Each Hopewell Township Committee candidate and Hopewell Valley Regional School District Board of Education candidate was invited to submit a final letter to the MercerMe editor.
To the Editor:
As I’ve knocked on doors all across the Township and met with residents, three key themes have emerged. We need to fight to keep taxes lower, protect our Valley from unchecked development, and build a stronger community. I have fought tirelessly on your behalf on these three issues, and have delivered real results.
Protecting our Rural Character: We have a long history of fighting against unchecked development in Hopewell Township, and a strong, well-thought out Masterplan that protects against the extension of sewers into pristine areas outside of existing sewer service areas. I have been a strong supporter of this Masterplan, as it helps protect Hopewell’s rural character, has sustained our special way of life, and kept our aquifer and drinking water safe. Democratic leadership has a proud tradition of fighting against over-development. With your support, we defeated the ELSA referendum, and moving forward, we will fight vigorously to stop unchecked development.
By contrast, Republicans have twice attempted to foist sewer expansion and the associated uncontrolled development on Township voters. Just last week, my opponent suggested we needed to spread Affordable Housing all around the Township, necessitating sewer expansion and yet more development.
We can’t take that risk!
Keeping Property Taxes Low: We have held the line on municipal property taxes, reducing the annual rate of increase from +5.28% in 2015 to just 1.1% per year in 2016-17. We have reined in out-of-control spending, worked hard to do more with less, and delivered the lowest equalized municipal tax rate in Mercer County (source: Mercer County Board of Taxation). Our 2017 Township spending came in below Republican’s 2015 levels. And working with the School District, we restructured our payment schedule such that we saved $2 million for Township residents without cutting a single school program.
Looking ahead, we have more work to do, including reducing our debt further so that we stop wasting $1.5 million in annual interest costs. That’s money that adds to everyone’s tax burden without delivering any corresponding services for Township residents.
Building a Strong Community: We have worked closely with Hopewell and Pennington Boros to secure new funding for our Senior Services coordinator role, including a sizeable contribution from Capital Health. After years of talk (and over Lester and Hart’s objections), we found a solution to keep the current Pennington senior center open, while we work towards a new community center with expanded and dedicated space for our seniors, as well as an aquatics center and other recreational amenities.
Looking ahead, I will work with the Recreation Foundation, other local non-profits and our sports associations to take advantage of the $1.5 million in Mercer-at-Play grant monies. We also have an opportunity to expand our indoor recreation facilities, and I will foster a public-private partnership to help get this done.
Let’s work together to keep Hopewell Township green and affordable, and to build a stronger community.
On November 7th, please vote for proven leadership. Please vote for both Kevin Kuchinski and Michael Ruger, Democrats for Hopewell Township Committee.
Kevin D. Kuchinski
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