The editorial exchange between Councilman Frank Arena of Westfield and newly elected county freeholder, Kim Mouded has been a must-read for concerned Union County taxpayers. My take away so far is that Councilman Arena understands the ridiculous tax burden the county freeholder board imposes on us residents. Kim Mouded, on the other hand, is sadly not the breath of fresh air people had hoped for, but appears to be just the latest replacement gear in the 9-0 Democrat Freeholder tax and spend machine that has controlled the county from Elizabeth since the early 90s.

Frank Arena is doing his best to play David against the tone-deaf Goliath that is the freeholder board, attempting to restore power to the people of his town by refusing to give the county the money they’ve demanded. Meanwhile, Kim Mouded doesn’t see any issue with the $42 million-dollar levy imposed on her town of Westfield. In her first few weeks in office, I guess she doesn’t see the value in reducing the overlapping and likely redundant duties carried out by both the Sheriff’s Department and County Police or investigating ways the county Department of Public Works can do a better job of working with municipal DPW’s to reduce duplicate services or to better leverage each other.

Related: What if Union County Gov't Credited Property Taxes to Westfield?

Sign Up for E-News

It’s also clear that Kim isn’t interested in the value of bringing in private enterprise, and how much of a pivotal an impact that would have on the local economy. In New York, local Democrats scared away billions of dollars and tons of jobs when they ran Amazon out of town, here in Union County, Kim and the Democrats don’t seem to be faring much better to bring in new businesses that could help balance our county checkbook. In a town reeling from the loss of Lerner David, the addition of a new corporate resident would mean a lot to the taxpayers of Westfield, but with the county tax burden as it is, we just aren’t that attractive to new business.

Freeholder Mouded lauds the diversity of the freeholder board coming from different towns, ethnicities, races, religious backgrounds, etc. and that’s a great thing reflective of Union County. Unfortunately, that’s where the diversity ends with this board, as the approach to running county government is the same among all 9 members – no challenge or difference of opinion to the usual order of business and burgeoning taxes. I thought there could be a chance that Kim Mouded might break the mold of Chairman “Nick Scutari’s” wing of the Democratic party, but after her last editorial, she’s proven herself as more of the same, and that sucks for the rest of us county residents.

Joe Sarno
Scotch Plains, NJ
Former Garwood Councilman
2018 Republican candidate for Union County Freeholder