CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
line on property taxes once again,” Mayor Marks concluded.
Samuel, Tripet (Democrats)
SCOTCH PLAINS — In keeping with her record last year, Scotch
Plains Councilwoman and Mayoral candidate Geri M. Samuel and her runningmate for Township Council, Pete Tripet, have announced that they have a mobile office. “You can call us at (908) 7545911,” stated Mr. Tripet.
The candidates said they will come to a resident’s home or office and
discuss any issue or concern they may have.
Mrs. Samuel further commented, “Last year when I served as Mayor, I was in my office every day. People knew if they called me at Town Hall or at home, that I would make myself available to them. I have maintained that policy throughout this year.”
“I have visited with several residents this year,” Mrs. Samuel said. On Sunday, November 5, the Democrats’ mobile office will be located at four different areas of Scotch Plains.
“Some people might feel uncomfortable calling us,” Mr. Tripet stated. “This will make it easier for them to speak to us or meet with us without having to make that phone call.”
The November 2 schedule of the mobile office is as follows: northside, 12 p. m., East Second Street near Flanders Avenue; 2: 303: 30 p. m., Morse Avenue (near St. John’s church); southside, 45 p. m., Brookside Park parking lot; 5: 306: 30 p. m., rear parking lot at the southside field.
“We will welcome comments and look forward to meeting even more residents just before the election,” the candidates noted in a joint campaign statement.
Union County Freeholders
Scanlon, Mirabella, Holmes (D)
ELIZABETH — Running on a record of tax cuts, economic development and new investments in senior
services, education and parks, Union County Freeholder incumbents Al Mirabella, Chester Holmes and Deborah Scanlon have pledged to continue the progress if reelected.
“We are doing more with less and implementing innovative programs that touch people’s lives every day,” Freeholder Mirabella said.
As Finance Committee Chairman, Freeholder Mirabella noted that he
worked to reduce costs and streamline budgets to ensure a third consecutive tax cut in
1999 in 1999 and a flat tax rate in 2000.
“For the first time, less than half of the county budget is raised through property taxes,” he said.
The freeholder board’s Democratic leadership this year created three new initiatives to celebrate 2000 as the “Year of the Senior.”
These programs helped build new seniors centers, provided new educational, health and enrichment opportunities for senior citizens and helped towns provide added mobility for this growing population.
“The fastest growing segment of our population is men and women over 60. We developed these new initiatives – Senior Focus, Senior Scholars and Seniors in Motion – to help seniors live with greater independence and take full advantage of the services available to them,” Freeholder Scanlon said.
As Parks and Recreation liaison, Freeholder Scanlon oversaw the complete renovation of all Union County playgrounds and major improvements to parks and playing fields. She put policies in place to implement Project Pocket Parks, which created $6 million in improvements to local parks and preserved open space for the enjoyment of future generations.
Freeholder Holmes worked on a $10 million program to improve roads and bridges throughout the County without spending new county dollars.
“Previous Republicancontrolled freeholder boards let our infrastructure deteriorate,” Freeholder Holmes said. “By developing a plan, we were able to attract millions in state and federal grants.”
In addition, the Freeholder Scholars program has made college a reality fir hundreds of students from working families, a campaign spokeswoman noted.
Freeholder Mirabella said his runningmates also want to work the business community to bring new jobs and economic opportunities to Union County.
He cited the Jersey Gardens Mall in Elizabeth and the development around Linden Airport as projects the board supported to enhance the county’s business climate.
Union County County Clerk
Eric Urbano (R)
ELIZABETH — At last week’s League of Women Voters debate in Cranford, Republican Union County Clerk Candidate Eric Urbano pledged to voters that, if elected, he will give back 25 percent of the County Clerk salary to the county budget.
He said that totals over $100,000 over the fiveyear term of office.
Mr. Urbano, a Scotch Plains resident, cited that this money could be better used in the county budget to be put towards education, parks and recreation, and roadway maintenance.
He also stated that a County Clerk receiving over $100,000 per year, the current County Clerk salary, at taxpayer expense is “exorbitant and unnecessary.” Mr. Urbano accused his opponent, Democratic incumbent Joanne Rajoppi, of threatening to sue the Union County freeholder board in 1995 if the salary increase was not approved.
Mr. Urbano also stumped for modernization of the County Clerk office through the implementation of online filings and form viewing, and also vowed to ensure timely and accurate sample ballot and absentee ballot distribution.
He said in 1996, Ms. Rajoppi was involved in a suit with the county’s longtime ballot printing company over “egregious mistakes that delayed the distribution of the ballots, and cost the taxpayers of Union County in legal fees.”
“This is really about the people,” stated Mr. Urbano after the debate. “With the taxpayer money that the County Clerk office takes in revenue, the least the County Clerk can do is give some of that back, and make sure that the office is modern and efficient. This is the citizens’ office, not the County Clerk’s. It’s time that the office is restored to one of public service, and not partisan policy making.”
Fall Harvest of Crafts Set by Fanwood Church
FANWOOD – Fanwood Presbyterian Church will hold its 13th Annual Fall Harvest of Crafts sponsored by the women of the church on Saturday, November 4, from 9 a. m. to 4 p. m. Admission is free.
The fair will feature handcrafted items made available to the public by 55 crafters from the Tristate area. Gourmet food and bakery items will be available. A delicious luncheon will be available in the church dining room beginning at 11: 30 a. m.
For more information, please call CoChairperson Ellie Kramps at (908) 3222337.
Trinity Market, Rummage Sale Set for October 27 WESTFIELD – Trinity Market and Rummage Sale, sponsored by The Ladies Philoptochos Society of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 250 Gallows Hill Road in Westfield, will be held on Friday, October 27, from 11 a. m. to 8 p. m.
The Fabulous Fifties, jewelry, scarves, Classy Collectibles, slightly used bricabrac, small appliances, children’s toys and books and some furniture will be featured.
Favorite vendors from the Merry Market will also be present with sterling silver, handbags and personalized Christmas items.
Light lunch and light dinner will be available at the taverna.
For more information, please call (908) 2339520.
Union County Spending Vs. Taxes Debated by Freeholder Candidates
By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
CRANFORD — As evidenced at last Thursday’s Union County Freeholder Candidates’ Night at the Cranford Municipal Building, the candidates disagree the most on how the county should go about delivering additional services for country residents while stabilizing property taxes.
While incumbent Democrats Al Mirabella, Chester Holmes and Deborah Scanlon focused on their record of either cutting or stabilizing the county’s tax levy, Republicans Wally K. Shackell and Al Dill said spending levels need to be trimmed, in addition to cutting taxes. (GOP Freeholder candidate Esther D. MalcolmGuzman was unable to attend the forum due to a family emergency).
Mr. Shackell accused Democrats, who have held a 90 majority on the board the past three years, of running a “closed door” government.
He said that, if elected, Republicans would reform county government by bringing back twoparty representation. He also said he would advocate a reduction of the ninemember board by two seats.
Freeholder Mirabella said Democrats were “not elected by accident” but instead by leading the way with new programs, while stabilizing the county’s $150 million tax levy.
He noted the Freeholders have provided funds to computerize and connect classrooms to the Internet, approved the creation of a magnet high school specializing in mathematics, science and technology for the county’s elite students and provided grants this year of between $100,000 and $250,000 for towns to build new or expand existing senior citizen centers.
Mr. Shackell said, in regard to the senior scholarships, he would like Union County College to offer programs for homebound seniors.
Freeholder Scanlon highlighted the board’s efforts to improve county park land. She said this is extra important, given the fact that the county is 90 percent developed. She cited the county’s effort in revitalizing Lake Surprise in the Watchung Reservation and the plans to do the same for other waterways in the county.
“While my opponents offer rhetoric, my running mates and I are offering results,” she shot back at the GOP challengers.
Among issues discussed was the referendum for open space that will be on the November ballot. If approved, a 20year Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund would assess 1.5 cents per $100 of assessed value for all properties in the county. County officials have said the tax would generate $4.89 million annually and $48.9 million over the life of the fund.
While supportive of the open space fund, Mr. Dill and Mr. Shackell both said the tax should have been 10 years in length. Mr. Dill said the 20year fund could significantly drive up the
county’s debt, estimated at a quarter of a million dollars. Mr. Dill said he would likely vote against the plan, while Mr. Shackell anticipated he would vote in favor of the question.
Republicans criticized the current board for not being more proactive in stopping both medical waste and New York’s garbage from coming into Union County. The county utilities authority and freeholder board have amended the county’s solid waste master plan for inclusion of a medical waste treatment facility to be built by Earth Care Systems. The application is pending state Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Health approval.
A medical waste facility is planned for the City of Linden, while a garbage transfer station to receive New York’s garbage via barge has been discussed for the region. No application has yet to be heard by the utilities authority or the freeholders to date.
“We don’t want to become the garbage capital of the East Coast,” Mr. Shackell stated.
Freeholder Mirabella said a presentation has yet to be made before the board regarding the garbage transfer station.
While the Democrats cited their efforts in helping students attain a college education through the Freeholders’ Scholars program, Republicans said the program should be supported by corporate sponsors and not Union County taxpayers.
On the issue of the county’s financial standing, Freeholder Holmes indicated the county has used its surplus to lower taxes and also give money to residents in the form of grants and additional county programs.
Mr. Dill said giving out grants while increasing spending is the wrong approach for the county to take.
“True savings means true reduction,” the candidate explained. He said the county depends too much on state and federal aid to offset taxes.
Freeholder Mirabella, the board’s Vice Chairman and last year’s Finance Committee Chairman, noted the percentage of the budget raised by taxes dipped below the 50 percent mark for the first time this year. He
said the county’s aggressiveness in garnering grants has actually reduced the burden on Union County property taxpayers.
After hearing repeated criticisms over county spending, Freeholder Scanlon questioned Republicans as to, “How many (board) budget meetings did you attend?”
On the issue of arts, Mrs. Scanlon noted that artists, both organizations and individuals, have received some $400,000 in HEART (History, Education, Arts – Reaching Thousands) grants. She also noted the Jersey Jazz by the Lake twoday jazz festival and the summer arts series as programs sponsored by the board.
Mr. Shackell angered Democrats when he said this year’s jazz festival was more like a “( Senate candidate Jon) Corzine rally.”
“I don’t know why you continue to bring this up as some kind of an issue,” Freeholder Mirabella asserted.
After hearing the GOP comments throughout the evening, Freeholder Mirabella said voters have the “choice between complaints (from Republicans) and results (Democrats).”
During a brief forum for County Clerk candidates, incumbent Joanne Rajoppi said the election should be about the person who is best capable of managing the office. She cited her 30 years of government administrative experience, including five years as Clerk and 12 years as Registrar of deeds and mortgages.
Republican Eric Urbano, an assistant corporate counsel for an international information technology firm, said if elected he would turn back 25 percent of the $105,500 Clerk’s salary to the county.
He also proposed that all records in the Clerk’s office should be placed online for 24hour access. He criticized Ms. Rajoppi for turning the office into a “political soapbox.”
Ms. Rajoppi noted that her office is one of the few revenuegenerating segments of county government, noting that the office brought in over $10 million in revenue last year. She also noted that she saved the county $1 million through the merger of the Clerk’s and Registrar’s offices.
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)