I just returned from a long day of meeting with residents to find my opponents Max the Tax video and mailer. Once again Kevin is out of touch with our community and took my comment out of context.
My comment was made at a school budget meeting where we were facing the loss of three elementary school teachers, not funding high school teachers in Math and Science, a Supervisor in special education, school security measures and much-needed mental health staff.
The difference between the 3.3% budget and the 3.8% budget amounted to $59 per household. Kevin Sullivan was not at the school board meeting to understand this. And the majority of residents present felt that these items were important for our students, to maintain class sizes and the quality of our school district.
But let's talk about budgeting and being fiscally conservative.
At the League of Women's Voters forum, the question was asked as to why our municipal taxes went up this year and what was our plan going forward. My plan is to create a 5-year fiscal budgeting plan to look at what we can and can't afford given our labor costs are going up by 2% and health benefit costs by up to 10%. Our tax collection rate is down and the knockdown/rebuilds, where we receive significant tax dollars, are slowing. We need to look to the future, and create a plan to control our costs.
My opponent's response was "a five-year budget plan? See how well that worked out for Russia." He had no plan. And what does Russia have to do with our township?
During the public budget hearing, I asked committee members to explain their input into the budget, to explain what we can and cannot afford as our taxes went up and we have lost services...not one could or would answer. That's not what we expect nor want from our committee members.
At the December meeting, I asked why the township withdrew from our cost sharing joint recreation trust fund with Chatham Borough. Why would taxpayers pay two-thirds of a turf field replacement cost rather than one-third? Kevin said he had been part of the decision made a year ago. But no one seemed to tell the borough so they told us "we were on our own." In fact, several members of the committee were unaware this decision had even been made and it was not discussed in public.
Our committee is not functioning properly and not in the best interest of our residents. We need a proactive and engaged committee member who will ask the right questions, advocate for our residents and plan for the future.
I ask for your vote on November 6th and together we can work towards a better Chatham Township.