Patch asked each of the four candidates running for a seat on the Little Silver Borough Council to tell voters a little bit about himself and to answer a series of questions outlining his thoughts on issues facing the borough.
We are running the profiles throughout week. Next up: Dan Levine, the former borough council president who lost his bid for mayor last year, is running for one of the two, three-year terms up for grabs in November.
My wife Ellen and I have been married for 49 years. She is a retired Eatontown teacher.
We have resided in Monmouth County for 46 years and in Little Silver for 43 years. We have two children, a son, and daughter. They currently reside in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Both children have gone through the Little Silver School system as well as Red Bank Regional High School. I own and operate Little Silver Community Hardware Store in Little Silver for 35 years.
Little Silver Councilman (2008-2011) Chairman of the following L.S.Organizations:
- Finance Committee
- Board of Health
Member on the Board of Directors, Two Rivers Water Reclamation Authority.
- The Authority serves 13 towns with annual budget 14.3 million dollars and has 39 employees.
- My service included: Treasurer, Finance Committee
Served on the Fort Monmouth Restoration Advisory Board.
Served on the Monmouth County Work Investment Board.
1. Why are you running? What do you feel are the top challenges for Little Silver's governing body?
As a business owner I talk to a lot of Little Silver residents. I hear their frustration about the property taxes that we pay in this town. During my previous term on the borough council, I feel I made a difference. I tried to approach the issues that came before us from the perspective of what made sense for Little Silver. I believe that partisan politics have no place in community elections. The issues confronting our town aren’t specific to us; property tax levels, appropriate levels of municipal services, and balanced growth. However, the solutions we arrive at together should reflect what is in the best interests of current and future Little Silver residents.
2. Town governments are under increasing restraints due to budget caps and growing fixed costs. What would you do to keep budget growth down while keeping services stable or enhanced?
Not only are town governments under restraints, the average taxpayer is too.
It is very important that Little Silver adopts a fiscal responsible philosophy. These times demand that we can not have a “business as usual” attitude.
- First, a review of all pending discretionary spending should be conducted with an “Is it still necessary?” and “Can we afford it?” approach.
- Review replacement hiring for retirees. (Attrition)
- Consider using part-time employees and volunteers in place of hiring full time employees whenever possible.
- Major purchases of goods or equipment should be reviewed by the finance committee prior to any action.
- Make a concerted effort to acquire both state and county grants.
3.The Seven Bridges Road project has been a headache for drivers and required police participation to keep traffic, especially to schools, flowing. How can the governing body work most effectively with other governmental entities to schedule such projects with minimum inconvenience to residents? Is there anything officials could do to relieve increasing traffic congestion through town?
The Seven Bridges Road project is the best kept secret around. Information has not been forthcoming on a regular basis as to the current completion status. I think our Police Department is doing a commendable job on keeping an eye on the traffic flow. Many times I have worked with officials on the county level and found them to be understanding and cooperative with the needs of the municipalities. However, there seems to be a lack of transparency on this project from the borough council.
4. What can the governing body do to fill the proliferation of empty retail/commercial space in town? How crucial are ratables to the overall budgeting process?
Ratables are extremely critical to the budget process. It is the major source of income to the town. It’s so unfortunate for the homeowner in today’s economy that homes are being foreclosed. However, my understanding is that we are in OK shape with ratables. Although the council just removed another ratable from the books with the L.S. Municipal Complex Storage/Snack bar currently being built. The Exxon station is still owned by the Exxon Corp. and the property taxes are up to date. The Dweck properties were in litigation and a prospective buyer has come forward.
5. Local governments are under increasing pressure to share services wherever possible. Are there opportunities to cut costs by working with other towns that LS is currently not taking advantage of?
There were several missed opportunities we had with shared services. I think shared services should be looked at as an on going process. For instance, the Little Silver Municipal Court room could be shared with another town. The county is beefing up their police dispatch system which should be looked at to determine if it’s feasible for us to use. Oceanport courtroom is shared with Sea Bright, Rumson and Fair Haven share Public Works Departments , so it can be done.
6. Anything else you'd like to tell potential voters?
I believe there are several things that set me apart from the other candidates. I have a business in Little Silver that gives me a solid business background and makes me accessible to anyone in Little Silver. Communication is another area of importance. I have developed an e-mail communication network which I have received very positive comments on. In this troubled economy, the borough really needs to be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers. We really need to scrutinize all upcoming major expenditures and keep the municipal budget within reason.