Murphy: Record shows fiscally conservative government

Throughout this campaign, questions have been asked and assertions have been made about the size of government and fiscal responsibility. These are great questions and deserve more than campaign rhetoric and empty promises.

I believe I bring a balanced approach to issues facing the Assembly. I listen to both sides, do my own research and make a reasoned decision supported by fact, not emotion. I do my homework, I work hard, and I ask how decisions we make will affect the borough not just in the short term, but years down the road.

Yes, we need a conservative voice on the Assembly. I believe I am that voice.

Let’s look at my record, beginning with my service on the administrative side. During my first year as borough clerk, I reorganized the Records Department, eliminating one full time position, and significantly cut the election budget. During my term on the Assembly, we have approved what are basically status quo budgets, keeping property taxes stable and maintaining a healthy fund balance to assure a sound financial future. I sponsored legislation requiring fiscal notes on all proposed new programs, something the borough has not had in place for decades. Although I was unsuccessful in my attempt to remove the Assembly from the borough’s health insurance program, I did personally opt out, saving the borough about $18,000 annually.

What does my opponent’s record indicate? During his six years as borough mayor, Mr. Bagley increased personal services by 53% (including 32 new fulltime positions) and general fund expenditures by 31.53%. Yes, he did reduce taxes, but this would have occurred naturally with the retirement of school bond indebtedness that saved the borough approximately $8 million annually. Despite this savings, five of his six budgets reflected deficit spending resulting in a 43.61% decrease in the total fund balance (general fund) and a sizeable transfer from the land trust fund. The borough’s policy prior to this time was to retain a total fund balance of $22-$28 million, with $8.5 million reserved for working capital. When Mr. Bagley left office, the TOTAL fund balance was approximately $15.3 million, some $7 million less than the minimum established policy.

So, who is the small government fiscal conservative? I think the record speaks for itself.

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