At the League of Women Voters debate this past Saturday, I was permitted to make an opening statement but not to answer questions directly as I am running unopposed. I wanted to share my remarks with the larger community:

I’m proud of what I’ve helped council accomplish these last three years.  Some examples include:

  • Achieving an average tax increase of under .5%

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  • Successfully navigating the budget impact of the Merck property sale while assisting in the successful transitioning of the sight to Celgene

  • Promoting a public/private partnership to fund a state of the art Recreation Center

  • Implementing creative solutions like the Uber commuter pilot program to tackle parking stress

  • Increasing transparency by revamping the city’s website, and writing my “What’s Going on in Summit” newsletters

  • And, leading a search team for our new city administrator, Michael Rogers

The city, however, continues to face many challenges, which is why it is so important to elect the best candidates.  Some of these are:

  • Keeping Summit as affordable as possible for all our residents

  • Implementing the new Master Plan and our Affordable Housing Settlement in an inclusive, consistent and transparent fashion

  • Balancing development opportunities, which provide additional tax revenue to fund city services, with concerns about affecting the city’s character

  • Prioritizing capital budget requests constrained by a finite amount of tax dollars

  • Negotiating property tax challenges with our two biggest tax payers

  • Parking

  • And, convincing Elizabeth and Trenton to reduce the undue burden placed on our taxpayers by the County’s spending and a broken school funding formula

I plan on helping tackle these and other challenges that almost certainly will arise by continuing to do two things:

The first is listening to the community.  Sounds simple, but it can sometimes be forgotten in the attempt to do what one thinks is the best for Summit.  It’s a discomfiting feeling when you realize that your brilliant idea is something the community has no interest in pursuing.  And of course, many brilliant ideas don’t come from council, they come from residents.

Secondly, I will draw upon my personal and professional experiences to be persuasive, collaborative and effective in implementing solutions to these challenges.  The skills learned thru those personal experiences like raising and educating kids, paying a mortgage, and working in the community in a variety of volunteer capacities are equally important as the professional traits acquired by managing people, drafting and achieving budgets, doing strategic planning and working with finite resources.  I’ve found there is no short-cut to learning thru experience.

In conclusion, Summit is a special City.  The best advice I received when I ran three years ago was “don’t mess it up”.  That’s the PG version!  I promise to do my best over the next three years to keep Summit the community that I’ve been so blessed to have been able to live in and raise my family in.

Thank you,

Mike McTernan

Note: Mike McTernan is current running un-opposed for reelection to the Summit Common Councilm Ward I