As I mentioned last week in my letter on TAPinto, my letters from here until election day will expand on my campaign platform.
The central tenets of my platform are: 1) Scrub the Budget, 2) Develop Projects that Create New Revenue Streams and Enhance our Quality of Life, 3) Invite All Ward One Residents to Participate, 4) Insist on Answers from Union County, and 5) Tap into the Power of Youth and further outreach to Seniors.
I unveiled my 2017 Platform at my Fall Kick-off Event at Keith and Kathleen Hertell’s house on Sept. 17 and the Leader published it on Thursday, September 28th (pg. 5). Many folks have asked about Union County, so let’s start there.
What am I planning to do about Union County? 1) Insist on answers, 2) Meet quarterly with UC officials to ensure our tax dollars are spent wisely, 2) Advocate for our fair share of grant monies, and 3) Look hard at eliminating local/county services duplication in order to save money.
In his letter to the editor last week, Councilman Della Fera stated that Westfield is being “ripped off” by Union County. But he didn’t say what he was doing, or planning to do, about it. As noted above, my plans include quarterly meetings with the county to understand how our tax dollars are being spent, but even more importantly, to focus on getting as much money out of the county as possible. Is the current council applying for all the County grants for which we are eligible? When we are not awarded grants and our neighbors in Summit, Fanwood and Cranford are, do we ask where our application fell short? I did some research and confirmed in county documents that Westfield is not applying for all available grants. And further, a county official confirmed that there is no reason why Westfield wouldn’t be considered for all grants and receive awards in line with other municipalities who regularly apply ... which made me wonder: Who is really ripping us off?
Publicly criticizing county officials, who need to be part of the solution, is not part of my plan. I will never sit on the sidelines and accuse the county of ripping us off without taking action. Like I have outlined above, I will engage, ask hard questions and work diligently toward the goal of receiving more County investment in our town in the form of fields and parks, services and grants. I will ask UC to support our interest in exploring more shared services solutions. Westfield’s Regional Health Department, run by Westfield and servicing seven other towns, appears to work quite well. Duplicating successful cost-cutting projects like the Health Department should be a priority as should pursuit of all grant monies available, but I read only about our current council’s self-satisfaction with its past accomplishments, not about what they plan to do next.
If you would like to hear more, RSVP to one of my upcoming Meet and Greets on www.habgoodforwestfield.com.