Dear Chatham Township Neighbors,
There can be no argument with Chatham Township’s decades-long success story. By every metric that matters, *Chatham Township is on the right track.* Our record is one of low taxes, fiscal responsibility, protection of property rights, and integrity and transparency in our local government. Mark Hamilton’s and my focus is on keeping Chatham Township on the right track, to ensure that our Township remains a great place to live, raise a family, and retire.
We ask for your vote on November 5th so that we can keep the Township Committee focused on what matters:
(1) Keep Chatham Township Fiscally Responsible. Mark Hamilton and I seek to ensure that municipal taxes remain low. We're grateful to Chatham Township's last four mayors - Curt Ritter, Kevin Sullivan, Nicole Hagner, and Bailey Brower - for their ten-plus years of thoughtful, conservative stewardship, which has produced the fiscal stability that Chatham Township now enjoys. Chatham Township’s municipal tax rate has remained level since 2007, which is unrivaled in the high-tax State of New Jersey.
All four mayors have endorsed Mark Hamilton and me as the leaders to continue this responsible fiscal stewardship for Chatham Township. That includes holding municipal taxes level to benefit *all Township residents, especially our Seniors.* That's why we oppose Township Committee measures that make unnecessary expenditures and bloat government with wasteful initiatives that will increase property taxes and damage our sound financial position.
In contrast, our campaign opponents have staked-out a tired, thought-free position based on a knee-jerk reaction typical of Democrats at the State and national levels: more taxes.
(2) Protect the Property Values of Chatham Township Homeowners. The Township Committee has already begun to look for ways to restrict homeowners' ability to renovate homes to maximize their value. Mark Hamilton and I absolutely reject both the tactic of calling for new taxes, as is the case with proposed Ordinance 2019-14 to fund yet more Affordable Housing through a "developer fee" for any private homeowners in the Township who want to remodel their bathroom or kitchen. This proposed ordinance disguises its full scope with a reference name “development fee” in its title while by its plain terms it actually places an undue hardship on any Township homeowner choosing to make improvements to their own property. *This would hurt every homeowner, especially our Seniors.* The new taxes in proposed Ordinance 2019-14 are just the start.
As is, Chatham Township homeowners already pay significant fees (too many!) for various professional services, permits, and inspections in connection with construction and renovation projects – not including the additional taxes that follow inspection and reassessment. That's why we oppose two ordinances related to Affordable Housing, such as proposed Ordinance 2019-14. That's why we wholly support the Planning Board in its wise determination that proposed Ordinance 2019-14 is inconsistent with the Township’s Master Plan. That's why we oppose slapping what is effectively an additional tax on forward-thinking and sensible homeowners.
Such new taxes are not only unfair and unnecessary, they also discourage what we should all support throughout the community - proud investment by homeowners into their treasured homes. That investment makes our neighborhoods and community as a whole more valuable and a more desirable place to live. Empowering the Township government to selectively gather funds, from a subset of conscientious homeowners (or anyone else), for the express purpose of future use related to the development of the Affordable Housing that outside forces seek to impose on our community is just a bad idea.
It's noteworthy that our campaign opponents have called for “change.” Precisely, what needs to change? Our opponents’ statements augur dark outcomes, such as Chatham Township eroding our hale fiscal position through new taxes under a max-the-tax policy, and undermining homeowners and the value of our homes. In all, our campaign opponents are too far left for most Chatham Township residents. Belying their calls for inclusion, collaboration, and non-partisanship, our opponents and their small cohort of vocal supporters in social media and elsewhere have fomented combative discourse in our community. Theirs is a highly partisan, resentful agenda.
What Mark Hamilton and I stand for would *help all Chatham Township residents, including our Seniors.* Contrary to our opponents’ libelous smear that ours is a far-right position, Mark Hamilton and I are well within the right-of-center mainstream. Our suburban, bucolic community merits protection from unwelcome, high-density urbanization through Affordable Housing mandates. Chatham Township homeowners deserve to have their local government protect their property values.
On November 5th, we ask that you cast your vote to keep the Township Committee focused on the right track: keeping Chatham Township a great place to live, raise a family, and retire. Vote for Mark Hamilton and me.
Sincerely, Rez Estevez