Township needs to control taxes


To the editor: 
“Hopewell Township is a great place to live, but taxes are so high.”
I have heard this time and again from residents throughout the township over the past few months. With that kind of reputation, how can we attract young families to our community, and encourage older residents to stay? We need to do better to help make Hopewell Township affordable.
Unfortunately, this has not been the first priority for John Hart and Todd Brant. While they promised to reduce taxes if elected, they instead voted for an average increase in property taxes of 4.6 percent during the past three years. This is well above the 2 percent cap established by the State of New Jersey.
We can do better, and we should do better. If elected, Kristin McLaughlin and I will work with the other committee members to keep the township’s budget in check. We will look at the budget with fresh eyes, and question every expenditure. “That’s how we have always done it“ is not a good answer. After all, the township is not spending its own money — it is spending your money.
For example, we need to push to bring back shared services with Pennington and Hopewell boroughs such as animal control and health, as this will help to reduce costs for everyone in the Hopewell Valley. We need to take advantage of new technologies such as solar to reduce the township’s electric bill, which is currently over $250,000 a year. We need to determine if we really have to replace all of the vehicles destroyed in the 2015 Public Works fire — which would cost us an additional $1.7 million. And we need to make sure we are applying for and accepting federal and state grants for services.
I understand that in 2015 when the Republicans were in charge, including John Hart and Todd Brandt, the township did not accept a $270,000 grant for roadwork. Fortunately, the current administration, led by Mayor Kuchinski and Committeewoman Julie Blake, reversed that decision.
The township needs new ideas to ensure that we keep taxes under control. John Hart and Todd Brant have failed to do so. Kristin McLaughlin and I will work to make sure your hard-earned money is not wasted, and that your township government works as efficiently 
and as economically as possible. We ask that you vote for us on Nov. 8. 

Michael Ruger 
Democratic Candidate for Hopewell Township Committee