Our city is in dire straits and in need of meaningful economic development to include an upgrade in our housing stock. Decent affordable housing contributes to the improved physical, economic, environmental, social health and sustainability of communities. However, it is very difficult to reach this plain without a government that can create its own opportunities and can make smart investments that establishes a sense of independence from government funding. Throughout the course of the past 3 ½ years we learned of losses in funding due to mismanagement by this administration that have had a direct negative impact on all of us who live here. This current administrations’ inability to demonstrate the capacity to be fiscally responsible resulted in our bond rating plummeting to an all-time low nearing a junk bond rating.
The purpose of a revaluation is to insure that property owners pay their fair share of property taxes by bringing assessments up to 100 percent of market value. We understand that. We also understand that the state orders that the process takes place. However; what we don’t support is an administration that allows a flawed process to go forward and the taxpayers pay for their ineptness. Many misconceptions associated with the revaluation would have been dispelled if taxpayers were properly informed, engaged and provided with an opportunity to participate in the process.
This administration has been consistent in its failure to keep the public informed on major issues affecting taxes, health and water quality issues, leadership at the Board of Education, and have failed at developing a proper snow and trash removal plan for our city. In the face of what was a non-conforming development plan for our Downtown area touted by outgoing Governor Christie, this administration sided with Christie and turned a blind eye and death ear to the concerns of our Assembly leaders, activist and community leaders who asked to explain why these projects would be allowed to proceed without input or proper review of that plan.
I met with, consoled, marched with and provided advice to the members of the Not in My Neighborhood – community group that advocates against gun violence and serve as conduits for parents seeking answers to the senseless violence that plagues this city.
Trenton’s curb appeal is nonexistent. The state of cleanliness of our city streets is appalling and only serves to further obscure the true beauty of this city. There are plenty of reasons for this; however, I assert, by far, the biggest part of this issue is the city’s mismanagement of sanitation resources and a lack of creativity, surveillance and enforcement to get a grip on Trenton’s trash and filth. Many of you here are familiar with the renowned “Broken Windows Theory”. But this administration does not appear to be. Our city continues to suffer from blight that has a negative effect on surrounding property values, which not only hurts adjacent property owners but reduces local property tax revenue. The cost of these empty lots and abandoned homes is not simply a cosmetic black eye for our city; blight causes real, tangible problems and is directly connected to the criminal activity of the city. In May 2017 the outgoing governor announced his plan to eliminate blighted properties in the city to the tune of $11 million dollars. We have yet to hear about a comprehensive teardown/buildup plan or a post-demolition masterplan from the city that clearly depicts how they intend to utilize this opportunity.
Strong relationships of mutual trust between police agencies and the communities they serve are critical to maintaining public safety and effective policing. Police officials rely on the cooperation of community members to provide information about crime in their neighborhoods, and to work with the police to devise solutions to crime and disorder problems. Similarly community members’ willingness to trust the police depends on whether they believe that police actions reflect community values and incorporate the principles of procedural justice and legitimacy. That is why I will be looking to review the current organizational structure of our Police, look to the strategic deployment of our officers and offer plans to develop an advance placement studies program for our seniors to prepare those interested in a Law Enforcement Career.
But in order for this to happen we need a functional City government that can manage the city finances, provide quality services, clean our streets, have a solid functioning public safety plan for the city, communicate with clarity, be the advocate for the people, and a partner to the educational development of our youth.
I plan to work tirelessly to gain the confidence of every ward of the city and encourage input from individuals who are interested in the betterment of this city. We have laid the ground work, engaging with the diverse communities and their leadership that make up the fabric of our city.