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Neal Rochford Running for Borough Commissioner

The former Haddonfield commissioner is trying to reclaim a seat.

Neal Rochford, a former borough commissioner, announced Tuesday he is running again for office.

Rochford was elected to the board in 2005 and served as director of revenue and finance for four years, according to a news release. He lost his bid for re-election in 2009 by eight votes.

That margin inspired the slogan Rochford adopted for his current campaign: "THIS time: Neal!"

All three seats on the borough Board of Commissioners are up for election. Commissioner Letitia "Tish" Colombi, who has been mayor for the past 12 years, announced last month that she will not seek another four-year term after 28 years on the commission.

Commissioner Jeff Kasko also announced his election bid Tuesday; Commissioner Ed Borden is expected to announce his decision this week.

Meanwhile, Rochford isn't waiting.

"Since late January, people have been calling me and stopping me in the street, saying they hope I will run," Rochford said. "I'm very gratified by these early signs of support, and also by the number of people who already have volunteered to serve on my campaign committee."

Rochford, a former Lions Club Citizen of the Year, said that as a lifelong resident he is passionate about Haddonfield.

During his time away from the commission, Rochford helped found the Haddonfield Green Team, a community committee whose mission is to promote sustainable practices in Haddonfield. Their work resulted in Haddondfield's becoming one of 36 municipalities to receive a bronze designation from Sustainable Jersey, the statewide organization that helps municipalities adopt and promote sustainable practices.

Candidates face a March 15 filing deadline for the May 14 election. Haddonfield has a nonpartisan form of government in which party affiliation of candidates is not printed on the ballot.

Editor's note: This story was updated 9:35 p.m. Feb. 19.

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Joe Taxpayer February 20, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Good luck Neal. Can you discuss with us why you and others have been using deferred school taxes to pad the surplus utilized in the budgets and that this option is no longer available and our taxes will be going up to make up for it? Is using a school tax deferral a "sustainable" financial practice? Anyone not familiar with deferred school taxes, read this http://articles.philly.com/2012-03-11/news/31145552_1_tax-rate-municipal-taxes-tax-increase-last-year
Jeff H February 20, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Hopefully Neal brings some new thinking to this commission. The ways of the past are probably not going to work going forward, and Jeff Kasko won't be able to change things alone, as we have seen over the past four years. PRIVATIZE WATER, PRIVATIZE PUBLIC WORKS, CHANGE THE MINDSET!!
Joanne February 21, 2013 at 02:35 AM
Unfortunately Jeff I don't think that is going to happen. Word on the street is Neal is tight with Jack Tarditi so it would be more of the same old same old.
Maryann Campling February 21, 2013 at 01:44 PM
I've been hearing the same "word on the street." Folks are tired of the Democratic machine in the County and in our town.
Scott February 21, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Let's all sit back and listen to the "word of the candidate" as the campaign gears up rather than the "word on the street". I'm sure that's the better way to make an informed decision.
Joanne February 21, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Scott, I will gladly wait and see what Neal has to say. However, actions do speak louder than words and Neal was a hugh supporter of Bancroft.
Scott February 21, 2013 at 03:52 PM
I imagine he may have been as he has vision about the future of our town. Listen, everyone falls on one side or another of any issue but there are more issues than Bancroft and I think at this moment in time Bancroft is no longer on the table. Regardless, I think we need to listen to all our candidates and especially push Kasko to state where he stands with all the issues rather than sitting back and playing both sides. If you want to use Bancroft as an example, he never publicly stated his position. I didn't feel a sense of leadership there from him. But yes, let's all listen and learn and make wise choices and not get all inflamed about one issue that is now out of our hands until its not.
Joe Taxpayer February 21, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Scott are you his campaign manager? Will Neal be explaining how he supported using the deferred school tax in the past to hide spending in the budget? As far as "word" on the street is concerned, Neal is running for office. Come on here and dispel the rumor if its not true. If he is connected to the Camco Dems the same group that steals 25% of our tax dollars, then his campaign is DOA
Scott February 21, 2013 at 04:24 PM
I am not. Just someone who prefers people base their votes on something other than "word on the street". You can disagree but that's my feeling. I'm sure or at least hope all of our candidates will have open forums for discussion as well as public statements of their positions. I saw your post about Medford and am not informed on that particular subject and imagine you are saying this took place in Haddonfield. I'll have to educate myself further on the issue now that I am aware of it.
Bill Tourtellotte February 21, 2013 at 06:50 PM
I'm not up to speed on this "deferred school tax" but I would be very surprised if a commissioner would have any control over that seeing as the BOE is the entity that controls school spending.
Mrs. Silance Nogud February 21, 2013 at 08:21 PM
Word on the street is that Kasco supported the Bancroft referendum, and that he's a secret Democrat. If he doesn't respond to this post, it will be "True."
Joe Taxpayer February 21, 2013 at 09:49 PM
Mr. Tourtellotte. No one is up to speed on "deferred school tax" that is why it is time to come clean. It has nothing to do with the BOE, it is an accounting trick that allows the boro to use the school tax money to offset its budget and it is frowned upon. It is what took Medford and Mt. Laurel down. Once the threshold of use is met, the boro must then find another revenue source to replace it. In our case, they have been using $1 million or thereabouts each year. Where is this going to come from? Look at page 8. Revenues at risk http://www.haddonfieldnj.org/pdf/2012_Adopted_Budget-State_Approved.pdf This is why I am bringing it up. Our officials should be honest with us and transparent. Only then can we support them.
Jack S February 21, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Very interesting issue.
Maryann Campling February 21, 2013 at 11:02 PM
I'll say! Thanks Joe T. for bringing the deferred school tax" issue to light. I note that it is frowned upon...but is it legal? I suspect it is, but is certainly a bad deal. We have to hold their feet to the fire on this issue (and others!)
Eric Johnson February 22, 2013 at 12:45 AM
Joe T. Can you enlighten many of us(and it seems other towns) on the subject? We could probably take this over the HaddonfieldTalks(sorry Mr. Patch). I understood that this is actually a cost savings measure for many municipalities where the school tax is accumulated by the town for say 6 months, draws interest and provides reserves until the BOE fiscal year starts in July- or when money is required for BOE use. Typically reducing the tax rate by 1/2 of 1 percent.. or so. This deferred tax can also replace uncollected/late taxes. Are we talking about the same deferred school tax? I understand this must have inherent risks as well. I don't mean to debate this at all, never even knew it was an issue if we are talking about the same thing.
Joe Taxpayer February 22, 2013 at 01:13 AM
Hello Eric, I think you have a pretty good understanding. Not all towns have the luxury to have this option but as you have probably read, Medford, Evesham and Mt. Laurel for example have all used it to make thier politicians look good. Because of the timing of the school year levy which over the past 10-15 years has always risen, the amount owed in the calendar year was less than the total collected ie the deferral. Towns would assume this deferral into surplus and then repay it the following year. I think the law states that you can only use up to 50% of the total school levy for this purpose but each time it is used, it counts against this 50% cap. When school taxes were rising boros/towns had a built in float but the economic collapse forced the hand and that is one reason the state now makes them disclose it better. Since it is an unsustainable non recurring revenue stream but expenses are recurring, there is a disconnect and once the use of the deferral is gone, the balance used must be replaced and it can get bad. If you look at Medford, they were spending more and using the deferal of $5M to hide the spending and claim to be fiscally responsible. As we all know, eventually the bill comes due. I think we should ask the commissioners and boro officials to explain it since I am not the expert. Obviously the state knows about it so its legal but I doubt many auditors would recommend it. We should ask them too.
Joanne February 22, 2013 at 09:49 AM
Mrs Nogod, It is easy to verify your comments on Jeff Kasko as incorrect. But how easy is it to do the same regarding Neal Rochford being tight with Jack Tarditi?
Joe Taxpayer February 22, 2013 at 01:33 PM
I found this on Medford's website. Look at page 9. It is scary how much one time revenue they were using to grow the spending. Budget grew by $6M from 04 to 11 while tax rate was flat. WOW right! Good job!! NOT. It was all a sham. Look at the deferred school tax line. the $6M of spending was paid for by it. What happened in 12. There was no more deferral so they raised taxes, cut services and went to referendum. And you think we have debt. They were piling it on again with no new taxes. All because a bunch of politicians had career aspirations. http://medfordtownship.com/2012revbudgetpp.pdf
Joe Taxpayer February 22, 2013 at 02:10 PM
http://www.haddonfieldnj.org/pdf/BudgetReviewCommittee/5yearRevenueComparison.pdf See page 5. Last bullet We need to know immediately how much deferral is being used in 12/13 and when it will be exhausted/what the impact is to taxpayers.
Mrs. Silance Nogud February 22, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Really? Source please.
Joanne February 22, 2013 at 05:39 PM
My error Mrs Nogod, It has come to my attention Jeff did sign off on Bancroft however his name wasn't in print like Tish or Ed and when having a conversation with him he appeared very on the fence about the deal and not as if he was a strong supporter. I don't believe he cried like Tish did when all the votes were counted or had much if anything vested in Bancroft like Tish and Ed. That being said It is not difficult to find out what associations or who either Jeff or Neal associate.
Jack S February 22, 2013 at 06:48 PM
I think it would be more accurate to say that Kasko voted to allow the Bancroft proposal to go to a public vote. My recollection, having attended the commissioners meeting in question, and having spoken to several commissioners afterwards including Mr. Kasko, was that he felt that the public should decide whether the deal made sense. (And the public has in fact rendered its decision). Kasko never came out in favor of the Bancroft proposal per se, unlike the other two commissioners. The other two commissioners were clearly advocates for the proposal itself and not merely for the public referendum.
Jim February 23, 2013 at 01:30 AM
Vote NO for Rochford if he wants to buy Bancroft and raise higher taxes and debt and more over head.The Town and BOE can not take of existing common area & parks . Bancroft should share the parking and create a joint venture for a new ball field with High School.
Joanne February 23, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Jack S, Thank you for assisting in clarifying my comment
Jim February 27, 2013 at 03:19 AM
Vote No for Lee And Neal
Jim April 01, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Neal is Tish columbi surrogate

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