EDISON, NJ - Citing a total lack of investment in economic development, Edison Councilman Joe Coyle voted no on the 2018 budget proposal submitted by Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey.
“We can’t rely on budget gimmicks like spending all our tax surplus nor can we continuously increase taxes on our residents. We need a sustainable model for growth.”
The proposed $137 million budget would increase taxes by 1.40%. It represents the fifth straight year that taxes would be increased for the state’s fifth largest municipality. According to a presentation by Mr. Lankey, the Township’s tax base is at the same levels it was in 2008. Meanwhile Township records show that 100’s of residents have been placed on the tax delinquency list. “We are placing the burden on our struggling families and small businesses instead of marketing to recruit new business investments to offset our expenditures.” He pointed out missed opportunities along the route 1 corridor as well as the area neighboring Metro Park.
“I made several common sense proposals to direct money in the budget towards economic development. All were summarily rejected by the Administration” said Councilman Coyle. His proposals included hiring an Economic Development officer, setting aside a marketing budget, and implementing programs to increase the tax base. When asked by Mr. Coyle, the Township Business Administrator, Maureen Ruane admitted that zero dollars were allocated towards economic development or marketing.
“Across the state, townships, big and small, are trying to attract new businesses to increase ratables. It astounds me that the administration is not willing to spend a penny for this purpose” he added. In 2017, neighboring East Brunswick hired an Economic Development officer. Other towns, like Woodbridge, have introduced new programs like “Buy Local Woodbridge” which aim to give local businesses to grow. “All around us, towns are innovating. We have a great product which we refuse to market. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Mr. Coyle’s proposals would not have resulted in any spending increases. Instead he asked that certain expenditures be repurposed. “Out of a $137,976,743.36 million budget, ultimately I asked that we dedicate less than $100,000 to economic development for the remainder of this year. It was a reasonable request on behalf of taxpayers, but there was no movement by the administration.” Mr. Coyle plans to reintroduce his ideas later this year. “I’ll keep advocating for the taxpayer, hopefully my colleagues will initiate support and build a plan together.
(Editor's note: This is a verbatim press release submitted by Joe Coyle. The information it contains does not represent the opinion of TAPinto Edison and should not be construed as a regular news article).