>Village Council Elections : Russell Forenza hits the world wide web https://sites.google.com/site/russforenza/
Charitable Donations to the Town. I am fundamentally opposed to “pay to play,” but the situation involving the Bolger Foundation deserved more respect. The next councilperson should actively recruit civically-minded philanthropists like Mr. Bolger to keep the bills down for everyone else.
Public Access. Democracy works best when all its citizens are informed. At present, only select cable providers broadcast our town council meetings. This is a disservice to both the council and the people it serves, and I would like to correct it.
Graydon Pool. I am an advocate of most anything that moves our town forward. But progress can’t run rough-shod over our neighbors on fixed and moderate incomes. Any renovations to Graydon should be tempered by its impact on the average taxpayer.
Land Use. Habernickel Park, the corner of Linwood and Paramus Road, the Schedler lot, the Brogan Cadillac site… these are properties that people have high emotions about. As councilman, I would like to host a “town hall” meeting to foster an open dialog about the issues surrounding these spaces.
There is little that council can do about D.O.E. salaries, which are determined by the Board of Education. But council can—and should—revisit the salary and fringe benefits awarded to our most senior employees. The public should also be made aware of what provisions have been implemented in the wake of municipal layoffs in various village departments.
Procurement. Our purchasing orders and contracts deserve a full, transparent review. If elected to council, I would like to facilitate just that.
Commerce. The market will ultimately determine where our ratables go, but we still need to support our friends and neighbors downtown: our local merchants who pay taxes, bring in revenue, and add to our culture.
Pedestrian Safety. Ensuring pedestrian safety is a top priority. I support the planning board in its recent attempts to make our downtown more pedestrian friendly, and I would sincerely like to work with them in any effort to make our roads and crosswalks safer for our children and families.
Property Taxes. I would bring an entire career of budget and finance experience to the council. As the Budget Officer for New Jersey’s third largest city, I have 19 years of professional experience balancing very large, complex, and nuanced municipal budgets. In this economy, families are tightening their wallets. In the absence of municipal aid and other sources of funding… so, too, must our beloved Ridgewood.
Valley Hospital. Valley is my neighbor. My house is three blocks away. I have lived through prior renovations and I support this one. Let me be clear: I have a vested interest in opposing any renewal that is outside the letter of the law (we all do), but—within reason— we owe it to ourselves to keep our families healthy and our hospital current. If elected, I will monitor Valley’s construction compliance, in accord with their obligation to our town and its character.
Services and Programs. Like most Ridgewood residents, I support increased efficiency in municipal services like sanitation, snow removal, and road resurfacing. I’d like to go one stop further, though, and mention the value of our family programs: our Fourth of July parade, our Memorial Day Run, our tree lighting ceremony… these are the hallmarks of our community, and they need to be preserved.
Youth and Family. Ridgewood is a great town. So many people are proud to call it home. Among other things, we have great schools, great commerce, and fine dining. In times of crisis, we come together as friends and neighbors. We have an authentic character. As a lifelong resident, I have a vested interest in preserving and promoting our character in pursuit of the common good.
Transparency in Government. Here, I’ve spelled out my positions on some hot-button issues—even the most contentious ones. I recognize my opinions won’t bode well with everyone, but that’s politics: the choice is yours. Nevertheless, I hope you’ll consider the honesty with which I have stated my case, and I hope you will contact me if you have additional questions or concerns: Russ.Forenza@gmail.com