My name is Ed Delia and I am running for Berkeley Heights Town Council.  Berkeley Hts residents suffered a 9.1% tax increase this year.  Even if you feel you can afford higher taxes, all residents should be concerned with the radiant effect of those tax increases to the rest of the township.  For example:
 
l. The downtown businesses are struggling to keep their store fronts occupied because of the high cost of rent which are reflected by the high cost of our taxes.
 
2. Real estate turnover costs us more tax dollars.  The longer a resident stays in their home the more tax savings we receive because of the reduced burden on the school system.  It costs approximately $15,000 a year per student to educate a child.  It takes years to recover the educational expenses for each child.  We need to keep taxes down to help residents stay in the homes that they love.  Also there is a lot of comfort in knowing your lifelong neighbors.  My goal is to help Berkeley Heights be so affordable that people are compelled to make Berkeley Heights their lifelong home.
 
3.  Higher taxes are associated with foreclosures.  Foreclosures cause surrounding home values to decrease.  As of last April, Berkeley Heights had over 100 homes in pre-foreclosure. A very scary thought.
 
4. Corporate/commercial taxes help reduce our residential tax burden. If our taxes are too high even our large corporations will leave or apply for a tax appeal.  For example, the Connell tax appeal cost the residents $1.3 million per year – every year. 
 
A large portion of our tax increase was to make up for the 30% reduction in the Connell Corporation taxes.  This colossal blunder is a perfect example of poor leadership at all levels.  Add to that the lack of transparency because this issue was only brought to light because of a resident who made an inquiry at a council meeting last month. The Connell fiasco needs to be investigated. 
 
We all know that everyone’s property values have decreased.  It takes X amount of dollars to run the town. If your neighbor or a business has their taxes lowered in an appeal the rest of us have to make up the difference. That is why I feel a town wide reassessment of all properties would help prevent future revenue losses.  This will eliminate the need for tax appeals and all properties will be judged at the same standard. 
 
The bottom line is we need to control spending and to bring our taxes to the lowest level possible.  My goal is to work towards a tax decrease for the residents of Berkeley Heights.  Other towns have succeeded.  Why can’t we?
 
Ed Delia
Republican Candidate for Berkeley Heights