The residents of New Providence deserve to know the TRUTH and the FACTS about their choice for Mayor
1. Commercial Ratables
Mr. Hern’s Claim: If elected, Mr. Hern claims to have a "secret plan" to encourage commercial development in New Providence.
The Truth: Mr. Hern claims that as a former Trenton bureaucrat only he has the expertise and ability to increase commercial development in New Providence. Yet for the past 6 years, as a member of the Borough Council, he has never successfully brought one new business to New Providence.
The Facts: Under Mayor Thoms, 21 new businesses have relocated or expanded in New Providence increasing our tax ratables by over $10 million.
2. Alternative Recreation Plan
Mr. Hern’s Claim: Mr. Hern says he will have Union County purchase the unused Linde-BOC property on Mountain Avenue and turn it into an athletic facility resulting in no need to sell Oakwood Park.
The Truth: What Mr. Hern fails to tell us is the Countyrejected this idea over three years ago yet Mr. Hern continues to claim this is his plan and does not explain how he would make up the loss of over $400,000 in tax revenue.
The Facts: If in the unlikely event the County were to purchase this property, New Providence would lose over $400,000 a year in property tax revenues that have to be made up by our residents unless essential services were eliminated.
3. Fiscal Management
Mr. Hern’s Claim: Mr. Hern says only he has the expertise to deal with our budget challenges.
The Truth: In 2009, Mr. Hern proposed some "Trenton-style" gimmicks to balance our budget, including using our surplus for current operations and deferring required pension payments. As always happens with these gimmicks, the taxpayers would eventually pay for his slight-of-hand. His way to deal with his gimmicks was to institute a significant tax increase, as well as impose a sewer tax, in 2011 (the year after the mayoral election). Mr. Hern’s proposals would have resulted in an 18% tax increase for New Providence residents.
The Facts: Under Mayor Thoms, the Borough Council rejected these gimmicks and formulated a budget that dealt with the present fiscal crisis and put New Providence in a better fiscal position for 2010 and beyond.
4. Alleged Waste and Inefficiency in Borough Operations
Mr. Hern’s Claim: Mr. Hern claims Borough government is riddled with waste and inefficiencies.
The Truth: While Mr. Hern has made these charges in his campaign, it is contrary to his actions. During the Borough's 2010 budget hearings, Mr. Hern did not recommend any changes in Borough operations and voted in favor of the 2010 budget without comment.
The Facts: Under Mayor Thoms 2010 spending was $150,000 lower than 2009 levels and the Borough continued the same level of services with 5 fewer employees. Neighboring communities requested renewed shared service discussions with New Providence based on its efficient operating model.
5. "High Density Housing" Development on Mountain Avenue
Mr. Hern’s Claim: Mr. Hern claims Mayor Thoms is in favor of high density housing on Mountain Avenue.
The Truth: While Mr. Hern has made these charges in his campaign he does not offer any facts to support this claim. In his fight to challenge the Lutheran Social Ministries (LSM) proposed development of a continuing care retirement community Mr. Hern did not attend a single LSM presentation to get the facts nor did he attend a single Zoning Board meeting to hear LSM’s proposal.
The Facts: Mayor Thoms did support LSM’s proposal for a continuing care retirement community that included assisted living, a health facility and respite care. The project would have brought an estimated $1.4 million annually to the Borough and School budgets with no impact on the schools as well as employment opportunities for our residents and economic assistance to our downtown merchants.