Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood Council Hopefuls Outline Priorities

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ridgewood Council Hopefuls Outline Priorities

Article excerpt

RIDGEWOOD - Property taxes, a sluggish downtown and the still- looming question of the expansion of The Valley Hospital top the issues being raised by council candidates running in Tuesday's non- partisan election.

The candidates for three four-year terms include Paul S. Aronsohn, Russell Forenza, Gwenn H. Hauck, Keith D. Killion, Albert Pucciarelli, and Mary Jane Shinozuka. Aronsohn and Killion are incumbents in the race.

Stephen Wellinghorst, who won a seat in a special election two years ago, is not running.

Pucciarelli, an attorney, said the most pressing issue is high taxes. "We have to find new ways to do business and not settle for compounding increases year after year that exceed the cost of living," he said. Shinozuka, who sits on the Planning Board in Ridgewood, said residents need a governing body dedicated to controlling tax increases. "Our most pressing concerns include guarding the integrity of our municipal services, containing tax increases and protecting the Village's solvency," Shinozuka said.

Hauck, a homemaker, said the current council has not been "discerning enough" about its budget. "If we don't do something, too many people are going to be taxed out of town and services will be crippled," she said. "Some suggestions would be deferring storm damage costs across a five-year schedule and taking a harder look at the disproportionate toll that employee benefits and pensions take on the budget."

Keith Killion, the current mayor and a former police captain in the village, is concerned about infrastructure problems in Ridgewood.

"Roads, water and sewer pipes, sidewalks, curbs, ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] ramps and the trimming of trees are very important for us," Killion said "We have got to get back to the basics and not consider large projects that won't provide relief for every Ridgewood resident. …

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