Issues

 

Property Taxes
Taxes are issue number one for every resident in Woodland Park, Passaic County, and New Jersey. With Governor Christie’s cap on property taxes in place, we must run an efficient municipal government to sustain the services our residents expect. Every line of the budget is reviewed and evaluated yearly. The governing body has and will continue to make informed decisions about what is cut, and what remains. Nevertheless, everything is on the table in keeping our property taxes stable.

The process for crafting the budget is transparent and accountable. The Mayor and Council have hosted town hall meeting for members of the public to hear feedback, listen to concerns and develop solutions. Additional town hall events will be scheduled so any resident can attend and raise their issues to the governing body. Everyone is in this together, and the Democratic Mayor and Council are committed to working with everyone in Woodland Park to come to a consensus on the budget and to control taxes.

 

McBride Avenue & Browertown Road Zoning & Streetscape Project
A major objective of the Mayor and Council is to attain grants and begin work on the McBride Avenue and Browerton Road Streetscape project. These improvements to our business corridor are threefold: promote economic vitality, enhance beautification, and create safe pedestrian walkways and parking areas. This work effort will bring together all of the stakeholders in Woodland Park – residents, business owners, and government officials – to craft a long-term beautification plan to map out the future of this area.

In order to maximize economic productivity in the town, we need to create an atmosphere driven by business owners, not by the government. By bringing everyone to the table, we will create an attractive downtown area in our community that will encourage residents from all over the region to make the Woodland Park business district a shopping destination.

Everyone has a role to play. New Jersey Transit, the Department of Transportation, the Woodland Park Business Association, local government and planning experts will make sure we aren’t thinking about what McBride Avenue will look like in just five years – but what it will look like in thirty years. We need to put together a comprehensive plan to make sure shoppers are visiting our local businesses and sustaining our local economy.

 

Recreation & Open Space
One of our top priorities has always been giving our children every opportunity to participate in recreational programs, ensuring there are safe parks and fields. As the former Chairman of the Recreation & Community Relations Committee, Mayor Kazmark worked to protect open space and revitalize our parks for our children. Through the Mayor and Council’s work with the West Paterson Boys & Girls Club, we continue to give kids a safe place to play after school and participate in sports programs year round.

The open space goals for the Mayor and Council currently include Phase 2 of the Memorial Field Improvement project and the installation of a spray park in Zaccaria Park.
Partnering with the county, we were able to preserve and upgrade Dowling Gardens in the heart of our business district – making it an attraction for wedding photos and special events. These, along with many other upgrades throughout our community, are projects we need to continue to build upon. We will continue to work with our county government to bring open space money into Woodland Park, this year for Rose Place Park which is in need of improvements.

Studies show that open space and parks increase property values and make a community more attractive for residents and businesses. We must continue to build upon past successes to protect our open space and maintain our parks as some of the best in Passaic County.

 

Shared Services
As we move forward, sharing services needs to be a part of a long-term plan to keep our taxes stable. Consolidation, bulk purchasing of materials and energy, and collaborative efforts to solve common problems of the Passaic Valley region need to play a major role in our future. Home rule is still as important as ever – we need our own voice in determining the direction of Woodland Park. Nonetheless, we will work with neighboring communities to save tax dollars and enhance efficiencies.

We are already bearing the fruit of these collaborations as part of a countywide program to purchase electricity in bulk. By teaming with other communities in Passaic County, the electricity “co-op” is going to save local governments between 15% and 26% in savings a year. We need to emulate projects like this to get the best bang for our buck.

The Mayor and Council majority will continue to work with Passaic County and neighboring local governments to find areas where we can work together and save money through shared services agreements.

 

Passaic & Peckman River Flooding
The Mayor and Council majority supported the establishment of the Woodland Park, Little Falls and Cedar Grove – Passaic Valley Regional Flood Control Board to jointly address flooding issues along the Peckman River in the Passaic Valley region. The thought process in creating such a board was that flooding along the Passaic and Peckman Rivers is not just one community’s problem, but everyone’s problem.

Any proposed new development along the Passaic or Peckman Rivers must factor in the joint consequences for all the municipalities sin the Passaic River Basin.

Every community is feeling the pressure to live within the new 2 percent property tax cap and to create new ratables, but this does not mean permitting projects with the potential to cause serious long-term consequences to life and property along our rivers.

We must continue to work together as one cohesive entity, like our towns did with regard to the proposed development of the Alfieri tract on Wilmore Road in Little Falls. With the help of local Congressmen and the Passaic County Board of Freeholders, we responsibly prevented further flooding by preserving that land.

Most recently the Mayor and Council have approved the FEMA purchase of four abandoned homes in the flood zone that will now be returned to open space, successfully lobbied to have the flash boards removed near the Great Falls in Paterson and have worked with the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission to remove fallen trees and debris from the Peckman and Passaic Rivers.

 

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