Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal said that Essex County’s Government is the model he hopes to impose on Monmouth County should he ever win control of the Board of Freeholders.
Gopal and his freeholder candidates Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo ventured north to Essex this week, hat in hand for money to fund their quest to transform Monmouth into South Essex, according to a report on PolitickerNJ.
“They have done an extraordinary job in Essex County as far as managing a county government, and it’s all Democratic,” Gopal said. “It’s a model for Monmouth to hope to achieve one day.”
Let’s take a look at what that means.
Essex County has a population of 783,969 people, according to the 2010 US Census, living on 126 square miles of land with 3 square miles of water within the county. That’s 6,077 people per square mile.
Monmouth County has a population of 630,380 people living on 469 square miles of land. There are 197 square miles of water; rivers and lakes in Monmouth. The ocean and bay are not measured for density purposes. That’s 946 people per square mile.
Imagine a Monmouth County with a population density 6.42 times the current density.
Government Spending and Taxes
Essex doesn’t disclose its 2014 budget on its county website. In 2013 the Essex County Government spent $772,533,117. That’s $985 per person. That’s $2,723 per household.
Monmouth County is spending $100,000 less in 2014 than they spent in 2013. The 2014 Monmouth budget is $12.5 million less than the 2010 budget. The 2010 budget was written when the Democrats last controlled the Freeholder Board. They increased spending by $5.9 million in the one year they controlled the board out of the last two decades. That is a prelude to what will happen if Gopal ever gets his way for Monmouth County.
Comparing apples to apples, the Monmouth County budget in 2013 was $481,000,000. That’s $763 per person, 23% less than Essex, per person.That’s $2,145 per household, 22% lower per household than Essex.
Essex County is governed by 10 elected officials; a county executive and 9 freeholders. Monmouth County is governed by 5 freeholders.
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr earns a salary of $153,831. He is also collecting a pension of $68,861 per year for that job because of a loophole in the law that allows for elected officials to “retire” for pension purposes but continue to hold office and collect their salaries.
According to The Star Ledger the average compensation for an Essex County freeholder is $79,893. The average compensation for a Monmouth County freeholder is $27,400.
Essex County’s government employed 3,337 people in 2013, according to Data Universe. Monmouth County employed 2,443 people.
When all but federal levels of government are considered, i.e., municipal, county, state, schools and agencies, there are 33,530 people on the government payroll in Essex County. In Monmouth County, 23,314 people work for the government.
Essex County has a AA bond rating. Monmouth County has a AAA bond rating. What difference does that make? Roughly $3,500 per million borrowed per year in interest costs.
So, Vin Gopal’s and his candidates’ vision for Monmouth County is higher density and bigger and more expensive government.
At his Essex fundraiser Gopal said, “Somehow, every time somebody moves from Essex to Monmouth, they change their voter registration to Republican, but they’re already Democrats. We need to remind people where they’re from…”
Monmouth Republican Chairman Shaun Golden agrees and he wants to remind them why they left. In a statement emailed to MMM about Gopal’s vision for Monmouth County, Golden said:
“Monmouth county is recognized as a most desirable place to live, work and
vacation, thanks to years of fiscally responsible Republican government, which
has resulted in 4 straight years of no county property tax increases, spending
reduced to pre-2008 levels, a triple AAA bond rating and the best county
schools and parks in the State. It’s no mystery as to why folks from Essex move
here and change their registration from Democrat to Republican. People come here
to escape the poor policies of Democrats. Vin Gopal and his inexperienced county
candidates want to bring Essex-style taxes, runaway spending and party boss
politics to Monmouth. That is why they need to go to Essex county to raise
money – they have no support for their campaign and can’t raise money here.”
Gopal’s Monmouth Democratic Party has consistently accused Monmouth County Republicans of baseless ethical violations.
Last year, Luttrell, his wife and mother-in-law formed an entity called R.A.G.E (Residents Against Government Exploitation) for the purpose of filing a law suit against Monmouth County to void the Farmland Preservation acquisition of Burke Farm from Andrew Lucas. The raging Luttrells, in an attempt to use the courts for political purposes, claimed in their suit that Burry had a conflict of interest when she voted in favor of preserving the farmland. Judge Lawrence A Lawson dismissed the suit on summary judgement.
This year Gopal’s boys (why can’t Gopal’s Monmouth Dems nominate women? Maybe that will be a future story.) have fabricated an issue regarding Burry’s 2011 campaign treasurer. Bill Bucco earns $50,000 doing two administrative jobs for Monmouth County; Adjuster and Acting Assisting Director of Addiction Services. He is strictly an administrator, but because one of his jobs is in the Addiction Services Division, Gopal, Luttrell and Grillo attempted to confuse the public and the press into thinking his job was either a health care or law enforcement job by claiming his work was being done at the expense of combating the heroin epidemic.
Gopal, Grillo and Luttrell each had wonderful things to say about Essex County when they visited collecting money and resumes this week. They had nothing to say about the genuine cesspool of double and triple dippers working for Essex County like Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver and Senator Nina Gil. They had nothing to say about DiVincenzo taking a pension while still working the same job he “retired” from. They had nothing to say about DiVincenzo using his campaign account for golf games and trips to Puerto Rico. They had nothing to say about Cory Booker’s hand picked administrator of the Newark Water Authority using the authority’s coffers as a personal piggy bank.