Editor’s note: Election Day is Nov. 4. On the ballot in Rahway will be elections for mayor and three at-large City Council seats in addition to the remaining two years of an unexpired term for 6th Ward City Council. The three mayoral candidates were invited to present their platforms on redevelopment and will appear this week. Samson Steinman appeared on Monday and Renee Bridges Thrash appeared on Tuesday.
As Mayor, I will focus on redeveloping Rahway with a thriving downtown business/office center together with a residential and retail mix. Maintaining the arts, entertainment, and restaurants.
Redevelopment in Rahway is broken. The mass resignation last month of the Rahway Redevelopment Agency Commissioners and the Executive Director in the face of an investigation by the State Comptrollers office are just the tip of the iceberg. The failure of my opponent to make the City’s designated redeveloper to operate a hotel in Rahway shows a lack of leadership. The hotel is a must, even if we have to go to court to get the developer to honor his contract.
Redevelopment in Rahway should focus on bringing businesses, retail, and office space into our downtown, not on building hundreds and hundreds of apartments. Our small business owners should have a friend in City hall. The recent closing of streets during business hours hurt our small shops owners. I will involve and work with all stakeholders downtown and listen to their concerns. We will create more opportunities. A food store is one example that I believe we can accomplish.
Rahway has become very expensive and high propriety taxes are the reason. The political machine has raised property taxes and increased debt to record levels. Their political appointed positions and no bid contracts add to the property tax burden. Studies show the upper management salaries in the City of Rahway are some of the highest in NJ. The Redevelopment Director/Business Administrator was being paid $300,000 per year! That is outrageous! All hiring goes through political bosses instead of being done or sound management reasons. My team has studied many areas of waste and mismanagement in the city budget. We have identified over 3 million dollars of waste. We will free up this money to stabilize taxes and work hard everyday with the goal of saving tax dollars for our working families.
The current mayor’s cozy relationship with the political-insider contractors threatens the future of Rahway’s hard working families. His redevelopment projects and planned projects don’t pay school taxes (PILOT). As Mayor, I will also focus on strengthening our schools as a critical element of the overall picture of a vital community. Let’s not be just a transient community! I will fight for the interest of Rahway residents first, not developers.
Rahway should support the Arts, but I would attempt to get more private donations from Merck and others to help. I would give our residents more free opportunities to attend some of the events. Residents would feel part of this new Arts community and support our downtown.
We can build a better Rahway. We can attract a wide range of development that incorporates our entire city and helps to build a real community. Redevelopment should be serving this goal, not vice versa. We have the infrastructure; we just need the leadership to bring it all together. I will bring that bold leadership. I would respectfully ask for you vote as Mayor on November 4th.