The message of the Rocks for Freeholder campaign is simple: things have to change in Camden County, NJ. There’s no serious way to argue otherwise:
- The unemployment rate of Camden County is 10.6%, a full point higher than the state average of 9.3% (source: Select Greater Philadelphia)
- Over the last ten years, a number of sectors have shed jobs. Construction, manufacturing, trade and transportation, finance, business services have all seen a negative growth rate in employment (source: Select Greater Philadelphia)
- One way to drive more people from the area is to raise the county property tax rate 8%, as the current Board of Freeholders was considering
- There are still outstanding issues with essential county services, i.e. the jail. How exactly are extremely cramped living conditions for inmates and a bunch of broken elevators acceptable when the complaints about the jail have been voiced for years?
- And then there are the debacles of the current Freeholder board like the Pennsauken Mart. You can read about that at length. It’s a case study in doing nearly everything wrong.
It’s difficult to talk about county issues, but it has to be done. We’re talking about 500,000 residents of Camden County, a budget of $300-400 million. There’s a lot on the line, and it’s pretty urgent; expenses are growing and revenue is shrinking. I know Josh is willing to tackle the tough issues. We’ve gone around and talked to a number of residents, and Josh has been able to form a bond with them. He’s concerned about the ability of all of us to stay in the area – to have decent services, reasonable taxes and equality of opportunity. In this he’s in agreement with the deeper concerns of those who are trying to make Camden County their home.