For the past few months I have tried to better understand "How Things Work" in Hightstown and have learned there are no simple solutions. Our problem is not overspending, our problem is that there is simply no economy of scale. In other words, we don't have a large enough tax base to support our government (that is why our taxes are high), but it's not that government is too big, but the tax base is too small. Our home values have declined since 2008 due to the recession.
My managment experience has taught me the importance of accurate and realistic planning and budgeting and the importance of making decisions on accurate and complete information. Hightstown needs a multi-year financial plan.
A long term financial plan requires vision; and this is our biggest challenge, redefining our vision for the future.
It is important that Borough Council seek a common vision with the official boards and commisions. Strategic decisions should only be made after serious consideration is given to the voices and opinions of the stakeholders of this community. There is too much at stake.
The plan for the Borough Hall Property is a strategic decision in Council's hands right now. This decision impacts the future development of the Rug Mill Property, which is a key initiative to redevelop downtown and improve property values.
We need a more vibrant downtown. An increase in the value of commercial ratables would decrease the tax burden on homeowners.
Development of a long term vision, promoting long term fiscal planning and stimulating economic growth are my key initiatives.
I am not an idealist, but a realist who holds out hope for a better Hightstown.