Candidate Statements

Candidate Statements

Yellin: My Ideas for Preventing Another 9% Property Tax Increase

5fa07e02f4d25895c82e_campaignphoto4.jpg
Yellin: My ideas for preventing another 9% property tax increase
5fa07e02f4d25895c82e_campaignphoto4.jpg

Hi, this is Stephen Yellin; I'm a lifelong resident of Berkeley Heights who's running for Township Council this year. You can find my name on the ballot in the lower left-hand corner (Column A, Row 9). To learn more about my campaign, visit http://www.bhdems.com .

Unlike my opponents, I have been actively going door-to-door over the last few months, speaking with hundreds of residents about their concerns and listening to their ideas to move Berkeley Heights forward. It should not come as a surprise to you, the reader that Property Taxes has been the #1 topic of discussion. I want to take the time in this article to address this critical issue, and what I propose (specifically) to do about it.

First off, the residents of Berkeley Heights need to know the truth: any candidate who says they will cut your taxes next year if elected is deceiving you. There are a few reasons why you should automatically dismiss candidates in Berkeley Heights who promise you this:

Sign Up for E-News

  1. Despite cutting 4.5% of its budget last year, and raising municipal property taxes by 9.01%, the Township Council does not have enough money to hire a new police chief. There is approximately $80,000 available for day-to-day expenses and/or emergencies, and no more.
  2. When you account for rising health and pension costs, virtually all new revenue from the 9% tax increase will be used up just to meet current expenses.
  3. Governor Christie and the legislature have imposed a 2% Cap on municipal spending, to take effect in the upcoming budget year. The Council will have its hands full trying to further cut back spending without "breaking the back" of municipal government and the services it provides.

The real question candidates ought to be asked is this: "What can we do to keep next year's property taxes from going up 9% again?" The vague answer, of course, is to cut spending. Another is the concept of "shared services", which is a great buzzword to use until the candidate is asked what services they actually want to share. While I fully support the concept, all "shared" services must benefit the taxpayers of Berkeley Heights for them to be worthwhile.

I propose the following specific ideas in order to try and lower what I expect would be another tax increase in the 2011-2 fiscal year:

  • Improvements at our Water Treatment Plant. The plant, located on Snyder Avenue as you head across the bridge into Chatham, currently takes in sludge and waste from our and neighboring towns' water systems, and processes them into clean water. Two other programs - FOG co-generation and Methane conversion - can also be performed at the Plant with minimal upgrade costs. Both programs convert unhealthy chemicals - toxic sludge("Fats, Oils and Greases", or FOG for short) and methane gas - into electricity, which can be sold back to the grid, used to power our downtown buildings, or sold to local businesses at a cheaper rate than they currently pay. This both saves the Town money and generates new revenue, without hurting the taxpayers.
  • Create a Business Improvement District (BID) for our downtown. While this idea has been included in the new "Master Plan" for Berkeley Heights, it has yet to be implemented by the Council. I will push to see a BID come to fruition if elected. The BID would create a governing body of downtown business owners and concerned residents, with a member of the Council acting as arbiter. 

That board would be charged with determining a) What businesses do we want to bring to downtown Berkeley Heights? b) How can these businesses be encouraged to move to Berkeley Heights? and c) How can our downtown be redesigned to better attract consumers and businesses alike? Creating a BID will ensure that new rateables can be brought to  Berkeley Heights in a cohesive and reasonable fashion, avoiding overdevelopment and vacant storefronts alike. 

  • Develop a Sewer Utility, with the long-term goal of a Sewer Authority.  Currently taxpayers in Berkeley Heights are paying a flat fee for all sewage costs incurred by the Township. This arrangement is unfair to those suffering the most in these tough economic times - our seniors and working-class residents. Separating the sewer portion of the tax bill, and basing it on usage instead of a flat fee, will greatly help our more economically vulnerable residents in this difficult economic time. A Sewer Authority would bring together neighboring towns to save money on sewage treatment, and would likewise benefit the taxpayers.

The three proposals listed above are tangible, specific ideas to lessen the property tax burden that our residents will continue to face in the next few years. While it is fiscally infeasible to lower or hold property taxes steady in 2011, we need a Township Council who will actively seek to keep a tax increase as low as possible. Electing me will give you a voice on the Council that is committed to doing just that.

Next week I plan to comment on a few other issues facing Berkeley Heights, including the conduct of the Township Council in the last few years.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Logic and Sensible Spending Take Priority

May 24, 2018

Logic.  It's what people use when endeavoring to complete things in the most sensible order.  Everyone knows that "logic" means sequencing events in a formulaic, predictable manner.  We learned this at a young age, as we observed Star Trek on TV and came to understand why Captain James T. Kirk relied on Spock as his first officer because his strategic plans were ...

I will draw on my experience to deliver a great future for Berkeley Heights

I am impressed with the day-to-day leadership of our Mayor and Town Council and I hope to help them continue to do great work. As I have been doing my research since deciding to run for a seat on our Town Council, I have learned a few things about all the work that has been happening in recent years.  For example, while plans for the Stratton House development were recently announced, our ...

Christopher Rinaldi for Town Council - Leadership, Judgement, Experience

My name is Christopher Rinaldi.  As a long-time member of the Republican Party, I am running in the Republican Primary on June 5th for Township Council and Republican Municipal Committee of Berkeley Heights.

As a follow-up to my Candidate Statements from the last two weeks, I would like to share with you a few areas of direct work experience garnered over the past 25 years that I believe ...

How the Holi Color Festival Came to Summit; Event Planner Shares Her Story

May 21, 2018

Back in India, Holi was a holiday observed by almost all states. The holiday would be declared at all educational institutes and offices. It's a two day spring festival also known as the festival of colors. The festival signifies the victory of good over bad, the arrival of spring with the fragrance of flowers in the air and aura of warmth and happiness.

Holi festival is the time ...

Rain Didn't Dampen Our Vision for Art in the Park

The rain did not dampen our vision for Art in the Park!! Columbia Middle School was transformed into an art paradise, filled with an array of artists whose talents are nothing short of magical! The Peppertown Park Art in the Park Committee would like to thank all of the artists who came to our very first Art in the Park event. We are in awe of your creativity and immeasurable talents! You all ...

Red Cross Shares 20 Ways to be Safe This Summer

May 24, 2018

Download free Red Cross Apps to have safety information at your fingertips

The upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend is the unofficial start of summer when many people will begin traveling, firing up the grill, and enjoying swimming and other water-related activities. The American Red Cross wants everyone to have fun and offers 20 things people can do to be safe all summer ...

Union County Offers Free Traffic Safety Education Programs throughout the Summer

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites parents and caregivers to attend any of the upcoming Union County Police Department Traffic Safety Education programs to learn about car and bike safety equipment for children.

“As children start to spend more time outside and the summer travel season approaches, now is the time for parents and caregivers to ensure they are wearing ...

Gov. Livingston Hilltop Players Host Annual Relay Cabaret, May 31

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Governor Livingston Hilltop Players will be hosting their annual Relay Cabaret at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 31 in the GL cafeteria. It is a night of songs, scenes, monologues, and dances from famous plays and musicals. We ask for donations at the door, and all funds raised will go to Relay for Life in the memory of our beloved technical director, Kenneth ...

Mindfulness Meditation Session Begins Program on Nutrition at New Providence Library

Dr. Kavita Kewalramani, a board certified Internist at K Primary Care and Medical Nutrition Center in New Providence, will start with a short mindfulness meditation session, followed by the latest research on how mindful nutrition helps to improve your health and weight. Dr. K will also share a recipe for healthy protein bites which will be sampled by the audience, and discuss her weight loss ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Video Shows School Board Member In Altercation With Police at Traffic Stop in South Orange

May 16, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - South Orange Maplewood School Board Member Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad got into an altercation with a South Orange police officer who stopped her for speeding last month, in which she used profanity, complained when she was issued a ticket and called South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll “a skinhead cop.”

Lawson-Muhammad also appeared to suggest that she would ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, May 25, 9:30 AM

Junior League of Summit Thrift Shop, Summit

Here Comes Summer! Junior League of Summit Thrift ...

Giving Back Green

Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Aunt Carrie's Attic Sale

Giving Back Other

Sat, May 26, 11:00 AM

Home For Good Dog Recue, Berkeley Heights,

Dog Adoption

Other

Sat, May 26, 2:00 PM

New Providence

Memoir Writing Workshops @ NPML

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, May 31, 11:30 AM

Canoe Brook Country Club, Summit

Fortnightly Club Scholarship Luncheon

Food & Drink Giving Back

Thu, May 31, 1:30 PM

Coppola Ristorante, New Providence

Lunch and Learn: Dental Implants and the ...

Health & Wellness

The Evaluation of the College Search

It’s is a bizarre time of year as a college counselor as I find myself at both the beginning and end of this process.  Sophomores and juniors are excitedly and idealistically starting to consider what will be important to them in a school.  At the same time, while only separated by a year or two, my seniors have all committed within the past month to a school and have spent the ...

How to Design Your Ideal Retirement

Would you like to design your ideal retirement? Where do you begin? First of all, what does retirement mean to you? If you’re in a relationship, does retirement mean the same to you as it does to your partner? Do you know if your “ideal retirement” is affordable or just a pipe dream?

In past generations, retirement planning didn’t involve very much. You stopped work ...

Don’t Make These Three Mistakes About Social Security

Social Security has been around for decades and it’s not about to disappear. Why? Social Security is not an entitlement ("gift") that can be taken away - it’s a forced savings scheme that Americans pay into in their working years in order to secure a pension for life. Ideally, Social Security should not be your sole source of income in retirement but even comfortable ...