I'm writing to heartily endorse Councilman Russ Huegel for re-election and Anthony "Coach" Carter for election to the Fanwood Borough Council. I also urge our residents to vote YES on the ballot question asking them to approve a bond issue by the state of $125 million for library repairs and maintenance.
Russ is a three-term Councilman who is experienced at budget matters and concerned about the ever-growing burden of the school tax on our residents, a tax that commands 60% of our total tax bill in Fanwood. As chairman of the Public Works Committee for six years, he oversaw millions of dollars in street and infrastructure repairs and was extremely accessible to the public about the disruptions some of those projects might have incurred. He currently chairs our Administration and Finance committee which makes decisions on how almost every dollar of taxpayer money is spent. He is honest and honorable with no hidden agenda.
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Anthony has a calling to public service. He has spent many years coaching various sports in our town to the benefit of thousands of young people, many of whom still call him "coach". He is a working man with a family who came up from hard times and earned two degrees and is a professor/lecturer at Rutgers University and other institutions.
As a lifelong electrical contractor, he has served as general foreman on many projects including the $8-billion restoration of rail service from Jersey City to the WTC after 9-11. As one of our Recreation Commissioners, Anthony's volunteer service has helped guide our town through many projects including the skate park, renovation of the LaGrande Park tennis courts, numerous events including the Easter egg hunt and the Party in the Park and pending improvements to Forest Road Park. Anthony seeks to bring his volunteerism to the next level by serving our town at the Council level.
Recent remarks by the Republican council candidate cry out for a response. So far, his main criticism of our governing body is that it's populated only by Democrats and that this implies some kind of nondescript, back-room political intrigue resulting in frequent unanimous "yes" votes. If the Republican candidate would show up at a regular council meeting once in awhile, he would know that is not true. We have plenty of disagreements over plenty of issues (three-way stop signs, the library renovation, and parking fees to name three). Everything this council has done in my five years of involvement has been done in public at multiple meetings (at least two a month in the Council chambers) and meetings held in community settings. Our residents wouldn't have it any other way and, oh yes, it's the law. Our mayor won re-election unopposed. Our last two council elections also saw no opposition to incumbents. I believe the voters of Fanwood vote for people, not parties, and our people have earned their places at the Council table.
Finally, the idea that the discussion about our library's restoration or expansion has been held behind closed doors shows sheer ignorance. Anyone who has a clue about what's gone on in our town knows that this has been discussed numerous times IN PUBLIC at our regular meetings, at a special meeting held in the Carriage House a year ago and at two public forums at the library itself at which the mayor and council members were present.
The library board's current expansion plan is very expensive for a small town, and so there's been concern in the Council over just how much taxpayer money should be spent on this resource. All eyes are on the voters on November 7th as they decide whether the state should issue $125 million in general obligation bonds for library repairs statewide. While it's true that New Jersey has a huge amount of debt already, this is a necessary investment in a resource that is a centerpiece in our town and others that citizens will see come back to them in many positive ways.
Please get out and vote on November 7th!