The COVID-19 pandemic has touched nearly every facet of life here in Summit. Together, we are doing our best to adapt and overcome these frequently changing and tremendously challenging times. While health and safety remain of paramount importance, we must remain hyper vigilant of our economic circumstances and future. 

That is why it was concerning to receive the 2020 Municipal Budget Snapshot this past weekend with “pre-COVID” figures featured throughout. An outdated financial outlook 8 weeks into quarantine does not garner much confidence in the pledge, “to adopt a budget with the most current information available [...] and greater public participation.” 

Our elected representatives must put transparency and inclusion at the center of Summit’s budget process. Especially in these difficult times, we need government to hear directly from residents and understand how our community is being impacted. 

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One recommended way to do so is for Common Council, alongside our excellent city staff, to host a dedicated budget workshop before the formal May 26, 2020 budget hearing. While a budget hearing allows residents to submit questions, this additional workshop would allow residents to hear firsthand the new assumptions we are operating under and open a much-needed discussion of the City’s financial priorities as we move through and ultimately out of this crisis. 

You may have questions of your own or share some of ours including:

  1. Will City reserves need to be drawn down to meet any anticipated shortfalls in revenue?

  2. Does the City expect a rise in delinquent property tax payments?

  3. How will the Broad Street West redevelopment and firehouse projects be impacted?

  4. Are there any reductions in state aid to the City, the Summit Public Schools, or Union County that may put pressure on property taxes?

  5. Have there been any discussions with our Board of Education to look for cost savings in the school budget that would not negatively impact our students?

Let's help our elected representatives and city staff navigate these difficult times while continuing to honor our traditions of transparency and inclusion. If you would like to join our call for a dedicated budget workshop, please sign our petition.

Eileen Kelly, Common Council Candidate - Ward I

Kirsten McCumber, Common Council Candidate - Ward II

Eileen Kelly and Kirsten McCumber are Republican candidates seeking election to the City of Summit Common Council.