For the past four years, I have proudly served the residents of the 3rd Ward as their councilman. This November, I will ask those residents for the opportunity to represent them once again, so I can continue working to keep Westfield one of the most desirable towns in New Jersey to purchase a home and raise a family.
During my first term, I have worked closely with the mayor and my fellow council members to strengthen Westfield’s financial position. My auditing and financial background has been a valuable asset during my time on the finance committee as we have maximized our use of very limited tax dollars. The town receives only 17 cents of every tax dollar, yet for the past three years we have improved services and kept our tax increase below the two percent levy cap, without using any of the allowable budget exceptions.
The fiscal prudence of the Finance Committee has resulted in Westfield being one of only 17 municipalities in New Jersey to achieve a AAA bond rating. That places Westfield’s financial strength in the top three percent of municipalities statewide. The AAA bond rating has allowed the town to borrow money and refinance debt at very favorable interest rates, resulting in direct tax savings for residents.
As a member and now chairman of the public works committee, I have led a focus on quality of life issues that directly benefit residents. We have increased our budget allocation for road improvements and have paved portions of 36 different streets the past two years. We have hired staff and invested in equipment for the Public Works Department, which has enabled us to quickly fill potholes, improve the landscaping at town parks and fields, and plant 500 trees last year.
At the conservation center, we expanded recycling opportunities, made mulch and firewood available to residents, began selling mulch to landscapers, and identified operational efficiencies that have resulted in a decrease in the permit fee from $70 to $50. Our comprehensive review of snow plow planning and operations in the blizzard of 2016 Report has yielded noticeable improvements in snow plowing and communications with residents.
I am running for another term as 3rd Ward Councilman because I look forward to working with the mayor and council to build upon our successes of the past four years. My focus for the next four years will include implementing the recommendations of the Downtown Task Force, improving pedestrian safety, completing the Mindowaskin Park restoration for its 100th anniversary celebration and advocating for expanded one-seat ride service to New York.
For the past four years, I have met with many residents, listened to their concerns and sought out solutions. I will continue to walk our neighborhoods and meet residents where they are most comfortable, on their doorstep. As your Councilman, my commitment has been and will continue to be on maintaining the charm of Westfield and keeping it one of the best places to live in New Jersey.