Elections

Candidate Statements

Scott Siegel - Candidate Statement

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My opponent talks about stable taxes, smart budgeting, against future development and increased transparency. He fails on all four. 

From 2011 to 2016 only 3 of the 22 governmental units in Somerset County have raised taxes higher than Franklin Township. Statewide, towns that have recent financials online we rank in the bottom 23% over the same time period. If you exclude Sandy hit towns, we fall to the bottom 15%. Under his party, we are currently 20% over the requirement for affordable housing, the main source of overdevelopment. Worse yet for taxpayers like ourselves most were constructed using one-time PILOT payments (Payment in Lieu Of Taxes). Although these payments plugged budget gaps they are not making payments for the next 10-20 years, meaning that taxpayers like ourselves are forced to make up the difference in higher taxes. 

In terms of transparency, I have fought for the past 2 years to make us fiscally transparent by having our Fire Departments and Library financials online. 

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My opponent has talked about using GPS on plow trucks as a solution to disasters like Superstorm Sandy. I believe this is illegal in New Jersey. In 2011 GPS was installed on plows but never activated. This is because it interferes with our State Police radio system. 

In Hoboken where I lived before moving here we were fined $4 million by New Jersey for not submitting to the State's early retirement system. I, on another hand, have a detailed, comprehensive emergency plan on my website.

My background would make me a unique fit for the Council. With over 30 years of experience in Municipal Finance, I am not running as a Republican, but as a Taxpayer Advocate, something we desperately need. While my opponent talks of stabilizing taxes, I have developed a 9 point plan to reduce your taxes at no cost. The first part of my plan is to speak to the other 18 Somerset County towns that have much lower tax increases to get even more ideas.

Another area is to tackle the unethical and corrupt Play to Play scheme that robs taxpayers. Over the past few years, the Council has issued a series of no-bid contracts for mundane items like benefits (where we could get a dozen bids) and athletic construction where we could get dozens of bids. 

Another example is wasteful spending. We are currently wasting $500,000 on a concession stand in Middlebush Park. I have argued for 2 years for food trucks that through a permit system would have made the Township money. They wasted $250,000 on a useless appeal of a digital billboard that was decided on a 1st Amendment basis and is currently spending almost $80,000 on an emergency radio tower. During Superstorm Sandy our local radio station WCTC broadcast emergency alerts every 15-20 minutes, our school system will call you if an emergency occurs by giving them your phone number and you can text 08873 to 888777 (NIXEL) and get updates on things like road construction, closures, crime, etc. In a real emergency like a flood warning your smartphone will light up like a Christmas tree. The best thing is that all of these are free. Finally, they spent 3-4 times as necessary on a mail system that 10X less efficient than a high-speed commercial printer.

Another issue that concerns me is bringing our township website into the 21st century. You should be able to fill out all forms online and simply click submit. My opponent on one side of his mouth spoke of hacking concerns and on the other side boasted that you can pay your Sewage Authority bills online. Which is it?

Speaking of transparency, unlike my opponent I have a detailed website: www.scottfor2ndward.com. Here you will find my complete 9 point plan in great detail as well as other issues. You can review the 3 spreadsheets under the banner of Tax Levy Comparisons, review the Prasad emails and please take a look at my ballot referendum on returning Franklin Township to nonpartisan elections that we had for over a Century. Our School Board and Fire Department operate this way with no political party listed and both are bipartisan. This is important if are an Independent voter since under the current system you have no ability to run against the major parties. By signing the online petition you would be on equal footing with the larger parties.

In the last local election, only 21% of Township voters went to the polls. This November 7th make your voice heard and vote!

My opponent talks of stable taxes, smart budgeting, against future development and increased transparency. He fails on all four. 

From 2011 to 2016 only 3 of the 22 governmental units in Somerset County have raised taxes higher than Franklin Township. Statewide, towns that have recent financials online we rank in the bottom 23% over the same time period. If you exclude Sandy hit towns, we fall to the bottom 15%. Under his party we are currently 20% over the requirement for affordable housing, the main source of overdevelopment. Worse yet for taxpayers like ourselves most were constructed using one-time PILOT payments (Payment in Lieu Of Taxes). Although these payments plugged budget gaps they are not making payments for the next 10-20 years, meaning that taxpayers like ourselves are forced to make up the difference in higher taxes. 

In terms of transparency, I have fought for the past 2 years to make us fiscally transparent by having our Fire Departments and Library financials online. 

My opponent has talked about using GPS on plow trucks as a solution to disasters like Superstorm Sandy. I believe this is illegal in New Jersey. In 2011 GPS was installed on plows but never activated. This is because it interferes with our State Police radio system. 

In Hoboken where I lived before moving here we were fined $4 million by New Jersey for not submitting to the State's early retirement system. I, on another hand, have a detailed, comprehensive emergency plan on my website.

My background would make me a unique fit for the Council. With over 30 years of experience in Municipal Finance, I am not running as a Republican, but as a Taxpayer Advocate, something we desperately need. While my opponent talks of stabilizing taxes, I have developed a 9 point plan to reduce your taxes at no cost. The first part of my plan is to speak to the other 18 Somerset County towns that have much lower tax increases to get even more ideas.

Another area is to tackle the unethical and corrupt Play to Play scheme that robs taxpayers. Over the past few years, the Council has issued a series of no-bid contracts for mundane items like benefits (where we could get a dozen bids) and athletic construction where we could get dozens of bids. 

Another example is wasteful spending. We are currently wasting $500,000 on a concession stand in Middlebush Park. I have argued for 2 years for food trucks that through a permit system would have made the Township money. They wasted $250,000 on a useless appeal of a digital billboard that was decided on a 1st Amendment basis and is currently spending almost $80,000 on an emergency radio tower. During Superstorm Sandy our local radio station WCTC broadcast emergency alerts every 15-20 minutes, our school system will call you if an emergency occurs by giving them your phone number and you can text 08873 to 888777 (NIXEL) and get updates on things like road construction, closures, crime, etc. In a real emergency like a flood warning your smartphone will light up like a Christmas tree. The best thing is that all of these are free. Finally, they spent 3-4 times as necessary on a mail system that 10X less efficient than a high-speed commercial printer.

Another issue that concerns me is bringing our township website into the 21st century. You should be able to fill out all forms online and simply click submit. My opponent on one side of his mouth spoke of hacking concerns and on the other side boasted that you can pay your Sewage Authority bills online. Which is it?

Speaking of transparency, unlike my opponent I have a detailed website: www.scottfor2ndward.com. Here you will find my complete 9 point plan in great detail as well as other issues. You can review the 3 spreadsheets under the banner of Tax Levy Comparisons, review the Prasad emails and please take a look at my ballot referendum on returning Franklin Township to nonpartisan elections that we had for over a Century. Our School Board and Fire Department operate this way with no political party listed and both are bipartisan. This is important if are an Independent voter since under the current system you have no ability to run against the major parties. By signing the online petition you would be on equal footing with the larger parties.

In the last local election, only 21% of Township voters went to the polls. This November 7th make your voice heard and vote!

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.

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