No, not seriously.
As you know, the #1 issue in all New Jersey political races is Property Taxes. Whether it is here in Old Bridge, at the County level or at the State, every political discussion leads to a discussion on property taxes. Property taxes in our town are of course a huge concern for our citizens. I have spoken to thousands of residents over the course of this campaign and there is a recurring and consistent message;get the Property Tax situation under control. I agree. In fact, one of the main reasons I got involved and decided to run for Mayor was my frustration with the tax and spend mentality of the Democrats, and in particular my opponent (the Interim Mayor).
Since the Democrats have been in control, Property Taxes here in Old Bridge have risen 40%! Which is why I was curious when I saw my opponent putting out lawn signs and making you tube videos about how he was going to Freeze property taxes? Did my opponent finally see the light and realize that our residents are being squeezed and strangled by these huge increases? HARDLY. My opponent is not only un-willing to freeze property taxes, he is also unable.
Old Bridge faces a $7M - $8M budget deficit starting in Jan 2012 that the Interim Mayor helped to create. He has no plan to resolve this huge gap except to say he will employ a 60 year old budgeting technique (Zero Based Budgeting) and complain to Trenton that Old Bridge needs more funding. That doesn’t sound like a man with a plan to freeze taxes. Further, he has demonstrated his un-willingness to get serious about taxes through various recent actions he has taken, here are a few;
- Voted to deplete the OBMUA reserve two years in a row $1.4M & $1.3M respectively
- Voted to sell Township land to the OBMUA for $5.6M to plug a budget gap under the pre-text of reducing water rates 25 years from now! Land you paid for with your Water & Sewer bills!
- Proposed a plan during the FY 2010 budget discussions to defer making pension payments that would have cost the Township an additional $1M. Fortunately, even members of his own party thought that was a bad idea and voted against it.
What Old Bridge needs is a REAL PLAN and I have one. I call it “A Framework for Change – Putting Old Bridge Back on the Right Track”. It is a 6-point plan, with very specific ideas on how to grow this town, get efficient and become more resident friendly. I like to say it is a fluid document that can change over time with input from you, the residents. You can find our plan on our website www.oldbridgerepublicans.com and I’d love to hear your ideas.
The bottom line is, I am going to run this Township and my administration like a business. You are my customers, I am going to be honest with you, not make un-realistic promises I can’t keep, but I will be the hardest working Mayor this town has seen in a long time. With your help, we can turn this town around and we can stabilize taxes. It’s going to take a good deal of hard work, that’s why I’d ask you to support my running mates, Brian Cahill, Debbie Walker and Jim Anderson. All fine individuals with terrific business sense who know how to get things done. It would be an honor to be your Mayor.
Owen Henry – Republican Candidate for Mayor