As a lifelong Franklin resident and fellow taxpayer, I understand the importance of keeping our Municipal Tax Rate as low as possible while keeping our level of services to our residents high. This is why I am proud to run with a team of candidates that has kept spending below 2009 levels for seven straight years, and Municipal Tax increases to less than 1% on average since 2016 with a ZERO percent Municipal Tax increase in 2017. With my private sector record of developing proven cost-saving practices, many times through the use of technology, I intend to build upon this record and to be a leading advocate in continuing to ensure the responsible fiscal practices of our local government.
One way taxes stay down is through a strong commitment to Economic Development. I am committed to implementing policies that will help address the increasing vacancy rates in our large office buildings and also advocate for a complete review of current zoning within our commercial districts so that the value of these districts are maximized to the fullest extent possible. I am also committed to the PILOT Agreement program when it makes sense for our taxpayers. In the right circumstances, PILOT payments are very beneficial to communities like ours. Rather than a commercial taxpayer putting off improvements and upgrades to their property, under these agreements improvements are made, revenue to the Township increases with yearly payments, and the tax burden on our residential taxpayers goes down.
Transparency is another area where the Township has made great strides and I would like to continue to improve upon. The current Mayor and Council implemented a wide ranging policy to open up our Township Government as broadly as possible. Council Meetings and Board Meetings are now televised. The budget is available online. As a Commissioner on the Sewerage Authority I strongly advocated for the televising of the meetings of this Board which will now begin in February. By appointing people to Boards that are under the jurisdiction of Township Government who share this commitment, we will continue to expand transparency which we can agree is in the best interests of all Township residents.
While finances, economic development, and transparency are some of the most commonly cited topics in local government, there are many other issues that need to be addressed as well. For example, I was a leading participant in the successful effort to revise the snow removal ordinance in order to ensure private communities maintain passage during storms to protect both residents and first responders. I also helped resolve a delay in the addition of lights on Schoolhouse Road and have been actively pushing for a registration for security cameras/camera doorbells to assist the police in investigating crimes in neighborhoods more efficiently. These may seem like small issues to some, but to those individuals whose lives may be saved or whose property can be better protected, these are critical improvements and an example of what new perspectives and creative thinking can achieve.
Additionally, I have a real concern about the negativity, distortion of truths, misstatement of facts, and overall poisonous political climate that seems to have become standard at the National level seeping into the public discourse of our community. It is critically important that candidates for Public Office and ultimately Elected Officials not only understand the functions of government but also take responsibility for the accuracy of their statements. One need look no further than some of the baseless accusations that have been leveled in this campaign about improvements to Township services being illegal when they are not, to financially beneficial agreements harming taxpayers when they do not, to promising to implement actions upon independent agencies which you have no authority to do, and worst of all undercutting public confidence in our emergency response system which could potentially endanger the safety and lives our residents all for political gain. To me this is unacceptable and if there is only one message I can get across it is that if our residents entrust me to hold the Ward 2 Council position, I will always study the issues, give them the facts and do my best to serve our community and our residents interests first.
Whether it is protecting Township finances, strengthening economic development efforts, increasing government transparency, protecting our citizens through the provision of second to none public responders and a strong State regulated local Office of Emergency Management, improving efficiency of services like increasing the speed with which we can clear Township streets through GPS tracking technology now being installed in our public works trucks or keeping new development down while increasing open space and recreational opportunities for our Seniors and our young people, these are the thing that make a town, a community. I am convinced that Franklin’s best days still lie ahead and that is why I wish to serve on the Township Council so that I can help take our community to even better heights in the years to come.
If anyone has any questions, please call me at (732) 649-8963, e-mail me at email@example.com, or learn more about me at willgaltieri.com. I am also on Facebook (Will Galtieri) and on twitter @wgaltieri