All of the candidates were asked to answer the same questions about themselves and their political stances for East Windsor Patch. Patch will be running these candidate profiles up until the election.
DENISE HANSEN CANDIDATE PROFILEName: Denny Hansen
Education: BS Accounting Degree
Occupation: Independent Accounting Consultant
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and why you should be elected.
In 2005, my husband and I decided to make Hightstown our new home. We purchased our home on Association Park and proceeded with a much needed renovation.
I have 1 daughter, 2 stepdaughters and 2 granddaughters.
Hightstown’s negative publicity for the next few years compounded by the recession in 2008 had me worried about my quality of life and home value decline. Then, in 2010, the Police Merger negotiation with East Windsor failed and in 2011 Hurricane Irene created the Borough Hall and Police Dept flooding disaster. In 2012, my frustration with Council’s direction peaked, and I decided to try to make a difference by getting involved. I entered the Campaign for council …but lost by a narrow margin last November.
The current Council’s 2013 decisions continue to lack strategic focus. We cannot afford another wrong, short sighted decision or missed opportunity, so when approached to run in the 2013 Campaign I agreed.
I am not an idealist, but a realist who holds out hope for an affordable and sustainable Hightstown.
2. What do you think distinguishes you from other candidates? What do you bring to the table?
What distinguishes me from the other candidates is my 30 year business background as a Director and Regional Director of Finance . Financial management in Hotel properties not only includes financial reporting, managerial accounting, budgeting, strategic planning & decision making but includes the management of the owner’s real property investment, that is, the building an grounds maintenance as well as Capital Improvement Projects & Renovations.
From 1995 to 2005 I volunteered my financial skills as Treasurer of non-profit corporation in our lakeside community on Greenwood Lake in West Milford, NJ. where I managed the finances for the major road improvements including road drainage, construction and repair & maintenance of the 8 miles of private roads in our 150 home community. My husband with his construction management background led this endeavor and we along with other volunteers made a huge contribution.
I would bring the depth of my experience and the scope of my management & fiduciary responsibilities to the council table and be an asset to the governing body of Hightstown.
3. What are the most pressing issues facing the community today? How would you approach and resolve these issues?
Highstown faces serious challenges; the most immediate tasks for early 2014 include:
- An insurance settlement on Hurricane Irene damages to Borough buildings
- A Municipal Complex decision
- Appointment of a Borough Administrator
- Union Contract Negotiations
But the core problem is that we appear ungovernable. In order for a new council to govern effectively we must rebuild Council’s reputation with stakeholders, neighboring municipalities, business partners and residents. We must work with and respect the opinions of our own Boards and Professionals. Relationships are important to our success. We must rebuild the poor public image of our governing body with good behavior and good public relations.
The most pressing issue is our high and increasing Municipal Property Taxes and our declining home values.
In 2006 I paid $1479; in 2013, $2563 for a 73% increase. My home value dropped from $347K in 2005 to $228K in 2013 not accounting for a $100,000 renovation.
My goal is to find real cost savings through high impact initiatives, namely, Police Outsourcing or Municipal Consolidation with East Windsor.
The 1st step in either of these initiatives is to create a Shared Service/Consolidation Study Commission to consider what options are right for Hightstown and East Windsor.
We are a town of only 1976 households struggling to pay for the costs of an administration and Police Department.
We must realize that both status quo and progress are not compatible.