Vote ‘No” and ‘No’ on referendums

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  To the editor:

Our family has roots in Cape May and West Cape May that date back generations. Four years ago, my wife and I became West Cape May taxpayers ourselves when we purchased our own home.

I am alarmed by the two referendum questions on the ballot Nov. 6 that seek to increase the size of West Cape May's government while decreasing the stipends paid to the commissioners. 

I took the time to research our form of government and learned some interesting things. West Cape May is a borough that uses the Walsh Act form of government. The Walsh Act allows for either a three-member or a five-member borough commission with or without a city administrator. Here is what else I found:

There are 31 communities in New Jersey that utilize this form of government. Of those, 77 percent use a three-member commission and only 22 percent use five members. 

The seven communities that have five commissioners range in population from 12,279 to 66,455 with an average population of 38,141. The 24 communities with three commissioners range in population from five to 14,707, with an average population of 4,063.

West Cape May, with a population of 1,024, falls in the smaller end of the pack, with nine communities having smaller populations and 14 communities having larger populations than West Cape May.

There is clearly no practical reason or precedent to change the size of our borough commission. 

As to the compensation issue proposed, West Cape May just received praise from its auditor for its fiscal management. We are clearly not over-compensating our commissioners. To me, it seems that reducing the existing, modest salaries goes beyond fiscal responsibility and puts us at risk of reducing the pool of people who would be able to serve. We should remember the old adage, "You get what you pay for.”

I encourage West Cape May voters to select “No” and “No” to the two referendum questions which will be on West Cape May's Nov. 6 ballot.

Gary Sorin

West Cape May

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