Bond Vote Creates Rift Between Allies The Two Republicans Had Stuck Together. Until It Came To $1.55 Million In Bonds For Voorhees.

Posted: June 19, 1994

VOORHEES — Peggy Diliberto has always been one to speak her mind, especially from her seat on the Voorhees Township Committee. She did so again last week, contributing to a breach with her old comrade-in-arms that might be hard to repair.

The day after she gave her support to a municipal bond issue that had split the committee along partisan lines, her husband found on the couple's driveway several torn campaign posters from 1991 when Diliberto and fellow Republican Craig Reider ran for the committee, Diliberto said last week.

Also on the driveway was a note that Diliberto contended was handwritten by Reider, who did not attend the meeting.

Diliberto said the note from Reider expressed his disappointment with her actions at the committee meeting Monday night.

Reider declined to comment on the incident, but did express his displeasure with Diliberto's vote to support the sale of $1.55 million in municipal refunding bonds.

Reider said he felt betrayed by Diliberto's failure to inform him of her intention to vote with the Democrats on how to spend the money.

Most of the bond money will be used to offset the nearly $1.6 million that the township lost last year in tax appeals. The rest will cover the cost of issuing the bonds.

At the end of May, both parties put forth plans to issue $1.7 million in bonds. They differed, however, on how to spend that money.

Democrats Pamela Hammer, Stuart Friedman and John Palm wanted to use all of the money for property tax relief. Instead, Reider proposed using part of the money for tax relief and part to replenish surplus funds that had been depleted in recent years.

"No matter how you look at this, it doesn't plan for the future," Reider said of the Democrats' plan, the one that was approved.

Prior to Reider's proposal, both Republicans said they opposed a bond issue

because it would increase the township's long-term debt. But without a bond sale, members of the committee were faced with either levying a steep one-time tax increase or cutting personnel from either the public works department or among the police dispatchers.

While both measures were under consideration, Reider said, he received threats against himself and his family. The harassment was enough for Reider to inform the Police Department.

According to state law, a bond issue requires a two-thirds vote for approval - in this case, four of five votes.

Although previously opposed, Diliberto said she had come to see the sale as inevitable. By Monday's meeting, she said, she felt that all she could do was ask the Democrats to reduce the bond issue by about 10 percent.

They agreed, and in Reider's absence Diliberto gave the Democrats their fourth vote. Reider said a family emergency had prevented him from attending.

"I gave them my vote, but under my plan we will borrow less money," Diliberto said. "I want to borrow the least amount of money possible."

Neither Diliberto nor Reider is running for re-election this fall, when both of their terms expire.

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