The number one priority of county government is to manage and provide critical services. That ability is severely diminished when it is overburdened by debt and is crippling residents with taxation. In government, it is always easy to give, knowing you won’t be there when either the bank breaks, or the taxpayers' backs do. The public has the right to be informed of decisions that affect the financial health, safety, and welfare of the county. An ordinance that establishes no borrowing that exceeds 2% of the annual appropriations of the county without voter approval will guarantee that the process of acquiring debt is done in the open and publicly debated, and will curtail discretionary spending on non-essential goods and services without direct public support. Expectations, timelines, and funding sources must be clearly communicated to the residents to foster trust in those elected to serve.
New Jersey consistently delivers reduced liberties coupled with higher taxes, and this is a toxic combination. We are frustrated with laws and unfunded mandates that are passed at the state level by a Democrat majority that does not live in Sussex County, nor do they understand the unique needs of our area. This legislation has negatively affected our property values, our levels of school funding, and the ability for our businesses to grow and in turn provide sustainable employment opportunities. It is critical that elected officials at both the municipal and county levels exercise fiscal restraint to ease the burden of this unsustainable tax-and-spend mentality promulgated in Trenton, and advocate for our tax dollars to remain here in Sussex County.
Six counties and 34 municipalities in the state of New Jersey have established local ethics boards. In direct alignment with the provisions of P.L.1972, c.154 (C.40:41A-1 et seq.), Sussex County should establish a county ethics board consisting of six county residents, with no more than one individual from the same municipality and no more than three members from the same political party. This board should be free of any financial interest or personal bias, and will be responsible for adopting a county ethics code in order to bring additional transparency to county government.
You cannot possibly govern at the county level if you do not effectively communicate with each municipality. To that end, each Freeholder should be assigned as liaison to specific municipalities in order to build relationships and ensure services reach every corner of the county. The Freeholder Board must be present, and cannot lead from the sidelines. We will listen to what municipal leaders need for their respective communities, and will not attempt to micromanage the towns or the county employees. Our biggest asset in the county is our human capital, and county government must steward a vision of unity, respect, and true servant leadership.