This week’s column is an interview with Council President Derryck White
Q: You have a reputation as being South Plainfield’s hardest working councilman. Why is that?
White: Everyone on the council works hard. I think the key is making sure that effort translates into results. That’s accomplished by being an active participant in the community, listening and responding with appropriate actions, which makes a positive impact.
Q: What do you think are South Plainfield’s most pressing issues?
White: Keeping South Plainfield affordable, while investing more in our hometown is a top priority. This year, South Plainfield is experiencing some of the greatest results since I have taken office. We adopted a budget with a modest municipal tax decrease and capital improvements are happening all over town. Some of the items we have been able to do while keeping taxes under control include the purchase of a new fire ladder truck, the installation of a traffic light at Woodland Ave. & Oak Tree Rd, Willow Park expansion, and the addition of lighting at Memorial Field. Just to name a few.
Q: Why is holding down taxes so important?
White: It’s a primary contributor to the quality of life for families today and helps minimize their financial pressures, whether it’s putting food on the table or the possibility of saving so their children can go to college. They can’t afford huge spikes in their property taxes which can gravely affect their ability to save. I know this all too well as my daughter Alexx is a sophomore at South Plainfield High School. The same goes for our senior citizens. They built this town and raised their families here. We need to make sure they can afford to stay here and enjoy the fruits of labor.
Q: The council’s part of the tax bill is $7.45 lower than when the Democrats ran things in 2009. How did you do that?
White: We started with the 2010 & 2014 tax cut. Since then, the borough council has controlled spending and borrowing. For example, we brought our engineering services in house which saves taxpayers over $100,000 each year. In addition to engineering, our electrical inspections are now performed in house saving taxpayers an additional $90,000 a year. Ratables increase for the 3rd year in a row due to the new businesses that not only bring good-paying jobs, but also help hold down taxes. ShopRite, Raymour & Flanigan and biotech leader Genewiz are just a few examples of the new and expanding businesses opened in South Plainfield.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between you and your opponents?
White: In a word “experience”. My business experience has allowed me to manage a budget and I am accountable for motivating and leading others to help me meet our goals. I have been involved in international negotiations which have forced me to critically look at both long and short term outcomes through a risk benefit analysis. My mom taught me that experience is the toughest teacher…It gives the test first and then the lesson. My life experience and time on the council has taught me many tough lessons so the residents don’t have to learn them.
Q: Any final thoughts?
White: If you think South Plainfield is going in the right direction, Christine Faustini and I are asking for your support. I’m invested here, raising my family here and more than anything, I want to keep South Plainfield moving forward.