To the editor:
As Moorestown gets back on our feet—even while some of us continue to be without power, including my family—we need to remember that the direction our country will be moving over the next four years will be decided next week as the election fast approaches. Regardless of your party affiliation, it’s important to take the time to vote for what you believe in so our country can move forward in a direction the majority of us want from our federal government. Hopefully that is for all Republican nominees in column 2, because we have to change the direction our country is heading, reinvest in small business and stop the ridiculous spending and debt from rising, which will ultimately harm our children’s ability to have families of their own, their own homes or build their own businesses.
On a local level, fortunately we have smaller issues to deal with, but property taxes are something that can make an immediate impact on our personal financial situations if controlled and reduced. For that reason, our team has talked to and met with thousands of township voters as part of our door-to-door networking program, during presentations we performed at numerous committees and organization events, and during numerous open-access events where we provided an opportunity for people to talk to us in person and candidly about what concerns them and enable them to ask our opinions on issues important to their families without a microphone present. That experience has been tremendous in enabling our team to better understand which issues are most important to our community and which require immediate attention versus being able to be deferred as secondary concerns. Without a doubt, reduction of taxes ranked first. Our team is ready, willing and capable of acting on each of the issues that have been put before us, with the underlying, consistent message that our goal is to control and hopefully ultimately reduce our current tax burden.
Critics can take stabs at each one of us individually, or attempt to blame us for other’s past decisions, but as a united team, we believe we complement each other’s abilities and we can contribute to making this town a better place to live for all its residents, whether they be Republican, Democrat, renters or homeowners. We know the issues, the budget and even minor components of it—like what we pay for open space per hundred—without needing to ask others. Our team will be one that uses professionals to support us, but not purely rely on their opinions without challenging them hard.
Although I respect each one of our opponents for willing to volunteer, which some would characterize as a thankless job, there are fundamental differences between our two teams. We have all seen and heard various video interviews this week that we, as a team, elected not to participate in. Not because we fear anyone or anything that would be asked of us, but because it simply didn’t make sense when we have spent the last eight months getting our message out and talking to folks face-to-face. Participating in interviews didn’t seem like a priority versus spending that same time reading thousands of pages of reports on issues that matter, reviewing our municipal budget and holding meetings with each of the current town councilmembers for their thoughts on township issues, meeting with township employees to understand the challenges they face and how we can improve them, meeting with every township professional we currently employ, knocking on an additional 1,000 doors and/or holding open public events that were designed to give back to all Moorestown voters.
Believe it or not, our team has already been working seven days a week developing plans to make our town better. The democratic candidates want to spend on solar, new lights, new parking, more redesign of town hall and a few other things, including using up to $250,000 of the liquor money for a Main Street manager. Our opponents have presented ideas for courts, which I would agree need to be decided on, but failed to understand one of the key reasons a decision has not been made. The governor has made it clear townships need to work together and share services. If we rush to create a redevelopment model downtown before at least investigating whether courts can be shared with adjacent towns, we risk the state pulling yet more funding in the future.
So what about liquor? Is it time to tap the keg and start a spend-a-thon? Not at all if you ask us. GNP wants to lock the liquor money up and invest it if possible, while we attempt to settle the $500 million in tax appeals at the state level, which could impact the township budget. Remember, our township income is based on taxes being collected on $4.6 billion in ratables. This is a massive issue that could not only eliminate the entire liquor windfall, but create further reductions in ratable income for years to come. Reductions in ratable income mean tax increases for those that remain.
With GNP, the township has the ability to elect a cross section of candidates that vary in age, experience and technical ability but that complement and support one another and that will be on the same page as current councilmembers. We don’t need new councilmembers coming in and challenging our incumbent members on decisions made long ago, which has already been the case with the “let’s revisit town hall” message coming from our opponents after $4 million has already been spent. I would be the first to say I did not agree with demolishing the old town hall and believe we could have renovated it instead, but I am not that far removed that I think we should derail the direction previous councils have laid out.
I believe my role as an incoming councilman would be to manage the decisions the current council is making, control costs for construction and not allow them to exceed current budgets. If that means pushing back on a contractor’s request for a change order, I’ve spent my entire life doing that and consider myself an expert in that arena. That being said, not every councilmember needs to be an experienced professional engineer and/or contractor with experience in almost every facet of our municipal capital needs—but it may be nice to have one. The same applies to a technology expert with a youthful opinion of how technology can be applied to make our township more user-friendly, in addition to having a councilman who has spent countless years working on township committees, the RAC and “gets it,” versus one whose priority is to install solar panels.
The GNP team has been working hard to build relationships with our elected officials in the event we need to call on them for support, all the way from the governor and lieutenant governor on down to our county officials. One of the keys to our town receiving benefits is maintaining strong relationships with county, state and, in some cases, federal officials so we can call on them when we need them. Our team has been with our elected officials at dozens of events for a reason. Each one of them knows what we stand for and has offered their support to us and our town going forward however they can.
In summary, and like my co-candidates Phil Garwood and Victoria Napolitano, I am extremely proud to be a Moorestown resident and have my family reside in this community and attend our fabulous school system. I can assure you I will work hard for our community and make decisions that are fiscally conservative, but at the same time do not strangle our town's ability to stand out as a great place to live. Thank you for all your support in the past and going forward.
Moorestown Republican council candidate
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