Our opponents in the race for two vacancies on Readington Township Committee, Ben Smith and Juergen Huelsebusch, cannot stand on their own record. Mr. Smith and Mr. Huelsebusch tout their years of experience in our Township government. However, their experience has sent this Township backwards fiscally, and has permitted, if not encouraged, government that fails to disclose important information and operates outside legal charters and bylaws. During their respective tenures as Mayor and on the Open Space Advisory Board, despite their ‘experience’ the town has gone backwards on multiple fronts:
• 11% increase in residential taxes
• 5% increase in farm taxes
• Business taxes have declined 2%
• Total municipal debt has increased 5% resulting in the fact that 25% of our municipal budget ($3.7M!) must be reserved for debt service this year alone
• Legal fees alone have averaged $750,000 in the past 4 years (average 5% of municipal budget). Additional costs of litigation (attorney’s fees for the other parties for example, can and have run in the $Millions) are not readily visible to the taxpayers
• The Open Space Advisory Board (OSAB) is operating outside the bounds of its legal charter, a fact that Mr. Huelsebusch acknowledged at the OSAB meeting that took place on May 2, 2018
• There are multiple violations of the Open Public Meetings Act as noted by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor. These violations stem from a deliberate failure to publish minutes of meetings so we the taxpayers can be kept informed of discussions that take place behind closed doors that effect each and every one of us
Now, in an effort to distract the public from their own poor track record, they have resorted to spreading misinformation about our platform. So, to set the record straight here is what Esakoff and Fiore WILL DO when elected:
• WE WILL review, update, and enforce charters and bylaws for full transparency in our Township government and ensure all committees, advisory boards and commissions are in full compliancy so we the citizens have access to information on decisions that are made on our behalf
• WE WILL implement a Readington Township Economic Commission to reverse the poor fiscal trends we have experienced over the last several years
• WE WILL support an open space plan, including acquisition, that promotes accessibility, utilization, recreation for all residents, and that incorporates long term maintenance needs, which before now, have relied solely on volunteers
• Main Street is the gateway to Readington and our vision is that it should reflect the rural character and historic charm we all value. WE WILL implement a revitalization plan for Main Street that takes advantage of existing building structures, many of which are vacant today, and includes gathering spots and parking to entice foot traffic that will support small, local businesses.
• As for the airport. Our opponents talk about a ‘commuter airport’. Those are their words not ours. And they should get their facts straight: According to the Solberg Website, the airport currently accommodates corporate jets. We are firmly opposed to expansion that would bring in larger, noisier, aircraft beyond what is there today. Unlike our opponents we are opposed to continuous legal battles that have cost the Township countless $millions. We, on the other hand, want to work with the Solberg family to identify a mutually beneficial plan that will allow them to operate their business and provide additional commercial and recreational benefit to our Township.