It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Watching how Summit’s Republican controlled Common Council has been operating on that principle, particularly as it pertains to a failure to stabilize property taxes compounded by questionable spending of Summit homeowner’s property tax dollars, is what is driving candidates Marjorie Fox, Matt Gould, and Beth Little to run for Common Council. If you’re looking for fiscally responsible candidates who are concerned about keeping Summit affordable, in part by stabilizing homeowner property taxes and growing our commercial tax base, Fox, Gould and Little are the only choice.

That is why Jim Bennett’s October 12 letter to TAP is particularly irksome. He states that the Republican candidates for Common Council are magically more capable of stabilizing property taxes while offering little other than Mr. Dietze’s membership on the Board of School estimate to support that claim.  He claims that Fox, Gould, and Little’s record on property tax stabilization is uncertain. Evidently he hasn’t bothered to read their campaign literature beyond picking out one “minor” idea—the creation of a business concierge for downtown, which may already exist, and determines this to be a sign of fiscal malfeasance.  Really? Based on our Common Council spending decisions, it’s the Republican Common Council members who have time and again shown fiscal malfeasance, voting to allocate money to hire consultants for parking studies that bear out what every Summit resident who has ever tried to park downtown between the hours of 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. could tell you is a challenge, or spending on new parking systems (I’ve lost count now how many) that are complicated to use. Of note, Mr. Wattick was the president of the Summit Taxpayers Association —where has he been while Council was voting on these outrageous and often redundant expenditures? 

Fiscally responsible Democrats? In a word, YES. Each has called out the decision by Common Council to spend $300,000 on cobblestones to pave the Beechwood area business district. A decision that Summit’s downtown business owners are opposed, and our own public works department would attest to the added difficulty in clearing snow from cobble-stoned streets. 

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Those who attended the Summit Candidate’s Forum on October 12th heard the candidates address the unfair tax burden on Summit’s residents as it relates to our share of property taxes that go directly to Union County.  This isn’t new and won’t be resolved by attending Union County Freeholder meetings to complain. Wattick’s proposed solution to losing our state and local tax deduction if Trump’s tax reform passes is to pressure Union County to lessen Summit’s tax burden. Good luck with that—where’s their incentive? Mayor Radest has been successful in bringing some of those taxpayer dollars back to Summit in the form of grants from Union County.  Fox, Gould, and Little’s platform calls for actively seeking more funding from Union County. And, like it or not, Union County might feel more favorably toward a Summit Common Council that favors more Democratic representation.

The saying, “All politics is local,” has never been more resonant than what we are witnessing in 2017.  On a local level it’s best to view policy from an “independent” lens and vote for candidates who balance needs vs. wants with an eye toward fiscal responsibility.  For this reason, I am supporting the team of Fox, Gould, and Little for Summit’s Common Council.

Judith Knott