Town Editor

Thumb_4421559c31dddfecae6e_img_0076_internet_ready
Jackie Lieberman
908-279-0303

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Westfield's Mayoral Candidates Face Off at Forum

October 24, 2013 at 11:27 PM

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield candidates for mayor and ward council seats sounded off Thursday night at a forum sponsored by The Westfield Leader in conjunction with TV36. Lauren Barr of The Leader moderated.

The event culminated in a debate between the mayoral candidates; Republican Mayor Andy Skibitsky, who is running for a third term, and current Councilman Dave Haas, a Democrat.

Candidates were asked about the increase in tax appeals—Haas said he would like to ask the county to do a tax evaluation of homes in all of the towns, so that Westfield’s taxes were not increased unfairly.

Sign Up for E-News

Asked if he thought budget hearings and other committee meetings should return to public forum, Haas answered an emphatic, “Yes.” He also said that he would like liaisons to report to town committees, and publicly.

Skibitsky countered, “If you look at my record, I’m probably the most transparent mayor we’ve ever had.” He pointed out that he gives a yearly Power Point budget presentation and said that few residents come to it because “They trust us.”

Asked if he would officiate at weddings for gay couples, Skibitsky answered, “Today I performed Westfield’s first gay marriage."

Haas told the crowd he looked forward, if elected, to performing same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Both Haas and Skibitsky said they would not like to see red-light cameras installed in Westfield.

They spoke about Westfield’s preparedness for storms like Hurricane Sandy and the purchase of the mobile command center:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIJFIi3l3pc

Asked about term limits, Haas said he favored the tradition of two terms for mayor. “We need people who bring new energy, new ideas.” He spoke about the toll that the job takes, and said that Skibitsky missed 25 percent of town council meetings this year.

Skibitsky answered, “I’m opposed to limiting their choices in any way.” He said that Haas had missed10 percent of meetings, and that he sometimes missed meetings because he was attending to town business.

On the cost of the town’s legal fees, Skibitsky said that the town pays a competitive rate. Haas countered, “We don’t know if we get a good price because we’ve never requested proposals.”

Asked if the town should fight to lower county taxes and possibly secede from Union County, Haas said that town should try to get more back from the county by applying for more grants and appoint a liaison to the county freeholder board who would report back to the council.

“I am the liaison to Union County,” said Skibitsky. He said the town’s relationship with the county has improved under his leadership and added that, since he was elected mayor, “we’ve received $3.3 million in grants.”

In his closing statement, Has said there should be a clearly stated need for any capital purchases, that he will work for a one-seat ride on the Raritan Valley train line during peak hours, that he will join Mayors Against Illegal Guns and that he will make sure that firefighters have what they need.

Haas added that he was opposed to the mid-block HAWK light and crosswalk on Central Avenue. He concluded by saying that he would change the time set aside for "residents’ comments" during town council meetings to “residents’ questions and answers.”

Skibitsky told the room, “I volunteer because I love this town.”

 “It takes a proven leader to ensure the town continues in the right direction,” said Skibitsky. He listed accomplishments since he became mayor including, recently, securing a commitment to a one-seat ride during “shoulder-peak” hours. He added that, though Haas argued with him now, his opponent had voted with him 99 percent of the time.

The entire debate will be available for viewing on TV36 and on The Westfield Leader’s website, www.goleader.com.

To learn more about the candidates, visit our Candidates Statements section by clicking here.

To read about the first ward candidate’s remarks, click here. To read about the third ward candidates' debate, click here. To read about the fourth ward candidates' debate, click here. Republican Vicki Kimmins, running unopposed for re-election in the second ward, was absent from the forum.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Letters to the Editor

Thank You for Keeping the Public Informed

May 13, 2016

A quick note of thanks to you and your writers for helping keep our community involved and aware. I especially appreciate your coverage of various town meetings that we usually don't ...

Read the Full Story »





Police Blotter

Officers Assaulted, Bikes Stolen & More

May 25, 2016

May 18, 2016 3:49 p.m. Mr. Justin L. Cunningham, age 29, of Foyer Street, Edison, NJ, was arrested at Westfield Police Department headquarters on the strength of one outstanding warrant issued by ...

Read the Full Story »



Columns


In the Schools

Westfield Parent Workshop Weighs in on Body Image

“Raising Kids with a a Healthy Body Image” was the focus of Roosevelt Intermediate School’s Coffee with Counselors on May 18, the last in a series of parent workshops planned for ...

Read the Full Story »



Liz on Theatre

‘A Song at Twilight’ Shimmers on Shakespeare Theatre Stage

MADISON, NJ – There’s never been anyone quite like Noel Coward for wit and wisdom in equal measure, as so beautifully rendered in the opening production of The ShakespeareTheatre’s ...

Read the Full Story »



Lindabury Legal Corner

Relocating Out of State With Children After Divorce

For those divorced individuals who ultimately remarry, the median length of time to until their second marriage tends to be approximately four years. Second marriages can sometimes have the ...

Read the Full Story »


Lost in Suburbia®

The Itsy Bitsy Bedmate

One morning as I went to make the bed, I peeled down the covers to smooth out the sheets and saw something very disconcerting.  There, on my side of the bed, about halfway down, was a large dark ...

Read the Full Story »


Westfield Area Y

Finding the Right Day Camp for Your Child: Tips for Parents

The Westfield Area Y understands your top priority is your children. Choosing a summertime program is something that needs to be considered carefully as camp provides a wonderful opportunity for ...

Read the Full Story »


SERVPRO - Helpful Tips Regarding Fire & Water Clean Up & Restoration

Summer Home Maintenance Tips for Your New Home

With summer just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to start preparing your new home for the warmer months. From saving money on your electric bills to giving your home’s ...

Read the Full Story »


Rivero CPA

Some Guy Told Me ...

As a CPA, I've run across some very creative tax rumors and crazy assumptions. Some favorites: "If you create your New Jersey business and incorporate in Delaware or Nevada, you won't ...

Read the Full Story »


Keller Williams Realty: Real Life ... Real People

Keller Williams Continues to Paint the Town Red

What use to be “Keller Who” has grown to be the largest Real Estate Franchise in the United States. Keller Williams is continuing to grow with over 139,000 associates and 790 market ...

Read the Full Story »


Point View WealthPoints

How to Ride on the Roller Coaster of… Bonds?

The fixed income allocation of a diversified portfolio should be created to provide capital preservation to counter the volatility of stocks in the portfolio. Yet, despite most attention given ...

Read the Full Story »