MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - Each week leading to the November 6 election, the candidates running for Mountainside Borough Council have the opportunity to answer question(s) that will be run in a series by TAPinto Mountainside.

The following answer is from Republican Candidate for Borough Council Rachel Pater for Week 2.

Week 1 Questions: Residents are concerned about rising taxes in Mountainside. The tax bill is made up of numbers from the County, School and Borough. The Borough's portion of the tax bill is the smallest. Many costs are out of the council's control with the rising cost of services and employee benefits. However, tax payers want to know how you will control the budget while maintaining and improving infrastructure issues and services and preparing for the future. Please explain your plan.

I'm glad you asked this question, because, as a new Councilwoman, I have to say that I was frankly amazed by how little of the 9 million dollar town budget the council actually controls. The majority of the money the town spends goes to contractually obligated pay increases, health benefits, utilities, and the Rahway valley sewer authority. Our “real” budget, the money we are actually responsible for, is handled with the utmost respect for our fellow taxpayers. In fact, due to the diligent work of the council, our municipal tax increase last year was just 0.6% of the average total tax bill in Mountainside, that’s $19 per household. I’ve also seen how exhaustively our team works to find as many applicable grants as possible-  which saved taxpayers $413,782 last year. We are also continually working to add to our portfolio of 17 shared services, keeping our taxes low and under control, while maintaining and building on the great level of service the Borough provides.