MercerMe is lucky to have received an unbelievable number of Letters to the Editor! We’re unrolling them today and here is Part 1.
Letter in Support of Volpe for Township Committee
Let me begin by saying that I don’t believe in the two-party political system. To me, it is an outdated bureaucratic system with mediocre thinkers and non-effective leaders who accomplish minimal objectives (locally and nationally). With that said, I am supporting Phil Volpe for the Township Committee for three reasons: first, Phil brings a level of “common sense” for the committee and Township. He doesn’t get caught up in silly politicking but prefers to “doing the right thing; versus always doing things right”. He also asks “tough questions” before deciding on a path of action. Second, Phil is a small business owner who understands the need for education for our children while also bringing new small business owners into our area to help offset taxes and provide services. Third, Phil and his family have lived in the area for 20+ years. He knows the Township history; what programs have worked and what programs will be difficult to implement. Hopewell Township needs a blend of the “new” while retaining our rich culture.
Last, Phil brings a level of integrity that our Township would embrace and have total confidence that he will listen to concerns; then work on a collaborative basis to “develop simple solutions for complex issues”. I would encourage you to learn more about Phil and then make an educated vote in November.
Michael Bruno, Hopewell Township
Kuchinski Fighting to Keep Taxes Low and Make Hopewell Township More Affordable
Hopewell Township is a place I am proud to call home, but we must work together to make it more affordable.
Let’s start with what we have accomplished over the past two years. By zero-basing the Township budget, we were able to reduce operating expenses and bring the tax rate change down from +5.28% under Lester’s leadership to 1.1% per year.
We not only stayed within NJ’s 2% cap, but also delivered spending plans BELOW the rate of inflation. But there’s more work to do.
I am fortunate to be running with Michael Ruger for Township Committee. He is a proven leader and has worked tirelessly on the Finance Advisory Committee to make government more effective and efficient.
Our total Municipal spending in 2017 is below what it was in 2015. We have done all this while restoring Bulky Waste pick-up, rebuilding our public works fleet and absorbing increased costs from unfunded state mandates.
Michael and I each have 25+ years of experience cutting costs and adhering to financial commitments in the corporate world.
We also understand what it means to do more with less, from our roles in the non-profit world and working with small businesses, including my service as Chair of the Finance Council at St James and work with Ray Disch at Sourland Mountain Spirits.
We will continue a disciplined budgeting process, eliminating unnecessary spending, expanding shared service agreements with our partners in Hopewell/Pennington Boroughs and the Schools, and returning the proceeds to you.
Finally, we must find new sources of revenue to reduce the burden of residential property taxes. This includes attracting new restaurants, medical offices and small business retailers to Hopewell Township, thereby increasing our ratables. We will achieve this within the Township Master Plan, maintaining our open space and preserved farmlands, and preventing the extension of sewers into currently pristine areas.
Please allow us to put our experience and detailed financial action plan to work for you and make Hopewell more affordable. Vote Kuchinski-Ruger on November 7th.
Kevin D. Kuchinski, Democratic Candidate for Township Committee
Questioning Lester on Affordable Housing Misinformation
Why is it so hard for Harvey Lester to give Hopewell Township the true facts about Affordable Housing?
He fails to note that the current settlement is actually 17% better than the one the Planning Board approved on October 15, 2015, while Lester was mayor and actually sat on the Planning Board. The Township submitted this same plan to the courts later that year as evidence of preliminary compliance, and to preserve our immunity from builders remedy lawsuits. Where was his outrage then?
Instead of spreading misinformation, Mr. Lester needs to acknowledge that the lands now zoned for housing were zoned for commercial building after the Township lost a lawsuit in the early 2000s. And once those lands were sold to builders, development was going to happen anyway.
It is time for Mr. Lester and his fellow Republicans to acknowledge all the facts about Affordable Housing in Hopewell Township.
Here are the best facts of all: Hopewell finally has some public servants who got ahead of the problem and came up with a better plan than Lester could.
Bruce Gunther, Hopewell Township
Ruger, Democratic Candidate for Hopewell Township Committee, on Recreation
As a parent, I know how important sports are for kids. Our three boys have been on cross country, swimming, hockey and lacrosse teams. Some of their friends have chosen other sports, like football, baseball and soccer.
While being part of a team provides kids with exercise and lessons in fair play, self-discipline, teamwork, and sportsmanship, parents benefit as well. Tracy and I have met many families throughout Hopewell Township and have had the opportunity to help out in many ways, from providing snacks to running the scoreboard.
We are fortunate that Hopewell Township offers recreational activities for adults as well. I have spent many hours training for marathons along the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath. And the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, along with the many rural roads or the Township, are great for biking.
Recreation is not limited to sports. We have an outstanding Parks and Recreation Department that offers activities for residents of all ages. And we have an active Hopewell Valley Arts Council that offers community events, such as the recent Amazing Pumpkin Carve, as well as contests and encouragement for local artists, including amateur photographers like me.
Sports and recreational activities help to bring people together and foster a stronger sense of community. Mayor Kevin Kuchinski and I will work together to promote recreational activities of all types for everyone in the Township.
On November 7, please vote for Michael Ruger and Kevin Kuchinski for Hopewell Township Committee.
Michael Ruger, Democratic Candidate for Hopewell Township Committee
Lester Lying with Statistics, Support for Kuchinski and Ruger
Lying with statistics. Harvey Lester is doing it again.
Recently he challenged a statement that said Hopewell Township has the lowest equalized tax rate in Mercer County.
He was wrong again. He knowingly misread tax tables and misrepresented the facts by looking at the total tax rate for the township which includes the school and county taxes, neither of which the township government has ANY control over.
The Hopewell Township Equalized Municipal Purpose Tax is the lowest in Mercer County. This is the only aspect of our taxes that the Township Committee has control over.
The fact (verifiable) is that when the Republicans last had control of the Township finances in 2015 (Harvey was mayor then), both Kevin Kuchinski and Vanessa Sandom voted against the Republican budget increase. And in that year the Hopewell Township budget increase was 5.28%.
The true fiscal conservatives in Hopewell Township are the Democrats! Vote for continued fiscal responsibility and cost cutting on Nov. 7th. Vote for Democrats Mayor Kevin Kuchinski and Finance Advisory Committee member Michael Ruger – watchdogs of our taxes!
Al Colina, Brandon Farms (Hopewell Township)
Support for Volpe and Nicholao for Hopewell Township Committee
I am writing you to bring attention to two exceptional candidates for Hopewell Township Committee whom I heartily endorse.
My personal background is that I am a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Class of 1967 a retired Naval Officer, and a Professional Engineer. I live in Maryland with my family but have the opportunity to see and visit with Phil Volpe on a frequent basis.
Though not a resident of Hopewell, I am pleased to hear that these two fine leaders and gentlemen have agreed to run for office to represent the citizens of Hopewell Township.
I have known Phil Volpe for over fifty years. He is one of the most decent, charismatic and honest people that I know. His unique style of diplomacy endears him to anyone he meets. Known for his sense of humor and casual style, he also has a serious side when it comes to his commitment to his values and his family.
Phil’s running mate, Luis Nicholao, is also a friend. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, a former Naval Officer and a family man. His values and beliefs would be valued in any setting and I believe he would well serve the Hopewell community
Citizens of Hopewell: both of these gentlemen deserve your attention and vote.
John T. Sheldon, P.E., CDR, USN (Ret)