I’m concerned about the current leadership in this town. This is not about politics or party—it’s about a basic disagreement with the approach and philosophy to how our government functions. Unfortunately, the Republican majority refuses to place residents’ and businesses’ interests first and that’s why I decided to speak up and run for council. This refusal to listen frustrates me.
I attended the April 13th Council meeting at which the council adopted the 2015 Municipal budget and bonded for $8 million to finance the much-needed new firehouse. During discussion of the budget, I heard something that belonged in a board room. A member of the current Administration complimented the changed focus of the budget this year. He said, “finally, we’re running this town like a business.” The councilman held firm even after questioning, and I left somewhat discouraged by the approach the council is taking.
Government is not a business. It is a service to our residents and businesses to enable them to live better, safer, and more enjoyable lives. I run my personal business with profit in mind. But governments aren’t about taking profit from tax payers! The decisions our town makes should focus on driving this town forward not generating maximum revenue. That’s because not everything that provides value to residents is profitable and not everything that is profitable provides value to residents. Running a government should never be about getting rid of things just because they don’t bring in enough revenue for the town. But it appears to be the position held by my opposition.
Government should be run efficiently, sure, but running a government efficiently is different than running it like a business. And that difference is likely the reason our administration is raising taxes by 3% this year while raising spending. It’s likely the reason they’re entertaining the idea of raising mercantile license fees, parking fees, and adding even more fees to the section of the municipal code that covers fees— a section that already contains over 400 fees!
Here’s the difference: with the approach I support, the focus is questioning the purpose and effect each fee has on residential improvement and business development. With their approach, ensuring that these fees generate the appropriate amount of revenue for the town becomes the focus. Leadership is not about doing what’s best for our profit margin.
South River is comprised of well-represented groups of hard-working, yet humble residents that grew up loving this town. Just as we live here to see this town move forward, we should expect a government that wants what’s best for residents and businesses—not what impedes upon their success and happiness.
So while sometimes much is made of party politics, at least in this case, the parties are taking positions that will lead this town in entirely different directions. I believe my and my running mates views will lead us forward, not backwards.
Over the coming months, I will be focusing my campaign upon the flawed premise that my opposition seems to be taking. I want to demonstrate how my approach will begin steering this town back in the right direction because I want a government that serves you. It should never be the other way around.