Councilmen Jeff Voigt speech full text:
Village Council speech:
First, thank you for your vote of confidence during the recent election. I am humbled by that confidence and committed to working towards solutions that are in the best interests of the Village.
Most especially, I would like to thank my campaign team: Sergio Alegre, Chad Chadwick, Wendy Dockray, Carol and Kevin Mattessich, Bill McCabe and Ann Spalckhaver. They are a great group of people who care deeply about Ridgewood. I would also like to thank many of you in the audience for your help during my campaign. It was a blast to work with you and I look forward to doing so moving forward.
We have a number of issues facing us over the coming years – a few of them 800 pound gorillas that are all too obvious. The solutions to these issues actually lie within this room with those who have influence over our Village – and I am talking most specifically about those in the audience. I sincerely hope this energizes you as; you are going to be asked to help in solving these issues. This also includes those with opposing views as; we need your inputs and help in this. They say that listening to, understanding, and incorporating opposing views and differences of opinion make for better decisions. I could not agree more. Let’s work together.
It is important that in these solutions we do what is best for our Village. These solutions can result in making our Village more user friendly, accessible, attractive to others, affordable and; a better place to live for us all. We as a community can do this if we keep this this in mind – namely in doing what is best for our Village.
Let’s also try and figure out solutions through less expensive and time consuming means such as compromise – meaning opposing sides sit down with each other and give to get and; in turn win in the end.
My goals over the coming 4 years are to work with you in solving these issues for the betterment of the Village and its residents. In touring our Village infrastructure with Roberta Sonenfeld, our Village Manager, I was struck by the fact we have a number of under-utilized assets that we can take advantage of for increased revenue generation – potentially marketing these services to other municipalities/businesses. These additional $$$ can be used for numerous initiatives, including lowering our taxes. We are going to look at maximizing these assets to increase our revenue streams with the committees I will be working on.
Job one, however, and I believe as well for my colleagues on the dais, is to solve our parking issue downtown, with a focus on a re-alignment of parking spaces and streets, a smaller Hudson St garage, and with innovative pricing – while simultaneously making our downtown more accessible, user friendly, and safer.
With innovative pricing, the parking utility can be a more significant revenue and surplus generator for the Village – helping to defray other costs. Let’s also re-think high density housing downtown in a way that makes sense, fits with, and actually enhances the character of our Village. Additionally, Valley Hospital needs to be a better neighbor and come up with solutions that actually make sense for our neighbors in the surrounding Valley area. Having relevant expertise in the field of healthcare, I am confident Valley can work towards this and in turn thrive in this rapidly evolving healthcare market. With these and other initiatives, I plan to reach out to all relevant constituencies whether they be developers, Valley, the chamber of commerce, and the residents to keep the dialogue going in order to work towards viable solutions.
Not surprisingly, some of these issues have been hotly contested with the outgoing council majority – Mayor Paul Aronsohn, Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli, and Councilwoman Gwen Hauck. I have to thank them for teeing up a number of them. It can safely be said that there was never a dull moment in
Village Hall with you on the council. One of my concerns is that future council meetings may not be as entertaining as they have been in the recent past.
Interestingly, by your making us keenly aware of these issues it may make the path towards resolution easier. Let’s use any momentum that has been gained through this process in putting some of these issues to bed.
I look forward to working with the residents and various boards and committees on these and other initiatives. We have many committed, smart, and talentedcitizens on our boards and committees and in our Village who can help in figuring out how to make this a better place to live. This is what I am actually looking forward to most – in working with you to accomplish this. My commitment is to work hand and hand with you and; in ensuring those who do the work, get the credit and recognition.
I also look forward to working with the new council – Susan Knudsen, Bernie Walsh, Ramon Hache, and Mike Sedon. You the residents have voted in 5 independently minded people and now the fun begins.
They say what you put into something is what you get out of it. I wholeheartedly agree. This is going to be my second full time job and I am confident it will be time well spent and extremely gratifying.
Lastly, I would like to thank my family – my wife Patty and my children, Ryan, Kevin, and Emily. We have lived here for over 23 years and call Ridgewood home. It is a great place to raise a family and live the rest of your life in. Patty and I plan on doing so and in calling many of you our friends and neighbors over the coming years.
Let’s all work towards making Ridgewood an even better place to live than it