CLARK, NJ  - “ I still walk in everyday with the passion, love, energy and desire to continue to work to make this town the best community possible in this state of ours,” said Mayor Sal  Bonaccorso during his open remarks at the Monday, January 6 Clark Township Reorganization meeting.

During his address, the mayor thanked the various members of his team, department leaders and their staffs and town employees for the hard work they do to keep things running day to day and for tending to the needs of residents. 

“I’m looking forward to the year to come, we do have a lot of work to do in this town, “said Bonaccorso.  “I have goals and objectives but never know what will be thrown in our laps.   He continued on to explain throughout his tenure as mayor there have been multiple times plans are derailed temporarily by mandates from the county or state and continued on to talk about a few of them.

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On the Rain Tax

Bonaccorso openly criticized the state government for passing legislation and then kicking it down to the local towns officials to collect.  He cited the recent passing of the Rain Tax in New Jersey early in 2019 as one example.  

He said the state likes to pass these things and leave it up to the local municipalities to figure out how to collect it.   Bonaccorso said he thinks the Rain Tax may become a reality in 2021 and that when it does he will seek the help of township attorneys to sue the state because he said taxing rain water run off on properties has to be illegal.

About the same tax, he said at a March Town Council, “I’m going to make you a pledge as your mayor, we may have to do this, but we’re going to be the last town in New Jersey to do it.”

On Affordable Housing

The mayor spoke about affordable housing, criticizing NJ legislator’s inability to do their job and allowing the control to end up in the hands of the courts.   He shared that in June he attended a Mayors’ Roundtable hosted by Governor Murphy.  

He said at that meeting Democrats and Republicans alike told the governor the affordable housing situation is a problem and that he needs to get it back in the hands of state legislators and out of the courts.   Bonaccorso said Murphy was not particularly responsive and has announced since that time that he wants more affordable housing in NJ.

Bonaccorso still believes this continued pace of building will lead to the overcrowding of Union County in the next couple of decades and potentially lead to strains on infrastructure. 

 With all that said, Bonaccorso said he believes Clark is in a good place because they didn’t ignore what was coming and settled on affordable housing with the state.  “We negotiated a number that is very good and we are going to have to live with it,” he said.   

Legalization of the Marijuana

Mayor Bonaccorso said he is not happy about the state’s decision to pursue the legalization of marijuana.  “I am not in favor of this,” he said.  Clark has not banned marijuana dispensary according to Bonaccorso but he plans to make moves toward it when it becomes legal in the state.

“The day they legalize marijuana in this state …I will come to this council and ask you to pass legislation preventing dispensaries in this community,” he said. “I don’t think we are ready for it, I don’t support.”

He closed his statement on the legalization of marijuana by saying he sees it as a cash grab and the state Democrats saying, “How much more money can we get to go spend?’

Conclusion

Bonaccorso rounded out the address saying Clark has some good development going on, public services that beat any in surrounding town sand is the slowest to raise taxes in Union County most years.   He assured residents that although Clark lacks state aid, the town is in great financial shape and “we don’t squander your money.”

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