In preparation for its Election Forum, MyVeronaNJ.com asked all eight candidates to the Verona Town Council to answer two questions, one to seek their input about new ways to cut Verona’s current municipal budget and the other to draw out their vision for Verona’s future.
The first question asked candidates to show voters what cost-cutting or service-sharing tactic from another town might work in Verona. We need to think about reducing the cost of government in New Jersey and think about it more creatively than that half-baked questionnaire from Trenton did last fall. We wanted to find out if our potential new leaders have seen practices in other towns–in New Jersey or beyond–that show how government can shift in a lean, technology-driven economy. Creativity is key because the private sector’s knee-jerk response to cost-cutting–whacking head count like a Mafia don–rarely offers anything but a temporary fix to the bottom line.
The second question asked candidates to think about what new services could be brought to Verona. Cutting spending, no matter how imaginative, won’t create a new budget reality by itself. A general economic turnaround could skip past Verona. Successful private companies grow themselves out of difficult economic times, and perhaps municipalities can too. Here again, though, creative thinking is needed because the old models haven’t worked. Across the country, towns have engaged in economic bidding wars with each other to win new factories or retail complexes that were supposed to generate the jobs they needed. You didn’t need to be a fortune teller to see how the future worked out for those towns.
We have high hopes for creative thinking in Verona because the town has thought creatively in the past, often in the face of great opposition. Just ask anyone who was present for the heated discussions in the 1960s over whether Verona should build a town pool, something that has been a boon for Veronans young and old. But then ask yourself: Would our economic situation now be different if the “radicals” at that time had succeeded in convincing Verona to build a year-round pool and exercise facility like Caldwell’s that draws members from many towns?
Here are the questions we asked, and links to each candidate’s response.
QUESTION ONE: What specific cost-cutting or service sharing tactic from another town would you like to bring to Verona and why?
Candidates for the one 2-year term