Cedar Grove, NJ – Fourth District Freeholder Leonard Luciano is another government “double dipper” who is out of touch with his constituents who pay the largest percentage of property taxes in the county, said Republican challenger Joseph Chiusolo.
Chiusolo noted that Luciano’s appointment to the board adds to the list “double dippers” on the county payroll that have more than one government salary and pension. Luciano collects a salary and pension as a school teacher and a $32,765 a year salary as freeholder, which is also pensionable. The overall budget for the freeholder’s legislative operations is nearly $2 million.
“Freeholder Luciano is a creature of government. He benefits from high property taxes, while most of the people in the district suffer because of high property taxes. He has no incentive to cut government spending or taxes,” said Chiusolo, who noted Essex County residents suffer the second highest property taxes in the nation.
“My question to Mr. Luciano is why does he need two government paychecks and does his freeholder salary contribute to his existing government pension, creating one very large taxpayer- funded retirement benefit for Mr. Luciano?” asked Chiusolo.
He also wanted to know if Luciano even pays property taxes since the home he lists in West Caldwell belongs to his father.
The 2011 county tax levy rose by $11 million to $384 million, plus another $14 million in recreation taxes. The Fourth District property owners will pay in excess of $160 million in county taxes this year. The actual 2011 county tax levy for the district has yet to be released by the county, even though it is nearly November.
Chiusolo, the deputy mayor of Cedar Grove, said Freeholder Luciano demonstrated in a recent debate in Verona that he has no plans to cut county spending. Luciano offered no cost cutting plans and defended the county’s ballooning budget. Luciano said at the debate that he supports the county’s gratuitous spending on a $5 million miniature golf course, a $4.3 million restaurant and another $7 million on improvements at the county zoo. He tried to defend these and other expenditures saying they were revenue producers.
Chiusolo, a business owner, said Luciano does not know the difference between revenue and profit.
“Because some county attractions produce revenue, does not mean they are producing a profit for the county, said Chiusolo. “Profit is what you end up with after paying salaries, overhead and debt. Since Mr. Luciano has no private sector experience, he lacks a basic understanding of business principles, which is why he is not troubled by the burden that increasing property taxes exact on homeowners and business owners.”
“Putting Mr. Luciano back on the freeholder board will guarantee just one thing – higher property taxes,” said Chiusolo.
“I will work to cut government spending and stop wasting taxpayer money on non-essential expenditures, such as restaurants, lobbyists and public relations firms,” said Chiusolo. “The people of the 4th District need a freeholder representative who will stand up and fight for tax relief.”
Essex County’s 4th Freeholder District encompasses: Caldwell, West Caldwell, Cedar Grove, North Caldwell; Essex Fells; Fairfield; Livingston; Millburn; West Orange., Roseland, Verona,