South Plainfield -- Seeing the potential impact on South Plainfield’s quality of life that could come from the redevelopment of the abandoned Motorola complex on Durham Avenue, the team of Chrissy Buteas for mayor and Joe Lambert and Jeff Seider for council called on Mayor Matt Anesh to detail the discussions he has had with developers over the site.
In a May 2013 news report in the business magazine NJBiz, Anesh said he would sit down with developers over the future of the Motorola site. The trio also noted that a large sign at the site advertising a coming housing development at the site was taken down shortly before the campaign season began. They said Anesh needs to open up about the state of discussions, and detail where they stand.
They said after 6 years of Republican control, it’s time for Anesh to start taking responsibility for the issues facing South Plainfield, such as curbing the mounting traffic problem in the borough, as well as his deceptive budgets that are putting South Plainfield’s financial future in doubt.
“Once again, Mayor Anesh is trying to distract residents, hoping no one will notice his own work to meet with developers over the site, which would have a tremendous effect on our quality of life for years to come,” said Buteas. “The public needs to know what’s actually going on. Under Matt Anesh and the Republicans, there’s a serious lack of open government in South Plainfield. It’s time to pull back the curtains in Borough Hall.”
Buteas, Lambert and Seider said they were dubious to Anesh’s recent comments regarding development and traffic, noting that under his administration, new commercial development has taken place without the necessary improvements to protect against increased traffic.
Also, they pointed out that any projects undertaken outside public view and agreed to behind closed doors could mean children could be redistricted out of their current schools to make way for new students, or create the potential for property taxpayers to have to pay to build a new school altogether.
“The Republicans are pretty good at paying lip service to issues but then keeping the public blind to their follow-through,” said Lambert. “They claim to care so much about traffic, yet have approved development that has actually made it worse. Saying you’re opposed to something may make safe politics, but saying it while implementing policies that actually make things worse on a daily basis is just bad government.”
They further noted that while Anesh continually points to municipal property taxes during his campaign, he has not come clean with residents that the municipal budgets he has signed have been built on unsustainable, bad math. Costs have increased faster than revenues, requiring Anesh and the Republicans to raid emergency surplus funds and borrow to pay for other emergency expenses, rather than make hard decisions and live within their means.
“It doesn’t take a genius to know that borrowing and taking from emergency surplus will only come back to bite you,” said Seider. “Anesh likes to brag about how he’s kept taxes low, but he won’t explain how he’s tried to do it. He has been using short-sighted and frankly, dangerous, accounting to keep things afloat. But now he’s leaving the town vulnerable in cases of emergency, and failing to recognize fiscal realities. What’s more, when the checks come due, South Plainfield taxpayers are going to be in for very rude surprise.”
Buteas, Lambert and Seider called on Mayor Anesh to publicly brief residents on how we intends to balance future budgets with declining revenues and increasing costs.
“From development, to traffic, to borough finances and property taxes, Matt Anesh has been very good at playing in front of the curtain, then ducking behind it and doing things that will put our quality of life in jeopardy,” said Buteas. “We need to face the issues facing us now honestly and openly. It’s time to let the sunlight into the council chambers and the back rooms at Borough Hall. And that’s just what Joe, Jeff, and I will do.”