NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Each week leading to the November 5 election, the candidates running for New Providence Borough Council have the opportunity to answer question(s) that will be run in a series by TAPinto New Providence.

The following answer is from Democratic Borough Council Candidate John F X Keane for Week 3.

Week 3 Questions: Residents are concerned about rising taxes. The tax bill is made up of numbers from the County, School and Township. The Township'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.

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The biggest opportunity to manage our budget in New Providence is through improving our relationship with Union County. Doing so would benefit New Providence in several ways.  

First, we spend about 20% of our annual budget with the County.  As a Council member, I will ensure that we are getting maximum value for this money. In addition, we will need to partner with the County to address pedestrian safety and increased traffic since the most heavily trafficked roads including Springfield Avenue and South Street are County roads.  Finally, the County can help address our needs through grants.

As a Council member, I will leverage my strong relationships with the County to benefit New Providence. We have had the same party managing our budget for over 50 years, a period during which many of us have seen tremendous increases in our property taxes.  In addition, the current Republican Council has not invested enough time to build relationships with Union County due to political differences.   

It is time to bring in a fresh perspective to improve relationships with Union County and find better ways to manage our budget.