The homepage of my website, supermanformayor.com, in bold lettering states a primary theme of my campaign: “Local government is where the rubber meets the road. We are the ones who must still provide the basic services of education, public safety, waste disposal etc. As the state continues to offload many of its historic funding obligations to the local level, we face the challenge of continued delivery of services communities need and desire as we grow and progress into the 21st century.”
I have taken my duties as Assembly representative and President seriously. The past four years’ work have given me the confidence of borough government experience, knowledge, and a collective sense of community direction lacking in other candidates. This confidence and sense has been honed by constant interaction with business and industry, the man on the street, our service areas, assembly members, legislators, councils, chambers, churches and schools. As a true Independent and non-partisan in fact, my ears are closed to none. I know that what is best for the borough and its citizens often doesn’t correlate to party lines or dogma. Be that as it may, I know that most of us want to keep and/or improve our quality of life in our communities, and want it done in a tax wise manner.
Principled but practical is a cornerstone of my philosophy toward local government. The alluded to task in the opening demands action but wisdom acknowledging all components impacting our budget. First, like all goods in the marketplace, borough government services have increased in price. Even with these increases, the assembly passed a general government budget that remained virtually flat for FY 05 to FY 06. Next, though some budget liabilities have been the result of choice, significant impacts over the last three years have been beyond our control. These are recurring annual expenses and annual losses of revenue we have had to absorb:
n Average increase to Local Share of Education Funding $1.5 million due to recent Foundation Formula increases. Compounded by the states’ refusal to address the Area Cost Differential shortchanging our district upward of $10 million annually since the passage of SB 36.
· Complete loss of Revenue Sharing and Municipal Assistance; average annual historic loss-$2.7 million.
· Solid Waste Post closure costs (Fed mandated) $471,000.
· Voter approved Solid Waste debt, $870,000
· Voter approved School Debt (Seward), $360,000
· PERS, average increase $330,000 per year
· Health Insurance, average increase $200,000 per year
· A growing Senior Tax Exemption program which I will continue to support (state mandated at $150,000). General fund cost, $1.9 million. State Revenue, $0.
... I will continue to make every effort to keep our homeowners’ tax bills reasonably stable. Crucial to this will be the defeat of Proposition 5. More importantly, I have the demonstrated ability to openly work with this assembly to bring the Legislature back to the table. ... I pledge accountability, at $65 a barrel, shouldn’t they?
Editor’s note: Candidate Superman’s column was edited to fit a 500-word limit.
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