For the past two and one-half years I have had the privilege of representing Weehawken in the New Jersey General Assembly, but my familiarity and concern for Weehawken dates back much further.
Since 1995 I have had the honor of serving as the Mayor of West New York. During that time my Administration has worked very hard to rebuild our community and to work cooperatively with neighboring communities, including Weehawken, to develop regional services and programs that are both efficient and cost-effective.
One example of this successful cooperation is the North Hudson Regional Fire Service, which consolidated fire-fighting services in five communities. This success of this effort has been recognized by both state and national organizations.
It has come to my attention that some people involved in the Weehawken municipal election are now attacking the management of West New York. I find that very disturbing and very inappropriate. Please allow me this opportunity to dispel these campaign myths and set the record straight.
We are extremely proud of our record here in West New York. We have consistently cut spending and waste while delivering services and programs more efficiently. In fact, since taking office seven years ago, we have slashed the amount of money to be raised from local taxes from $26 million then to $18.7 today — that’s a decrease of $7.3 million! At the same time, our municipal tax rate has decreased 17.4 percent.
While a few early critics said our waterfront development would cost us money, the fact is that in our 2002 municipal budget, we slashed spending by $500,000.
This is a record in which any community could take great pride. In no small part, our town administrator, Richard Turner, is responsible for this fiscal turnaround.
Those of us in public office understand that some people will say or do anything to win an election. Nonetheless, it has been my experience that all citizens, no matter where they live, are best served when the facts are presented honestly and in a straightforward manner so that they can make the most informed decisions possible when they go to the polls.
Speaker, New Jersey General Assembly