Q&A with Summit Patch
What do you think is the most pressing issue facing Summit constituents at this time? What do you intend to do about it?
The most pressing issues facing Summit constituents at this time is consistent year in and year out. People are concerned about their taxes and the safety of their families. The record is clear on municipal taxes. We have consistently delivered budgets with near zero increases or slight upticks by making tough but responsible choices while delivering the services our residents have come to expect. These budgets will help ensure a financially secure future for our City and retain our Triple A bond rating from all major rating agencies.
I am proud to say our beautiful town is highly maintained whether it’s our sports facilities, our parks, our historic downtown, our town pool, or our public golf course. The other issue that concerns residents is the safety of their families. We have the finest police force in the State of New Jersey. Council has wisely made it safer for our pedestrians with traffic calming measures all over town to help reduce speeding. There is more work to be done but we’re on the right track. It is vital that we stay focused on pedestrian safety because people of all ages enjoy walking around town.
The proposed Broad Street West redevelopment has caused a lot of dialogue in Summit. What are your hopes for this new development? Do you have any concerns about it?
My hopes for the Broad Street West redevelopment are that the finished product addresses many of the City’s needs. One of Summit’s greatest needs is affordable housing. Broad Street West will provide a diverse selection of housing that will include affordable, workforce and luxury housing. The City has a legal, and I believe a moral obligation, to get to 50 affordable housing units by 2026. These apartments will get us much closer to our goal. The luxury apartments will fill a segment of the marketplace that Summit lacks right now. Residents that are looking to downsize from their home without sacrificing their current amenities will now have a luxuryoption that will enable them to remain in Summit. Besides the diversity of housing options, my hope is that BSW becomes a neighborhood that enhances and complements our historic downtown. The residents that will occupy this building will be centrally located with the convenience to walk to town, the train, or to the park. Right now, BSW has a very old firehouse and parking lots and is not a very attractive part of Summit. With the new streetscape, native plantings, and buried utility wires, BSW will be transformed into an area that we will all be proud of.
My main concern about Broad Street West is that this is an enormous undertaking and it’s been very challenging. My wife and I moved here in 2006 and I started hearing about redevelopment almost immediately and I know that residents have been talking about it for more than 30 years. There’s a reason why it was talked about but never done – it’s really hard. The thing that alleviates my concern and boosts my confidence is the transparent process. There have been multiple public outreach sessions going back to 2016 and we have consistently engaged the public at Council meetings and in one-on-one conversations. The current Council and previous Councils have listened intently and done their due diligence and we continue to do so.
Summit has seen an increase in car thefts over the past year or so. Do you think the city is doing enough to combat this issue? If not, what needs to be done to prevent thefts?
It’s not only Summit that has seen an increase in car thefts but many other towns and areas of the country are experiencing this criminal activity as well. As I stated earlier, we have the finest police force in the State of NJ and I am extremely confident in their ability to manage this issue. Without going into too many details about police tactics, there has been a renewed effort to increase community education and outreach. The Summit Police are patrolling our neighborhoods using a grid system where 8-10 streets are grouped together and routinely tracked and patrolled. We have seen the results with fewer thefts recently and 9 incidents that have been deterred. Car thefts in Summit have been an issue for many years and it’s been exacerbated by the keyless fobs that people leave in their unlocked vehicles. As much attention as our Police force is giving this issue, they also need help from the public. And there is one thing that would be extremely helpful to our SPD and that is to be mindful of taking your key fob into your home and locking your car. If we can get more of our residents doing this consistently, it will reduce these thefts and keep our officers safer.
Is there anything else you would like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
When it comes to my positions it comes down to a few things:
I am fiscally responsible with the residents’ tax dollars.
I am focused on pedestrian safety and traffic calming measures. My wife and I walk a
great deal and we always allowed our children the freedom to walk to their friend’s
house or to town. Summit is a very safe place but we can always strive to be better.
In my first year on Council I was absolutely thrilled to be involved in the first Pride
celebrations in Summit.
I love our outdoor spaces in Summit and it is a priority of mine to upgrade and enhance these spaces so that more people can enjoy them.