Friday, September 24, 2010

Meet the Candidates

October 20

The Dayton Coalition will be hosting a "Meet the Candidates" night on October 20, from 7:30-9:00 PM at Fresh Ponds Village.

Debra Johnson and Jean Dvorak will be there to meet you and answer your questions.

Come join us for an evening of good conversation.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Zoning is Important

Would You Want a Factory Across the Street?

Residents of Fresh Ponds Road will be faced with a serious zoning concern in the near future.

A concrete manufacturing company wants to put a concrete batch plant in the old Weldon Asphalt site.  Noise, dust, and plenty of trucks come along with this kind of development.

BUT, in order to do this, the company must obtain a zoning variance from the Township.  The land is currently zoned for Rural Residential housing--one house on two acres.  The land also sits within the boundaries of the Pigeon Swamp State Park, a critical environmental area.

The Weldon plant closed down several years ago, so the permits they had to operate have run out, and the new plan has to apply all over again from the beginning.

This is a bad idea all around.  Industrial development should never be placed near homes.  Fresh Ponds Road should never again be used as a heavy truck route. And the Category One waters of the State Park as well as the very environment of the area simply cannot be put at risk by concrete dust, pollution, and diesel fumes.

Watch this blog for the hearing date.  The public needs to speak up to protect our residents, our road, and our environment from this project.  Your presence and your voices will matter to the Zoning Board.

Let's protect South Brunswick from the wrong development in the wrong place.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Watching Your Wallet

Budgets and Money

I was asked by the South Brunswick Post for a position statement and comments on the budget in South Brunswick.  Now, I'll never claim to be an expert at handling money, nor an expert at municipal budgets, but something I said in those comments stuck with me that I'd like to share.

I got myself into a bit of a predicament with my own credit cards. The problem, as I see it, is that credit cards give consumers a false sense of just how much money they actually do have to spend.  I learned it's much better to count the money in your wallet first before you go out to buy.

Government needs to start thinking that way as well.  Of course there are always times when the credit card has its purpose, as do loans and financing.  But how many times do governments borrow and spend for things that just might not be a necessity?

It's too easy to lose sight of the real value of a dollar when you are dealing in thousands of dollars every day.  Suddenly, even a hundred dollars here or there seems like pocket change easily spent and just as easily owed.  I can only imagine how it must be for legislators in Washington who deal in millions and even billions of dollars.

But the fact it, one hundred dollars does matter and so does a dollar here and there. Go to the cash register a dollar short in most any store and see how far you get with your purchase.  We need to start thinking in dollars and cents, or dollars and sense about spending. Count the money in the wallet and then decide what we actually can purchase.

Realistically, we need to start figuring out how much money we have to spend on what we need before we start making a list of things we want that we actually can't afford.  It might hurt, but paying cash instead of pulling out that credit card isn't such a bad idea at all.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What Matters

Voters' Concerns

Walking through town and talking to voters reveal some interesting perspectives and concerns on their parts.

Foremost seems to be the rising cost of living in South Brunswick.  Every now and then someone says, "I'm going to have to leave South Brunswick when I can't afford to live here any more."

Taxes continue to rise. Water and sewer bills go up. And school costs escalate due to overdevelopment.

As far as municipal taxes go, the Township Council puts much of the blame on a cut in State funding. But, fiscal responsibility starts at home, and it's hard to claim "foul" when South Brunswick's budget and its needs were not even filed when the State was presenting its financial plan for the year.  New Jersey's budget is set in June and towns across the State need to have their "ducks in a row" before then so State officials can make some decisions about State aid.

It is now September, and South Brunswick has just passed its budget, months after the State set its funding priorities. While it might have made little difference, one does have to wonder how State officials feel about giving money to a Township that doesn't quite seem able to figure out its own books on time.

It's a question worth examining.

And a question definitely worth asking.