. Millville hired his firm to do the same job he had been doing.
In a cost savings move, the city sourced out economic development to a newly formed nonprofit entity with a board of directors, which includes long-time civic leaders to the Millville Urban Redevelopment Corporation. This action will initially save the city $100,000 a year. And it is hope and expected that corporation will become self-sustaining within two years.
No longer is the $150,000 coming from the general fund to pay Mr. Ayres and his benefits. Rather, Millville is paying this private firm more than $225,000 annually.
This may seem like typical politics.
Not according to Commissioner Derella. The money-man of the Commission (and soon to be a Cumberland County freeholder), Derella defends with a straight face that this is indeed a cost savings for Millville.
Follow this logic . . .
When Mr. Ayres was an employee drawing $150,000, some (but not all) of his salary and benefits were paid by Millville city property owners. The balance of the compensation was funded by UEZ funds.
When Ayres retired, property taxes were saved.
Now, the $225,000+ Ayres’ firm makes from Millville is 100% UEZ funds; no property tax dollars are spent for economic development.
In Mr. Derella’s eyes, this is a cost savings.
Yes, I am scratching my head too.
This issue clearly highlights the misunderstanding Derella and other politicians have regarding public money. UEZ money to these folks is considered free money. It is not property or income taxes so they feel it can be used without concern. Need to toss political favors to folks? There’s UEZ. A little short in general funds? There’s UEZ. Want to build a theatre? There’s UEZ. Theatre wants more? There’s UEZ. Bank pulls out of theatre project? UEZ to the rescue.
UEZ money is magic! 🙂 It does anything the politicians want.
Want to claim repeatedly that you cut costs? Shell out $250,000 more of tax dollars for the same work and say you’re saving money. It only makes sense if you use political speak.
For the rest of us, UEZ dollars are tax dollars.