Gov. Chris Christie today blasted Monroe Mayor Richard Pucci during a call in to 101.5 radio, charging the Democratic mayor with blowing through the tax cap imposed by the state Legislature in 2010.
Christie was apparently responding to complaints he heard during a segment on the station’s “Ask the Governor” show, in which residents claimed their tax bills were soaring despite the 2 percent cap.
This morning, the governor said the state Department of Community Affairs had found the township’s budget had violated the cap by $500,000. The governor said he had directed the DCA to order Monroe to reissue tax bills to reflect a budget that falls inside the cap.
“We’re issuing a letter today to the mayor, directing him to issue corrective property tax bills by November 1st,” Christie told host Jim Gearhart. “Bills that are going to comply with the law. That are going to cut the levy by half a million dollars, and adjust everybody’s property tax bills by November 1st to reduce their property taxes by that level.”
This is not the first time Christie has set his sights on Pucci. Last month, the state Comptroller issued a report detailing a series of bonuses Pucci had been paid in his role as director of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority.
The bonuses, which in one year totaled more than $50,000, were not part of Pucci’s contract to run the agency and were paid based on vague performance criteria, the Comptroller found.
A later report by PolitickerNJ found that vendors who contract with the agency were among dozens of donors to a series of Political Action Committees that helped finance Pucci’s campaign for mayor and the campaigns of dozens of other Middlesex County elected officials.
Christie blasted Pucci for both the bonuses and the PACs, which were reported on earlier this year by PolitickerNJ and other media.
“”The guy who is giving himself the biggest bonus is the political muscle in Middlesex County. Anybody who has to run in Monroe has to go and kneel at the altar of Mayor Pucci,’’ Christie said at the time. “His involvement, in my view, is reprehensible.”