Thursday, October 18, 2012

Questions for Council Candidates Part 1

18-Oct 2012

 Five Questions
Bogota Blog NJ sent out five questions to the candidates who are running for the two council seats in the 2012 Election on Tuesday 6- Nov.
 The Candidates are :
- For the Democratic party:
  Incumbent Councilman Jorge Nunez. he is seeking reelection to a second term as a Bogota Councilman. He is a member of the Bixby School PTA, as well as being a past PTA Board Member. Council Nunez has served as Fire and Police Commissioner during his term as Council Member.
  Rob Robbins  is running for Borough Council for the first time. He has served as a member on the Board of Education, and is the current President of the Bogota Democratic Club. Mr. Robbins also has served as the president of the Bixby School PTA.
- For the Republican Party:
  Former Councilwoman Anne- Marie Mitchell she was twice elected to the Bogota Borough Council the most recent time being from 2007-2010. Ms. Mitchell is the current Treasurer for the Bogota Library Board ,along with being a Trustee of the Bogota Rescue Squad.
Tina Trotta Is running for Borough Council for the first time she is a member of Big Sisters of America, and a Volunteer for the American Red Cross.
 The questions  will be posted in three parts. Not every question was answered by every candidate but the answers listed are the candidates own work from the correspondents with Bogota Blog NJ. The order in which the answers are presented is random, so each candidate will be the first answer listed for a question.
   Bogota Blog NJ hope this will serve as a useful tool in for the Citizens of the Borough to help them decided on who they should trust with their vote. Bogota Blog NJ will NOT be endorsing any one candidates or party. It is the firm belief of this outlet that the best person with the best ideas be giving the chance to serve the community.

Bogota Blog NJ
-What items in the Borough Budget would you like to see reduced , or modified?
Anne- Marie Mitchell
   I would like to see the debt in our Budget reduced. I believe we should have a freeze on spending the next several years and only on an emergent “EMERGENCY” should we bond. As I sat on council from 2007-2010, and especially my last year on the council, we began to use the Tax Anticipation Notes (“TANS”) which have continued to date. This is a practice which was started for only a “short” time but seems to continue. We also instituted the Accelerated Tax Sale which I believe to have been a mistake and was one of the reasons why I did not vote for the Budget in 2010. I would like to see the Police Reserves line item put back in the Budget. In 2010 it remained under the Police line item and should be reinstated. I would also like to see another line item under the Rescue Squad by adding in a Vehicle Maintenance line item. Each of the other departments have this line item.  I would also like to see the Recycling Program return to our own DPW.  This program was an approximately $65,000 revenue for us each year which in my view, we gave away.  I also would like to review the Court figures before and after the consolidation of our Municipal Court with Little Ferry to see if it is feasible, or not.

Rob Robbins

I cannot comment on something I did not help to create. I am sure the sitting Board did their best to adopt this current budget.

Tina Trotta
Consolidation of services for a town the size of Bogota is a MUST.  I would start with administrative costs.
Our Borough Administrator is considerably overpaid in comparison to other towns. Another area of consolidation could be 
to merge the Property Maintenance enforcement into the DPW.  Additional consolidations could be under consideration 
but lack of transparency with current Mayor and Council makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly with more specifics.   
This town must also rein in some of the spending it is doing -- there is far too much bonding for items that in these times should be
looked at with much greater scrutiny to see if these items are absolutely necessary during this tough economic times. 

Jorge Nunez
More important than reducing or modifying any single item, I think we need to review every single line in the budget and look at every item through new eyes. We must ask what is being funded specifically, why is it being funded, and what are the alternatives? Are we buying and funding items and/or services in the most prudent and transparent manner? Do we have independent specifications (not from vendors vying for our business) for all major items? 
The other side of the budget relates to revenues. Are we aggressively pursuing grant opportunities? What do we need to do to be proactive in identifying and securing grants?
The Budget is the single most important aspect of the role of a Councilperson. Our approach to future budgets requires doing more less, redefining our priorities, and the discipline to make difficult and necessary decisions that reduce the financial burden on seniors and families in Bogota.

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