CALDWELL, NJ — Meet Sue Ann Penna, a five-year resident of Caldwell running for borough council in the upcoming election on Nov. 5.
Sue Ann Penna, an Admin by trade, attended Bloomfield High School and Montclair State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and sociology. She also minored in public administration.
Q: Why do you feel you deserve a seat on the council? What qualifies you for it?
A: I have the most experience of all the council candidates when it comes to redevelopment. Redevelopment will leave Caldwell’s downtown area unrecognizable, bringing in an influx of people, putting a strain on resources, make traffic a nightmare on Bloomfield Ave and the side streets, and will offer developers sweet deals in the form of PILOT programs to come in and build. Taxes will increase even more than they already have under the current administration. I also went through the scam of a parking deck construction project, which ended up costing Bloomfield taxpayers $25 million.
Q: What do you believe is the most important issue in this local election? How would you change it?
A: Redevelopment and the potential construction of a new parking deck. Redevelopment will be sold to Caldwell residents as an economic boom to the town. But the only ones who will see an economic boom will be the lawyers, developers and bankers, and those pushing for the lawyers, developers, and bankers. Developers will be given PILOT Programs (payment in lieu of taxes to lure them in to build). The big secret of PILOT programs is that none of the payments will go to the school portion of your tax bill. Taxpayers will have to absorb the cost of additional students in town. And, PILOT program repayments are based on the amount of money the property is bringing in, NOT on the assessed value of the property. Who wouldn’t love a deal like that? Imagine being able to pay your property taxes based on the amount of money your household makes instead of the value of the property?
Q: If elected, what would be your priorities in addressing the infrastructure deficiencies in the Borough of Caldwell?
A: Infrastructure is a made-up talking point by the Democrats. They are sitting on $963,000 of a $975,000 line item that was part of a $2.8 million bond from July 17, 2018. That money is there for repairs, yet it is not being appropriated for the any repairs.
All 4” water pipes have been replaced and the sewer system has been upgraded. From 1998 – 2006, democrats abandoned replacing water pipes because Democrat Mayor Paul Jemas decided an $8 million bond for a community center and parking deck were more important. A parking deck that was constructed with substandard materials, which continually costs taxpayers money to fix.
Now suddenly, infrastructure is the biggest issues the democrats have, yet, there were 3 democrats on Council last year, and none of them made a big deal about this issue until they needed it for a campaign talking point.
Q: What should people know about you that they might not know already?
A: I was a former democrat who worked for the Essex County Democrat machine. I believed the democrat party was the party of the people. The party that served the underserved. But I learned that they are the party that serves themselves. Everyone is just a means to their ends and your neighbors who are running on the democrat ticket will sell Caldwell out to redevelopment and to a new parking garage that will cost, I guarantee you, no less than $15 million. Your democrat neighbors running for town council will vote for tax increases and price you out of your own home, and they will tell you it’s a necessary reality. Voters have already seen the reality of a democrat controlled town council in the form of a 4.8% tax increase, a 21% increase in their water bill, and legal fees over $140,000, which are more than double than what they were all of last year.
Q: What else would you like to say about Caldwell? (The governing body, school system, business community, or otherwise?)
A: I have loved this community since I moved here and proudly call Caldwell my home. That is why I am running. I had to leave my hometown of Bloomfield because my taxes more than doubled under full democrat control of the Town Council. I do not want the same fate to happen to Caldwell.