Support Hardworking Candidates
To The Editor:
When I first moved to Verona, it was a very different place from a governing standpoint. I was stunned to attend Council meetings and see the way that the Town Manager spoke down to both members of the public and the Council Itself. I also saw what struck me as wasteful expenditures and several cowed council members who seemed to be led, almost exclusively, by that same abrupt and condescending Town Manager. I resolved to become more aware of how my town was being governed.
My initial dismay was tempered as I began to see a movement to counter this situation and, over the last couple of elections, the addition of able and independent representatives Kevin Ryan, Michael Nochimson and Alex Roman.
Fast forward to today: We have a different Town Manager and Kevin Ryan, now our Mayor, is up for re-election. During his six years in office, he voted against the first four budgets, reflecting the ethos of the previous administration. The budgets made inefficient use of our resources, particularly insofar as staffing imbalances and excessive overtime, and caused our municipal taxes to continually rise.
He voted in favor of the last two budgets, which held the municipal tax rate flat. As promised, the influence of these conscientious newer council members reflected the personal budgetary concerns of Verona’s residents. His record of holding the line on new taxes speaks for itself. And while fear mongers threatened that we’d experience cuts in our town’s amenities, they’ve actually been expanded to include useful services such as curbside cardboard collection. Ryan has also been mindful and supportive of necessary infrastructural and technological improvements, supporting upgrades to our library and new software and communications systems for both the VPD and the municipal system. The necessary corrections that have been made to put us back on the right path provide ample evidence for why Ryan’s astute leadership needs to continue.
Ryan is the only incumbent running in this election, but there is another candidate whose background makes him a choice that I can have confidence in to continue the good work that has begun. That candidate is Jack McEvoy.
Unlike other current candidates who are entirely new to our municipal process, McEvoy has been attending Town Council, Board of Adjustment and Planning Board meetings for several years, contributing sage suggestions on a wide range of issues. His commitment to continually participate shows an unparalleled degree of interest and concern for our town and its future. He also regularly volunteers for the Verona Environmental Commission and is a Board Member for the Hillwood Terrace (Senior Citizen Housing). With a background in construction, he is the ideal candidate to keep a strict and watchful eye on cost overruns in upcoming building projects, such as the Library and the Fire House. As a local business and commercial real estate owner, he also knows what needs to be done to attract new businesses to Verona, developing a vital shopping corridor with safer, pedestrian-friendly streets.
Yes, we still have high taxes in Verona. With contracts negotiated years ago still in place, a moderate and reasonable tax burden is still a distant goal, but we have made immense progress. We need astute and hard-working candidates like Ryan and McEvoy to help us reach that goal through wise fiscal oversight, transparent procedures and sensible policies.