1. What do you see as the top three issues in town?
Parking enforcement and excessive ticketing, declining foot traffic/empty stores in business district and outdated property assessments.
2. What specifically are you planning to do to address those issues?
Bring back FREE Saturday Parking and make it permanent, eliminate parking inefficiencies and urge the Borough to re-
assess commercial and residential property values; other towns have done it and so can we.
3. What will be the challenges in getting these goals accomplished?
I recognize my goals and expectations will not be achieved overnight, but with steady and consistent pressure, I think the Mayor and Council will listen to and adopt more business friendly practices. As far as property taxes are concerned, that cant wait. Our homes and properties are currently assessed at 2006 levels and that is just simply unrealistic and unacceptable in todays economic climate.
4. What expenditures, if any, do you see as ripe for trimming in order to keep the budget growth
under the mandated two-percent cap?
We need to use surplus funds generated from the water
utility to pay down existing debt, and not to be used as a slush fund. Keep in mind, peoples
water and sewer expenses are not tax deductible, so if were using part of those funds in the
general budget, at least give us the benefit of the tax deduction. Another key area that I think
calls for exploring is the Boroughs insurance policies. Like any policy, especially those of such a
complex nature, there is always some component that can be scaled down.
5. Do you see any potential sources of revenue that need to be tapped?
I truly feel this is the mindset that has gotten us into this mess. Red Bank does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. We must focus our efforts entirely on reducing expenditures and paying down debt. The well is running dry and most people are simply tapped out.
6. What if any municipal services should be consolidated among towns?
Frankly, I dont think anything should be left off the table. I think there is a common misconception held by many that the suggestion of shared services automatically implies layoffs, when that is not the case at all nor is that my intention. Combining services of any kind can lead to cost savings in several different areas, such as: reducing the number of Borough owned vehicles and gas usage, utilities, insurance or even using an existing property for a different purpose. Another facet of shared services invites neighboring towns to pay Red Bank for the usage of our services, as was the case with our municipal court agreement with Shrewsbury.
7. What is one thing voters need to know about you, but may not?
I would like voters to know that throughout my life and career, I have always demonstrated that I am capable of handling a tremendous amount of responsibility pertaining to very important matters and critical decision making. I have always welcomed additional responsibilities to my full time job, including going to graduate school part-time, studying for several licenses and certifications, teaching economics at two colleges and serving as our Partys Treasurer. I am hopeful that my background, both in the private and public sector coupled with my love for this town, will be a welcomed addition to Borough Hall over the course of these next three years.
Red Bank Questions:
1. Taking into account meter rates, permit fees and fines, do you agree with the borough’s
present approach to parking issues? Explain.
Absolutely not. I recently heard of someone refer to Red Bank as: The town of the $40 dollar cup of coffee – $2 dollars for the coffee and $38 dollars for the ticket! This ridiculous practice has to stop immediately and I have yet to speak with a store owner, store employee, customer or resident that feels any differently. People dont mind paying for parking, but they do mind getting ticketed. It takes a large portion of peoples discretionary income away from local businesses as well as acting as a major deterrent for new businesses to open here.
2. What should the borough be doing to stimulate business downtown?
There are currently 38 empty retail store fronts in addition to even more vacant office space in Red Bank (some of
that space is sub-dividable, so that number can actually be higher). I commend the Mayor for pushing to repeal the mandatory parking fund contribution, but it was bad policy to begin with and may have caused sustaining damage. Bringing back free Saturday parking is a must and I would support extending weekday enforcement by two hours to offset the differential.
3. Have efforts to maintain or cut property taxes been sufficient? Explain.
I do not believe so. Fair Haven and Little Silver were successful in reducing their taxes this year, but Red Banks went
up yet again. I often hear our Administrators attribute and/or blame this crisis to the +/- 16.6% Not For Profit tax base missing from the tax rolls, but how could that possibly be a justifiable reason for a tax increase when that percentage doesnt change year over year? That percentage is a constant and cannot be used as an excuse for an increase.
4. Should Red Bank sell its water utility? Explain.
It would be unwise not to consider it. I believe the water utility acts as the Boroughs giant credit card which is now carrying a balance of over $8 million dollars. A larger company, such as NJ American, would be an excellent candidate
to run it knowing we currently have a partial sub-contract in place for half the year and theyre services are well received by surrounding towns. I feel tax payers will undoubtedly benefit by applying basic economies of scale principles coupled with not having that debt burden.
5. Should Red Bank continue to host the KaBoom fireworks?
Absolutely! When I first moved here, the first thing my family said to me was: Good! Now we have a place to park on July 3rd! I think its great for the town and it brings joy, excitement and fun to many families. Kaboom is marked on families calendars months in advance, both near and far, and it would be a tremendous loss to everyone if those same calendars had a blank space on July 3rd and not the words Red Bank.