One of the reasons I entered public service is that, as a business executive, I am of the belief that all levels of government must relentlessly pursue cost efficiencies in the delivery of their respective services. To that end, my philosophy since becoming Mayor has been to “do more with less.” We have done just that.
Since I became Mayor, the council has responsibly reduced the Town’s workforce by 20%. That means that Westfield taxpayers are paying less for Town employees today than they were in 2006. I worked closely with all five collective bargaining units, so that each unit responded to our taxpayers’ needs in negotiating their contracts. All the while, we have continued to improve town services. Under my leadership, the council has sought additional support at the State and Federal levels, securing over $3.3 million in grant monies, and saving over $180,000 by refinancing our bonds.
In addition to managing a tight budget, we have continued to improve the quality of life in Westfield. We became the first Town in the state of New Jersey to successfully establish a “Quiet Zone” at the Rahway train crossing. We stopped construction of a 150 foot cell tower in a residential neighborhood. We’ve implemented numerous traffic safety improvements, particularly around school zones, and have made shopping in Town more convenient with 15 minute free parking at street meters and by adding over 128 parking spaces for shoppers. I was the first mayor in Union County to set up a meeting with NJ Transit and our state elected officials, which resulted in a commitment from NJ transit for some one-seat train rides into Manhattan beginning this coming Spring--an important step in full direct train service into Manhattan. My opponent’s claims that I removed the Town from Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC) is simply not true. In fact, Marty Robbins, an RVRC trustee member, commended “the initiative of Westfield’s Mayor Andy Skibitsky,” in an August 9, 2013 article in the Alternative Press.
I have also worked with the Council to ensure that Westfield plays its part in protecting the community beyond our borders. Our “Green Team” has been working hard to make the Town more environmentally sustainable. We have installed solar panels on the Library, instituted Town-wide clean-ups and expanded recycling options and educational initiatives, Recently recognized nationally for our “Re-scaping the Suburbs” local initiative to encourage homeowners to incorporate native greenery into their landscapes.
We could not have accomplished so much without input from our residents. During my Saturday Morning Office Hours, I have met with hundreds of residents who share my passion for ensuring the Westfield remains a great place to live and raise a family. I have encouraged residents to keep informed with an updated, user-friendly website and through the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
If re-elected, I vow to continue to scrutinize every line item of our budget while improving municipal services and considering the long-term interests of Westfield residents. I thank you for allowing me the chance to serve as your Mayor, and I ask for your vote on November 5th.