Mount Olive residents and businesses are demanding tax decreases while our current Mount Olive Town Council and Mayor are satisfied with no increases. During a Town Council Meeting on December 19, 2017, Mayor Greenbaum said, “First of all, tax decreases are not good financial planning from a Municipal perspective.” (1) The SALT tax cap came into effect in 2018 and many Mount Olive residents felt the sting of losing that important deduction in 2019. Our taxpayers want relief and feel that there is a good reason to change.
Setting a goal of reducing taxes and getting back to basics will help us to ease the burden on our citizens and businesses. Deans, Sergonis and Singh will advocate for decreases and will examine every item of the budget. Although the Administration prepares the budget, it is the duty of Council Members to fight for the priorities of the citizens of Mount Olive during the approval process and use their power to reduce the budget with a simple majority vote. Deans, Sergonis and Singh will also closely inspect the monthly bill list presented at the Town Council Meetings and advocate for reducing expenditures.
We can and should do better for our Mount Olive taxpayers. In 2018, our Efective Tax Rate of 3.055 was the second highest out of the 39 Districts in Morris County ( 2).
Our priorities should be cutting taxes, improving and maintaining our current infrastructure and providing basic services. Our citizens want passable roads and clean water.
Deans, Sergonis and Singh will ask the tough questions and will fight for property tax reductions.
“Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge; it’s common sense.”
—President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), State of the Union address, 1984
We need to address the issue of climate change at all levels of government . To protect our environment and our future, we need to save our natural resources and reduce our society’s carbon footprint.
If elected as Town Council Members we would encourage protecting the environment and promoting the use of clean energy in our community.
- Programs and materials would be developed to educate and motivate the community to make changes that will improve our environment and fight climate change.
- We will work with energy suppliers to use renewable energy sources instead of traditional energy sources that harm the environment.
- We will explore powering street lights and traffic lights with solar power.
- We will provide opportunities to install solar panels wherever possible.
- We will evaluate and improve the local recycling system.
- We will replace the current light bulbs in government buildings with energy efficient light bulbs, and encourage homeowners to do the same.
- We will reduce the retail use of single use plastic bags and promote reusable bags.
- We will not allow asphalt recycling plants to be made in the town.
- We will improve the existing trail system.
- We will clean Budd Lake by removing algae and pollution.
- We will reestablish Budd Lake as a public recreational area.
Transparency, Checks and Balances
One of the most important factors in fostering continued trust and engagement between municipal leaders and town residents is transparency. It is our shared belief that in order to create a culture of transparency between local governing bodies and the citizens that they represent is to create an open exchange of ideas and to increase the visibility of local budgets, town contracts, economic development plans, and successful and less successful strategic outcomes.
Being that Mount Olive residents, like most Americans, already find it difficult to balance their time at work and with their families, we believe that it is the responsibility of the Town Council to provide open access to current governing agendas and resolutions that impact the community. Further, we believe that this information should be presented to the public in a manner that is readily accessible to all and easy to understand. To effectuate this goal, we support the institution of the following objectives:
- Increase the accessibility of the Mount Olive Township Website so that information regarding all current resolutions being addressed by the Town Council are easily accessible to the public. If a section of the website is designated for this purpose, it should include the most recent council meeting minutes and a link to a YouTube video of the meeting and the ability to Livestream so that the public has the ability to watch the actual meetings.
- Create Mount Olive Town Council branded social media platforms to deliver and centralize current communications to residents wherein town residents would be afforded the ability to express his or her comments and concerns regarding issues that affect everyone in the town. A robust, branded Town Council social media platform will allow residents to engage and exchange ideas and concerns with council members outside of the traditional Town Council meeting forum.
- Monthly mailers to residents that outline all of the approved, pending and controversial resolutions addressed by the council that month.
Beyond greater transparency, we believe that another important factor essential to the efficient functioning of local government is an effective system of checks and balances. Checks and balances in local government are important because same ensures that there are proper procedures working to increase oversight, prevent improper behavior and decrease the risk of overly centralized power in government. It is our shared belief that the Town Council should be comprised of both Democrats and Republicans to ensure that all of the diverse voices and ideas that make up our citizenship are heard and represented.
A Voice for Renters
We have been listening to the concerns of the people that live in rental communities in Mount Olive and have learned that they need a seat at the table. The estimated 30 to 40 percent of our residents who are renters often feel that they have no options when their complaints are not responded to by the landlord.
Deans, Sergonis and Singh would explore the options of forming a Renters Committee or the appointment of a Renters Ombudsman to investigate and resolve complaints. Renters are an important part of our Mount Olive community and they deserve to have their voices heard.