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Kathryn Weller-Demming: What Other Candidates Aren't Telling You

The deputy mayor running for an at-large council seat issues her first press release of the campaign

 

Deputy Mayor Kathryn Weller-Demming, running for an at-large council seat, issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:

Many of the candidates running for office this year insist that Montclair’s finances are a mess, our crippling debt is bankrupting us, and that municipal spending is out of control.

While that makes a rallying campaign cry, it simply is not true.

In the last four years we have:

  • Trimmed the municipal staff by 10%, without laying-off any police or firefighters.
  • Increased trash collection to twice a week, year round, and saved money doing it.
  • Secured over $1.5 million in state grants with NJ’s first “Complete Streets” program.
  • Leveraged state grants and incentives like 0% interest loans to maintain and improve our infrastructure.
  • Increased shared services and reorganized township government, eliminating six-figure salaried positions.
  • Accelerated the debt schedule to take advantage of low interest rates for long-term savings on service of previously issued debt.
  • Cut new capital debt authorizations to 1/3 of previous levels.
  • Paid down millions more debt than authorized.
  • Standard & Poor’s assigned its AA- rating for Montclair in 2011, citing among other factors “Low-to-moderate overall net debt.”  They further stated, “Overall debt is, in our view, a moderate $4,806 per capita, or a low 2.5% of market value.”
  • Achieved first round certification in Sustainable Jersey.
  • Achieved designation as an EPA Climate Showcase community.

The estimated tax increase this year is approximately 1%.

We have already delivered on the campaign promises certain slates are making.

And we have restored funding to the library, continued township support for the Montclair Community Pre-K and expanded the services we provide for residents while achieving long-term financial benefits in the most challenging economic circumstances.

Last year the Concerned Citizens of Montclair demanded a 0% tax increase with no regard for the long-term financial health of Montclair, and no concrete ideas for achieving their goal. They wanted us to foreclose on the Pre-K, to demand higher payments for shared services which would have forced our partner communities to other providers, to stop leveraging grant funding for our capital needs and to restrict investment in public trees.

The days of rapidly increasing unaffordability for housing in Montclair are behind us, and I am proud to have been a central figure in the successes of the last four years. The council unanimously voted to designate me as the Deputy Mayor, even those with whom I disagree on key policy issues, because they knew they could rely on me to crunch the numbers, read everything and attend countless meetings.

I ask for one of your four votes on May 8, so that I may build on the financially sustainable future I have helped craft for Montclair, and we can all remain here as neighbors without fear of being priced out, and Montclair can remain the vibrant community of values we love.

 

Terry Gorman May 04, 2012 at 04:19 PM
If you are referring to me Prof., it was actually Montclair 2012 that I assumed you were supporting. That assumption was based on reading your posts which led me to believe that there hasn't been a cut suggested, that you have supported. If you don't want any cuts, then Montclair 2012 is the slate for you. One correction regarding your post; I am looking at the Montclair Moms ad in the April 12 edition of the Montclair Times. There is no PTA marker or banner or whatever you want to call it. The ad mentions that the Moms are members of various organizations and include the PTA in that mention. Nothing illegal, underhanded, incorrect or wrong about that mention. Finally, I appreciate that you are a huge supporter of our schools. Even residents who don't use the schools should be supporters if for no other reason than the fact that there is a direct correlation between property values and quality of schools. Many of our town's residents are also big supporters of the town's incredible diversity. For many of us it is why we chose to raise our children here. We want our children to be friends with other children of every race, creed, religion and family structure that there is. If our town does not get its financial house in order, we are going to lose an important aspect of that diversity. I for one am not in favor of the regentrification of Montclair. I support RPM because the will look for the financial savings and efficiences our town deperately needs.
Mara Novak May 04, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I understand the argument regarding anonymity on blogs, though I do not agree. But here, on these election posts, I think it is simply spin at best and cowardice at worst to not use your real name when you either state your support for a candidate or discuss what you don't like about someone. Some of these posts pretty obviously cross the line into rumor-mongering and slander. Would you say these things if you had to sign your name? I bet not.
A. Gideon May 04, 2012 at 04:53 PM
"I don't know the answers to these questions" In fact, you do know the answers to most. But that doesn't stop you from what you yourself call "character assassination". Yet you have the temerity to complain about this from others? I'm astonished at how ridiculous this has become. Consider: "Is Professor Shor a closet brain-dicing zombie, running a schmooze campaign to mislead Montclair brain-owners into becoming his next source of cerebellum sushi? I don't know the answer, but as a potential victim I need to know." In fact, I agree that everyone should refrain from baseless attacks. Where you and I differ is that I would include you in "everyone". ...Andrew
Crafty Spiker May 04, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Well said.
Dan May 04, 2012 at 06:30 PM
We cannot continue to elude the obvious: The schools, municipal government and the county gov't need overhaul. The schools have continuely failed us as taxpayers. I disagree that our greatest asset is our schools. The greatest asset we have, as in any muicipality is the ability and willingness of the residents to pay taxes to support the various vital functions. We continue to make this campaign about personal attacks....behind the scenes financing/support.........who cares. It should be based on results that the incumbents have achieved. I think we can all agree that they have achieved to divide this town and continue unmonitored spending without accountability. I'm tired of the incumbents being defended about how they aren't to blame....in fact they are. Secondly, vote for those who in the absence of public service success have achieved private success, in any form. This constant bantering has taken the focus off the important issues.

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