Dear Fellow Residents of Hopewell Township,
Hi. I’m Kevin Kuchinski, Mayor of Hopewell Township and one of your Democratic candidates for Hopewell Township Committee. I’m asking for your vote on November 7th.
I’ve lived in the Elm Ridge Park neighborhood of Hopewell Township since 2003, with my wife, Leslie, our four kids and two energetic labradoodles. Hopewell Valley has been a great place to raise our kids, and I am committed to protecting its rural character.
With my 25+ years of experience in the corporate world, at both Procter & Gamble and Church & Dwight, I have the financial expertise necessary to drive out non-productive spending and to identify new sources of revenue to reduce the property tax burden on families, seniors and all our residents.
Over the past two years, we have cumulatively cut Township operating expenses by over $2 million dollars, reining in the out-of-control spending of the prior administration. Our 2017 Budget came in below 2015 spending levels, and Hopewell Township once again has the lowest equalized tax rate in Mercer County.
We are doing more with less across the Township, while restoring valuable services like Bulky Waste, rebuilding our Public Works fleet, and covering the increased costs of unfunded state mandates.
Democrats have held the line on Hopewell Township’s municipal tax rate, delivering average annual changes of 1.1% per year, which is well below NJ’s 2% cap, not to mention the rate of inflation. This is a big improvement vs. the average +6.3% per year tax increases pushed through by Republicans in 2013-15.
Looking ahead, we have more work to do. We have made significant inroads towards reducing Township debt, but still spend over $1.5 million dollars on interest expenses. That’s money that adds to everyone’s tax burden without delivering any corresponding service to Township residents.
We also need to explore new shared services with area municipalities and the School District, restructure Township staffing to deliver services more cost-effectively, and find new sources of revenue to reduce the burden on residential property taxes.
I am also committed to making Hopewell a more small-business friendly community. Over the past two years, I have worked closely with Ray Disch on the start-up of Sourland Mountain Spirits, the first farm distillery in New Jersey since Prohibition. I have seen first-hand the challenges small business owners face, and we need to do more to streamline regulations and encourage residents to #BuyLocalEatLocalSupportLocal.
I have been on the front lines of the fight against the proposed PennEast pipeline, standing strong with fellow residents and taking our message to Trenton and Washington. The pipeline threatens to destroy the open space that has kept our quality of life and property values high. Over the past three years, I have joined with local leaders to push back this un-needed and unwanted pipeline, and the Township has been an active intervenor with FERC.
Outside of my day-to-day responsibilities, I’m proud to serve as President of the Hopewell Valley Education Foundation, which works to enhance educational excellence in Hopewell Valley public schools and foster innovation in the classroom. HVEF has cumulatively given back over $500,000 to our six District schools over recent years.
I also serve as Co-Chair of the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Advisory Board, and strongly support protecting our water and the environment. This includes strengthening the ordinances that protect them as well as preserving open space and farmland.
I have deep ties to the Hopewell Valley community and am committed to helping move the Township forward and keeping it green and affordable. Please allow me to put my experience and energy to good use, fighting for you.
Vote for both Kevin Kuchinski and Michael Ruger on November 7th.
Kevin D. Kuchinski
Democratic Candidate for Hopewell Township Committee