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.
STEVEN MISIURA CANDIDATE PROFILE
Name: Steven Misiura
Education: Bachelor of Architecture, Pratt Institute
Occupation: Architect with Skidmore Owings and Merrill
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background and why you should be elected.
I am a long time area resident and, along with my wife Deirdre, have been a Hightstown homeowner for over 15 years. We are raising two daughters who attend the East Windsor Regional Schools and I am a licensed architect with 25 years of experience.
Since 2004 I have been a member of the Hightstown Planning Board and have served as chairman since 2006. In that capacity I have worked with Borough staff, the department heads and the various boards and commissions. I have worked with 2 different mayors, 4 administrators and over a dozen council people. In addition, I have formed a solid working relationship with East Windsor Township.
I feel that based on my Planning Board experience and my professional background, that I would be an effective council person, able to address the current issues that the Borough faces, as well as plan for a viable and sustainable future and new path forward for Hightstown.
2. What do you think distinguishes you from other candidates? What do you bring to the table?
I bring to the table both my professional experience and my planning board experience. I have 25 years of building design, construction and development having worked for major architecture and engineering firms during my career. I believe that this will be of great value when making decisions on major capital projects.
My Planning Board experience has enabled me to understand the workings of Borough government and how the council, staff and volunteers, are crucial to making the Borough function. As chairman I have come to appreciate the necessity of conducting business within the rules of order, in an open and transparent manner and obtaining all the necessary information prior to making a decision. I am also hopeful that, if elected, the good working relationship that I have established with our neighboring community at the planning board level will carry over to Council.
3. What are the most pressing issues facing the community today? How would you approach and resolve these issues?
An immediate issue facing the Borough is determining the location and scope of a new municipal building. Denny and I have been active and outspoken on this issue. We were leaders of a petition drive which successfully delayed council from moving forward with rebuilding the Borough Hall in the flood zone without knowing the full costs or the insurance coverage. This issue touches upon many other issues facing the Borough, such as the redevelopment of the rug mill and potential shared services agreements.
We must revisit the option of a neighboring community taking over our police, courts and dispatch, since not only is there a likely savings based on economies of scale, but we could also eliminate a potential $4 million dollar taxpayer expense in building new facilities to house those services. These savings could translate into tax reductions and free up financial resources that can be directed elsewhere, such as code enforcement which is a frequent complaint that we hear from residents that we speak to.
The over arching issue facing the Borough is high taxes coupled with depressed property values. This is not only a financial burden to homeowners, but also causes an increase to the number of rental properties due to homeowners being unwilling to sell at a loss or absentee landlords buying up foreclosed properties in order to generate income.
With the large percentage of tax exempt properties and limited areas for growth in commercial development, the only way to lessen the tax burden on homeowners for the long-term is consolidation with East Windsor. In order for that to happen we must form a joint consolidation committee and begin the difficult task of finding ways to make consolidation a benefit to both communities. In the meantime we must find ways to deliver municipal services in the most cost effective way possible.