Dr. Thomas Foregger and John Leo Jr. are pleased to announce their candidacy for Berkeley Heights Township Council and will stand in the Republican Primary on June 6th. They look forward to offering a real alternative to the incumbents by returning Republican values back to the local Republican Party.
As the voice for lower taxes, they will work hard to bring much-needed judgment, leadership and fiscal responsibility to the historically free-spending Township Council.
Dr. Foregger said he and Mr Leo will “push for transparency and accountability from our local government and ensure that all proposals are met with proper scrutiny and debate at Council meetings.”
Says Leo, "My wife and I would like to see our children grow up in a prosperous Berkeley Heights. As soon as we moved here, we felt motivated by the town’s bright future. But the hurdles were also apparent.”
Disturbed by the Town Council’s determination to ignore the residents and press ahead with several questionable projects, including the extravagant $28 million municipal building rebuild, Leo knew he needed to stand up and give people a better option. “I think most residents agree that the eye-popping price-tag of the proposed municipal building is frankly ridiculous for a small town such as ours, and it will have a serious impact on municipal taxes,” said Leo. “We would like to see the Town Council consult residents about these high costs directly; instead they are cynically denying people their right to a vote on this project. When government goes rogue like this and refuses to listen to the people they are supposed to serve, the only recourse left is to vote them out of office.”
"We firmly believe these projects can and should be undertaken in a more responsible manner and that residents should never be denied a voice,” added Leo.
Another sore point amongst residents of the town is the poor condition of roads and other infrastructure. “Municipal property taxes are up 19% since the first of these incumbents took office, but what have they really achieved?” asked Foregger. “Are the roads in better shape than they were 6 years ago? Is the downtown more attractive and thriving? Many of our roads are barely above third-world condition, and businesses are fleeing the town, leaving many empty storefronts.
“The incumbents are seeking another term in office but I think the evidence suggests they categorically do not deserve it,” said Foregger. “It’s high time for a change in Berkeley Heights town government.”
Dr. Thomas Foregger holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin and has authored 15 research papers. He worked as a Computer Scientist at Bell Labs, where he was named a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, at AT&T as a manager in Corporate Planning, at Alcatel-Lucent, and as a Senior Technical Staff Member at HCL before retiring in late 2015.
He and his wife Marsha have lived in Berkeley Heights for over 40 years, and their son David is a graduate of the Berkeley Heights School System. Tom has long been active in Township activities. He has served on the Code Review and Financial Review Committees, has been elected to the Republican Municipal Committee, and served as Treasurer for the Berkeley Heights Taxpayers Association. In 1995 he was elected to the Union County Regional High School Board of Education. In 2008 he led a petition drive to have a vote on a $10M bond issue, and that bond issue was successfully defeated. Tom regularly attends Township Council meetings and has consistently pushed for openness in information sharing by the Council.
John Leo, a career airline pilot, brings a unique perspective to the political map. Leo has spent the last 11 years flying aircraft for Delta Airlines, United Express and Continental Express. He has spent eight years as a captain, four years as a chief pilot and two years as Manager of Flight Standards, positions interfacing directly with federal regulators and providing direction to leadership and pilot instructors. Leo has experience with both teaching in airplanes and facilitating pilots in the classroom.
Foregger and Leo offer Berkeley Heights the judgment and leadership needed to repair and revitalize our town while also advocating for sensible tax relief.
Editor's note: The candidate's source for calculating the historical property tax increases for the period of 2011 to 2016 is NJRealEstateTaxes.com. According to the source for that period of time, municipal rate per assessed property value increased from 6.53 to 7.58*, representing a 16.08% increase; school rate per assessed property value increased from 21.11 to 22.34, representing a 5.82% increase; and county rate per assessed property value increased from 8.2 to 9.77, representing a 19.14% increase. The overall tax bill broken out: Municipal taxes 19%, School taxes 56% and County taxes 25%.
*The municipal tax rate per source includes the library levy.