Change tax lien practices to cut senior foreclosures

I find it extremely disconcerting that New Jersey continues to face the highest property foreclosure rates in the nation. Despite trends reporting year-on-year improvements, the raw numbers indicate we can be doing much better. In Cumberland County one in every 333 homes is in some stage of foreclosure action; in Atlantic County that number is one in every 530, and in Cape May County, it’s a little better at one in every 1,395 — that said, these numbers remain unacceptable.

Seniors living on fixed incomes are most at risk for foreclosure. Their financial constraints, on top of the challenges that come up with aging, potential disability, loss of a spouse and lack family support, are often what drive innocent tax delinquency. What’s worse is outstanding tax payments usually don’t exceed a couple hundred dollars.

The point here is, without serious changes, our current foreclosure system will continue to unconscionably uproot and displace many of New Jersey’s seniors.

Working with fellow Assembly members, including Vince Mazzeo, we have created legislation, A-5316, sensitive to the unique challenges confronting seniors. We modeled our reforms after programs that have seen success in other states.

Senior homeowners most vulnerable are those who may be experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s, dementia or other health issues. Many homeowners aren’t even aware of a tax bill simply due to improper notification. We can change that.

In addition to correspondence by mail or phone, there must be a home visit when notices go unanswered. Placing responsibility on the tax collector will also streamline the process ensuring expediency and transparency. Our legislation aims to provide seniors every opportunity to pay their bill before the tax lien process begins.

The security of our seniors is a top priority and we’re committed to improving New Jersey’s foreclosure outcomes, creating prosperous local communities and economies. We can’t waste any more time.

Assemblyman Matthew Milam

Vineland

D-1st, Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland

Democrats funny debating

I have often regretted being born too late to enjoy the entertainment at Bethlehem hospital, a.k.a. Bedlam, in the mid-1800s, where people went on weekends to watch the inmates or lunatics, as they were referred to back then, frolic. However, the Democratic debates and mass media have more than made up for what I missed.

The last Democrat debate, I found myself holding my stomach and rolling on the floor with laughter. Kamala Harris was the star attraction when she opened up on Joe Biden. Even her former married lover, former mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown, said in the San Francisco Chronicle that she can’t beat President Donald Trump.

I look forward to more debates and far-left media coverage with immense anticipation, but with the slight apprehension of acquiring a hernia.

Ron Hill

Egg Harbor City

Horseshoe crabs don’t need conservation help

Regarding the recent story, “NJ ended its horseshoe crab harvest. Should other states do the same?”:

Trying to encourage other states to follow New Jersey’s lead in prohibiting the harvesting of horseshoe crabs is reaching a bit far. The moratorium is focused on protecting the red knot, a federally threatened species.

I think the birds have plenty to eat. Red knots breed in the far north of Canada, Europe and Russia, where they are a food source for the arctic fox. They are hunted in South America and shot for sport in the West Indies, yet the dwindling numbers are blamed on the lack of eggs from the horseshoe crabs. Delaware tried to ban horseshoe crab harvesting but was stopped by a lawsuit.

Now a company selling horseshoe crab blood extract to detect bacteria in medical applications is being cited as another reason for the decline in crab numbers. There is insufficient evidence that the crabs don’t survive after having the blood extracted.

I think the dead crabs littering the bay beaches show it was a banner year for them, and that the horseshoe crabs are thriving and multiplying just as they have for 450 million years without the help of conservationists.

Susan Copson

Cape May Court House

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