The residents of Westfield’s first ward have twice granted me the privilege of serving as their representative on the town council. This November, I will ask them for the continued opportunity to serve as their councilman.
Together with Mayor Skibitsky and my council colleagues, I have helped Westfield achieve our shared local community goals of safe and attractive streets, sound spending and fiscal management and principled and responsive leadership. If re-elected, I will maintain my focus on the issues that most directly affect Westfield, rather than those that are principally the responsibility of our elected officials in Trenton and Washington.
As a member and then chair of the town council’s finance policy committee, I helped Westfield to earn and maintain a AAA bond credit rating, one of only 17 municipalities in New Jersey so rated. This saves residents hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest on the cost of road paving projects, public safety and public works equipment, the dredging of Mindowaskin Pond and other capital improvements. In addition, among other upgrades during my tenure, we have hired additional public safety and public works professionals; purchased new fire trucks, snow plows and a police mobile command center; and planted more trees and improved our parks. All this while limiting annual property tax increases to less than two percent, in recent years without resort to any state permitted “exceptions,” use of the “cap bank” or other gimmicks.
As a member of the Westfield Planning Board and the Board of the Downtown Westfield Corporation, and as the chair of the Westfield Tree Preservation Committee, I have devoted substantial time and effort to enhancing both the present and future of our town, to protecting and preserving our quality of life and to keeping Westfield one of the most desirable places to live and raise a family. Based upon our ever-increasing home values, these efforts have worked.
Although Westfield is in better financial and physical shape today than it was when I first took office, challenges remain. Our downtown, while still successful, faces a changing nationwide retail paradigm, and must sensibly evolve into a more vibrant and contemporary commercial district. I will help guide that evolution by using my ample local government experience, the knowledge obtained from managing my own small business and my quarter-century of professional work assisting small and mid-size businesses to overcome their financial challenges.
Pedestrian safety can always be improved, and innovations like the HAWK traffic lights on Central and North Avenues should continue to be considered. Finally, Westfield must prudently manage the affordable housing obligation imposed upon it by state law, and I vow to use my knowledge and experience to do so.
By continuing to work with Mayor Skibitsky, the other members of the town council and my fellow residents, I know that together we can and will meet the challenges that lie ahead and keep Westfield both financially secure and a wonderful place to live.