Candidate: Robert Caruso

Rob Caruso on MyVeronaNJ's 2011 elections page
Robert Caruso, candidate for a 4-year term

ROBERT CARUSO
Candidate: 4-Year Town Council Term
Ballot Line: 2A
Candidate’s Web site
Candidate’s campaign events

Campaign Questions:
QUESTION ONE: What specific cost-cutting or service sharing tactic from another town would you like to bring to Verona and why?
Rob Caruso’s response
QUESTION TWO: If you could add one new service to Verona’s budget, what would it be?
Rob Caruso’s response

Candidate Statement

Biography: Rob grew up in Prospect, Connecticut and won his only elected position in 1995 to the Zoning Board of Appeals. From 1992 to 1997, Rob was a volunteer firefighter, and is a 1997 graduate from Western Connecticut State University with an accounting degree and a minor in criminal justice. In 1997, he became a police officer for the town of Wolcott, Connecticut and in 1999 started his career in Federal law enforcement, bringing him to this area. Shortly after moving to Verona in 2003, Rob was appointed to the Public Safety Committee where he continues to serve. He has also previously served on the Verona Board of Education Budget Review Committee and is the founder of the Verona Heroes website (www.veronheroes.com), which tells the stories of the 43 Verona servicemen and 1 police officer who lost their lives in defense of freedom. They have been remembered by his articles which have been published in the Verona-Cedar Grove Times. This past year, Rob brought the historical significance of the Erie freight station shed on Depot Street to the attention of the Verona Landmarks Preservation Commission, which resulted in the structure being designated as Verona’s first historic landmark by the Verona Council. Rob is an active member of the Essex Running Club and the New York Road Runners. His interests are, first and foremost, his family, his country, public service, and family research. Rob can usually be found on Friday nights at Bella Gente with his wife Robyn and their two children, Nicholas 3, and Abby 1.

Why Rob is running: Having placed roots and started a family in Verona, I have come to realize that I have a vested interest in seeing this community prosper and continue to be a welcoming place for new families, long time residents, and seniors on fixed incomes struggling to pay their property taxes.

Candidate’s Platform: According to the Federal Reserve, the current economic recession wiped out $14 trillion in American household wealth–an amount equal to more than $120,000 per household nationwide. Throughout New Jersey, governing bodies are hearing the same message from voters: Property taxes are too high and they can’t afford to pay them anymore. They have reached their limit and are looking for their government not just to hear, but to listen. They want lower taxes and spending reduced. As a Verona Councilman, Rob will work for a zero percent increase in spending and will encourage the Verona Board of Education and Essex County to do the same. A recent idea gaining momentum is the Government Efficiency Movement (GEM). GEM was founded in New Jersey by Roxbury Councilman Tim Smith, and is being considered by municipalities in Morris, Bergen, Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties. GEM’s mission is to: Identify and implement new approaches to municipal cost-cutting, by rethinking the nature of local government structures. In addition, GEM has established several active “working groups” comprised of high level administrators, elected officials and subject matter experts, to develop “out of the box” ideas and solutions. These working groups target Policing, Tax Assessment and Collection, Technology, Health, and Construction and Zoning. The groups are conducting multiple meetings to brainstorm, discuss and evaluate current methodologies and new ways to better conduct government business and reduce costs to communities.

The State of New Jersey created the Local Unit Alignment, Reorganization and Consolidation Commission (LUARCC). LUARCC is charged with: Studying the structure and functions of municipal government in order to recommend legislative changes that would encourage the more efficient operation of local government.

Changes will occur in New Jersey with or without our input. We can’t sit back and let others decide what is best for us. As a Councilman, Rob will lead the way in bringing other West Essex municipalities and Essex County together to implement greater government efficiency and sharing of services. All cost savings will result in property tax relief.

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