It is what it is, Toms River Council President says after seniors hit with 40% tax hike

Front view of worried senior Caucasian couple discussing over medical bill while sitting on sofa at retirement home. Senior male has hand on his head.

TOMS RIVER, NJ – Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill set the stage to raise salaries for employees in his inner circle and confidential appointments. At Monday’s meeting, Council President Kevin Geoghegan presented, at the request of Mayor Hill a new salary scheduled declaring minimum and maximum limits for employees in town hall.

While actual raises for 2022 averaged 2% for employees, some, including those close to Hill have had their potential salary limits lifted by as much as 34%.

Councilman Dan Rodrick called the increases “outrageous”, referencing a recent tax reassessment that saw some senior citizens in Holiday City see their property tax bill rise nearly 40%.

For the senior citizens hit with 40% increases, Geoghegan said, “Unfortunately we have to do two things in life…pay taxes and die. None of us like paying taxes. I get it. Obviously, we only hear from people whose taxes go up…it is what is.”

Rodrick noted that the maximum salary limit for the administrative engineer was raised 13%, assistant director of public works 15%, ice rink manager 16%, assistant ice rink manager 28%, assistant engineer 34%.

“It’s nice being on Mayor Hill’s team,” Rodrick said. “They take care of one another.”

At this point Council President Kevin Geoghegan, a close political ally of Hill, groaned.

Rodrick said Business Administrator Lou Amoroso sent an email earlier in the week saying those who complained about their property taxes going up were taxpayers who weren’t paying their fair share, after noting the senior citizen communities appeared to be hardest hit by the reassessment.

Rodrick said Amoroso’s email was “A careless, callous and outrageous description of the Toms River taxpayers.”

Toms River Councilman Josh Kopp interrupted Rodrick, “You know it’s a range right? not a raise?”

“If you were here long enough, you would know once the range is set, it is the mayor’s prerogative to grant that salary. McGuckin knows that,” Rodrick replied, warning that the council shouldn’t give the mayor authority to raise those salaries under the new threshold.

Rodrick accused Hill and the Toms River council of once again conducting a tax reassessment at the height of a housing bubble.

Councilman Rodrick asked Mayor Hill to send the property tax assessor back into the senior communities, “Something is terribly wrong.”

Council President Geoghegan said “This is just a range…Every year we do this to keep our employees in line to what union employees are making.”

Geoghegan cast a yes vote and the new salary ordinance was passed. Mayor Mo Hill did not comment on the matter.

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