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Town Council Candidates: Verona’s Biggest Challenge


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Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan

Kevin J. Ryan: The major issue facing Verona in the broad sense is the ability of the members of the municipal government is to keep Verona a highly desirable and affordable place to live. To characterize this as a big challenge is an understatement but this has been my goal since I first was elected to the council in 2011 and during my reelection in 2013 and my appointment as mayor on July 1, 2015. I can tell you that based upon my experience this has been a constant challenge and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Over the last two budget cycles the council has worked with the town manager and department heads to cut cost in the operating budget by reducing overtime in all areas. We have also eliminated or consolidated positions or job functions in town departments with the exception of the police department, where we have actually hired additional officers to bring staffing up to recommended levels. This has been done without any loss of services. In fact, we actually added curbside recycling and enhanced the communication systems for police, fire and rescue. Reductions in staff has been accomplished through attrition and retirement incentives. This is an area in need of constant review along with the overtime usage. The tax rate was kept flat in 2016 and i expect the same when the 2017 budget is finally adopted.

We have major infrastructure projects that lie ahead. The major renovations need to the library and the need to relocate and rebuild Fire house number 2, just to highlight two of them, and there is no doubt improvements in other areas will be needed. I don’t think we can ignore critical infrastructure projects or just kick them down the road but we need to be very wary of getting overly optimistic estimates that lead to cost overruns.

I found this out when reviewing the final costs on the new turf fields. So in short, I cannot promise you that the property tax rate will not increase in 2018, but what I can promise you is I will make the same effort that I have over the last six years to look at all aspects of the budget including additional cost cutting and also the possibility of
increasing revenues and exploring additional shared service agreements. I hope we have put the misconception to rest that staffing levels and overtime can never go down without loss of services. We may hit a tipping point but we are not there yet.

I am the only candidate running for re-election, so I do have a record to run on and I am proud to do so.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].


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