In response to Councilman Steve Rovell’s outrageously deceptive and hypocritical letter to the Belleville Times last week, consummate community advocate and masterful public debater Vincent Frantantoni submitted his own letter to the Watch. His letter should also be appearing in this week’s edition of the Times.
If councilmembers want to engage in unprovoked political swordfighting and posturing in the local papers rather than actually addressing the very serious issues at hand, community advocates are more than happy to take them to task for their words.
Verifiable facts don’t lie.
Here is Mr. Frantantoni’s letter:
To the editor,
Once again, Councilman Steve Rovell has penned a letter insulting the intelligence of Belleville taxpayers. Rovell states that Belleville has “the fifth lowest average tax bill in Essex County.” What Rovell failed to tell you is Belleville is the fifth most distressed town in Essex County, right behind Irvington, Orange, East Orange, and Newark. If you look at your tax bill, you will note that Rovell and his Council members are spending much more than the dollars taken from Belleville taxpayers.
Halfway down your tax bill you will notice a box labeled “State Aid Used to Offset Local Property Taxes”. My personal tax bill for 2015 is $8548.83. The State Aid on my property is $3448.15. When added together, Rovell and his crew are SPENDING $11996.98 just from my 37′ x 102′ property.
Rovell claims the Council approved moderate income housing for seniors. Again false. The Municipal Land Use Act defines seniors as persons age 62 and older. The age 55 housing Rovell refers to is being built on Township property that was donated to Belleville by the Jergens Corporation and has a deed restriction that the property could only be used for recreation or Municipal purposes such as police or administrative offices. Rovell gave this land to a private developer who is destroying the quality of recreation that Belleville Seniors have enjoyed at that site for decades. IT IS NOT SENIOR HOUSING!
Rovell also states the “Council has not approved or proposed a 2000 unit housing project as suggested by our State monitor and others.” The report received from the Council’s consultant states a projected 2493 additional housing units in the next five years.
Does Rovell even read his own consultant’s reports?
Rovell also attacks our school system leaders, writing, “Mr. Egan and Superintendent Tomko should focus on the school district’s problems.” Well, Steve, if you allow 2500 new residential units to be built, it will certainly generate a number of children which will definitely be a “school district problem”. Egan and Tomko were acting responsibly when they attended your phony 4:30 pm meeting to find out what they had to deal with in regards to future increases in school enrollment.
Councilman Rovell ends his letter stating, “We as Belleville taxpayers have a right to know where our money is being spent.” Right, Steve. Then why have you not submitted a proposed municipal budget to the taxpayers that was required to be submitted by March 18, as per state law. We do have a right to know where you are spending our money.
It has been said, politicians and diapers should be changed often, for the same reason. Rovell has been keeping a Council seat warm for twelve years. Our Municipal taxes have increased 100% in those twelve years.
Vincent J. Frantantoni
129 Mt. Prospect Ave.
Belleville, NJ 07109