Penny Wise – Pound Foolish:
Running a town into the ground while championing “low taxes” and “great management” takes just three easy steps. First, use construction fees and larger taxes from a teardown boom in Chatham to paper over rising costs. Second, put off all reasonable investment in the Township infrastructure (e.g., Municipal Building and Police Station). Finally, when the bills come due and the revenues slow down, blame Trenton or Washington for higher taxes – or any nearby Democrat - no matter how nonpartisan they might be.
It’s been the far-right Republican playbook in this election and for the past several elections. They talk in their campaign flyers about improving services, parks and supporting our police and municipal employees. But in the same breath, say they’ll look for cuts every year. Don’t let them fool you with gimmicks. Either they’re coming for your roads and police – or they’ve got no answer and will count on you to forget their “low tax” promises (or they’ll be yelling about the nearest Democrat they can find when the bills come due).
Dangerous Affordable Housing Gamesmanship that Only Serves Big Developers
If we don’t keep our affordable housing house in order, the courts will do it for us. It's that simple. And when the courts do it – they’ll do it with big developers like Silverman Group. Already Silverman is at our door looking to put huge developments at Noe and Charlie Brown's – it’s happened before in other towns and it will happen to us if we’re not careful.
Suddenly, Hamilton and Felice are all for Affordable Housing in Chatham after they spent 18 months fighting it. Don’t be fooled – they weren’t fighting to find the “best site” in Chatham. They were fighting to protect their backyard. And they were willing to risk our zoning laws to do it with false bravado around being lawyers and inviting big developers to sue the town.
And, of course, you don’t hear a peep about how they plan to pay for that Affordable Housing they now claim to support. They’re against charging big developers a fee to pay for our affordable housing obligations. And their predecessors on the Committee (and major supporters) didn’t plan for this eminently foreseeable outcome so didn’t save for these costs.
Why? – because saving and planning doesn’t fit the “low taxes” narrative. They think their standard playbook works better -- when you know costs are coming, ignore them – just wait until it’s a crisis and then blame the nearby (or far away) Democrat, or unforeseen circumstances, or whatever – never your own lack of planning.
A Positive Vision for Chatham
It doesn’t have to be this way. If we plan right, we can be fiscally prudent and have great services. If we’re honest about the long-term trends in Chatham, we can talk openly and transparently about our finances and our vision for the future. If we spend less time on angry rhetoric and grandstanding at Township Committee meetings, we can figure out how to improve our green spaces and our neighborhoods.
Vote Shah Ankel for a brighter, calmer and saner future.