This is what we believe
We are elected to represent our residents. Without your constant feedback and input we cannot live in a strong and celebrated town. Our approach to representation is premised upon our ability to listen to your concerns, needs, and desires. Above all else, lending our ear to your voice is what influences every decision we make. Occasionally, decisions are difficult, particularly when conflicting voices are both speaking up. However, without listening to the various perspectives, we cannot achieve our goal of running a government that serves you.
Listening is one of those self-evident aspects of leadership that is so fundamental to the job that it usually is overlooked or goes unstated. But it’s essential to break things down into their simplest components when others seeking office so often and so blatantly overlook this core concept. Listening is more than merely appeasing the community and letting them have a voice. It’s about taking the time to understand the interests of our residents and taking the time to properly address and answer questions asked of us. We are always listening and strive to maintain an open dialogue above all else. There may be an occasional time when you disagree with us, but you will always have a seat at the table. In fact, we’d love to hear your feedback. Contact us and let us know your thoughts.
The current administration stated on January 1st that they would be raising taxes every year. They didn’t even consider other options because their record over the past several years has ignored fiscal conservation, instead raising taxes, electric rates, and spending whenever given the opportunity.
When running a government, we’re stewards of your tax revenue. Fiscal responsibility doesn’t always mean cutting taxes, especially when catastrophe strikes and balancing a budget requires drastic action. But raising taxes as a foregone conclusion is not a recipe for good stewardship, especially when that administration is talking about tax hikes for us while new developers in town can receive redevelopment tax breaks. That equation doesn’t make sense in a society where people like us are working harder just to break even. Raising taxes does not guarantee that future will be brighter for South River. Focusing on providing better, more efficient services to residents and business does. The current leadership has the script flipped.
Raising taxes should never be undertaken without careful consideration and without utilizing creative solutions to avoid placing additional burdens on residents. We will fight to ensure that tax increases are made only when completely unavoidable. And even then, we will do our best to explain the reasoning behind the decision and listen to suggestions by others.
In life, there’s a never-ending supply of wants, desires, and treats. Everywhere we turn there is a new way to spend money. Elected officials are chosen by the people because they put trust in them to use taxpayer money wisely and effectively. Put bluntly, running a successful town means saying “no” to a lot of wants, to ensure that our needs our fully addressed. Running a successful town means finding inefficiencies in order to expand services while costing residents less. Running a successful town means laying out a full plan and expense estimate (and researching possible challenges that may add costs) before breaking ground on a project—not after.
Our approach to governance differs from that of our opponents. They tax-and-spend, we serve residents. Making investments to ensure future success in the various departments is necessary. Embracing the most expensive solution to any problem this township faces is not. We strive to examine every spending decision from the perspective of a taxpayer and to develop creative solutions to cut waste while expanding services. The two are not mutually exclusive. It just requires vision and diligence.
We’re always striving to listen to your concerns and share a dialogue with you as representives of our community. The decisions we make directly impact you, which is why community input and involvement throughout the process is essential to their success. Transparency isn’t just about keeping residents informed. Transparency ensures that major decisions are properly planned and executed so to avoid surprises, unanticipated expenses, and obstacles along the way.
Frankly, the current administration keeps most of the major decisions they make somewhat secretive. The redevelopment plan lacks definition and substance for reasons unknown. The much needed firehouse lacks management and a vision. These are significant undertakings and lack transparency and community involvement. The lack of transparency here is costing residents financially and practically. Process is incredibly important to a project’s success and avoids pitfalls inevitable with secretive practices.
Our approach to everything begins with the question “how does this benefit residents?” Perhaps that sounds too simple or saccharine, but it helps guide us in our approach and reminds us of our duties. Currently, we believe that this town is imposing entirely too many code restrictions, fees, rules, and regulations that take away from the quality of life for you and your family. In addition, the recreation departments continue to raise registration fees for sports and summer programs that increase costs for active families and discourages program expansion.
The last time we held the majority, our party successfully implemented policy that rebuilt and rejuvenated all of the parks in town, despite our opponents telling us it couldn’t be done and would cost taxpayers money we did not have. After fixing them, we announced that not only would we not be raising taxes that year, but we would be lowering them. It wasn’t done through gimmicks or budget tricks either! Our approach was simple. We listened to the desires of residents who explained that park improvements would improve the quality of their lives. We developed a plan and implemented it. We worked with our partners at the county, state, and federal level, and secured the necessary funds.
A good idea is a good idea. Politics doesn’t change that. Unfortunately, our opponents are stuck in a mold of treating government like a business. Unfortunately, not everything of value to residents earns a profit and not everything that turns a profit is valuable to residents. Our approach is different: we treat government as a service to residents because we put residents first.
Deciding to open a business is one of the most difficult risks a resident or family can take. Politicians aren’t elected to run your business. They’re not elected to tell you how to change it. We’re here to get out of the way and to reduce frictions that make business success more difficult. Our first question we always ask is “How does this benefit residents?” The very next question we ask is “How does this benefit business?” Both of these questions are central to making our town business friendly. Without resident patronage, businesses struggle. Without coordinating and listening to our business community’s needs, businesses struggle.
South River has entirely too many restrictions that make running a business in town difficult. In 2015, the current administration raised the mercantile license fee, because, as explained, the privilege to run a business in town needs to support a town that also sees itself as running government “like a business,” as opposed to being business-friendly. Opening a business in town is not easy, nor is it centralized. It currently requires approvals from five separate departments and handing over more than $500 to the electric utility just for an opportunity to open up shop in town. We feel that this doesn’t make sense.
Our vision is entirely different. Government shouldn’t be run like a business—profit motive should never be the goal of a public entity! We believe government is a service to residents and business and every decision we make should stem from that perspective. We need to reduce fees and restrictions on businesses to allow them to be creative and stimulate the downtown streets. Any redevelopment proposal shouldn’t require businesses to pay even more to renovate their façades and storefronts. Our party is business focused and strives to listen to how we can make South River a better, more memorable place to live.
South River Strong
All of our policies are built upon the idea that in order to have a great town, we must embrace our South River roots, expand upon our strengths and proudly learn from our mistakes. Our town possesses a tremendous history that should be preserved and honored. However, nostalgia should not hold us back from embracing positive change in society.
Our view takes a balanced approach to adopting solutions. We should never be embarrassed of our past, we should stand tall and humbly with our historic success, and we should develop creative solutions that bridges our current challenges with our heritage. We do not need to change our values to mimic other towns. We’re South River!
Some tend to believe that you cannot be fiscally responsible while also expanding services. That view ignores the possibility that things can get better without throwing money at it. Many times, tackling a problem involves researching causes and better utilizing resources to better address the cause of the problem. Other times, there are State or Federal funds available that will be used by someone else if we don’t embrace opportunity ourselves.
A better government is a government that provides more to its residents. The best government provides these additions by creative use of funds that don’t cause additional tax burdens for residents. There’s always room to be better. Our goal is striving to be the best.
One of the core services towns offer is a safe and secure residence, free from crime, accidents, and mischief. Besides from offering piece of mind and a comfortable place to raise a family, focusing on these issues increases residents real estate investments and encourages development.
We believe that our residents safety and security should never be compromised as a result of politics and we are committed to ensuring that our police, firemen, and rescue squad possess the resources necessary to provide a town free of dangerous crime, fire, and accidents.
Our approach is resident and business focused. The question we ask ourselves is “How do we develop our safety and security policies to continue to improve the welfare and confidence of our residents?”
Elected office is a position of respect. You elected us and we serve you. The Dais should reflect this truth. Speaking condescendingly to resident speakers at council meetings should never happen. We are elected to answer your questions and concerns. Many on the Dais currently do not sufficiently prepare or research the issues they are addressing at the meetings, leaving them deferring to our hired professionals to answer basic questions as opposed to professionally answering them directly. Complex legal questions need a legal opinion, but we’re unable to hold our elected officials accountable when they don’t properly prepare.
We promise to return professionalism and basic decorum to the office of Council and Mayor as a basic principle. We also believe that we, not our employees should be running our council meetings. You hold us to a higher standard than that and we want to keep our end of the promise.