Last week, the Toms River Township Council passed an amended MCCUO ordinance that keeps most of the cumbersome mandates imposed on homeowners since July 1 and preserves the biggest fee structure facing home sellers anywhere in Ocean County — if not the state.
This onerous ordinance was enacted a year ago after being read in name only by the last lame duck council, but didn’t take effect until this past summer.
Its consequences have been disastrous.
As a real estate attorney and former realtor, I knew the ordinance would cause big problems and depress home values. So, when I took office after the ordinance had been passed, I brought my concerns to the other members of the Council, but they fell on deaf ears.
Now, my fears are proving true.
Since July 1, home sales are down a whopping 35% from the same time period last year as sellers struggle to satisfy the dictates of government inspectors combing through their homes with a multi-page checklist of nonsensical demands.
Time after time, the entire sales process is coming to a grinding halt as potential buyers watch their mortgage approvals expire and flinch as interest rates rise three-quarters of a point each month.
Some may be skeptical that the dramatic decline in home sales in our town is attributable to the new ordinance, but MLS data tells the story: While Toms River closed sales are down over one-third, sales in Brick are down only half as much, Berkeley sales are completely unchanged, and Manchester sales have actually increased 3%.
It’s no secret why. Realtors have told us they’re not bringing buyers to Toms River as often as they used to. The result is fewer bids for homes in the Toms River market and lower prices for Toms River taxpayers selling their most valuable personal asset.
In recent weeks, I’ve even seen the trouble firsthand: my wife is trying to sell her home but has been unable to make any progress with the municipal leviathan. As we struggle to schedule an inspection with an unknown outcome, a buyer is waiting in the wings. But for how long?
At a time when Washington politicians are saddling us with a massive inflation tax and Trenton Democrats continue to redistribute our income taxes to subsidize schools in other towns, the majority on the Toms River Council are making matters even worse for our town.
Their new fees and mandates are suppressing home values in the wake of a massive property tax revaluation that set our taxes at the peak of the market but will now artificially drive down sale prices.
The MCCUO ordinance is a pure money grab to fund a bloated municipal government replete with political patronage.
It’s a disgrace.
Toms River taxpayers don’t deserve this ordinance or the government that promotes it. That’s why I’ll continue my fight to repeal it.