Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gop Pair Target Democrats' Grip on Town

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Gop Pair Target Democrats' Grip on Town

Article excerpt

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS -- Two Republican challengers are trying to even up a Borough Council that has been in Democratic hands most of the past decade.

Republicans Nunzio Consalvo and Zhi "Philip" Liang are trying to unseat Democratic incumbents Melanie Simon and Nora Jobson. If the GOP candidates succeed, they would join Republican Ramon Ferro and split the six-member board evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

Republicans briefly took control of the council in 2009, but Democrats regained a majority at the end of 2011.

Simon said she is running for another term so she and other Democrats can restore the borough's municipal bond rating, which was downgraded in 2012. Simon blamed the downgrade on the Republicans who controlled the council the previous year, saying they depleted the surplus to decrease taxes slightly in an election year.

"Under the council led by the Democrats, we have brought back sensible government and managed our finances properly," she said.

Simon, a regional manager for a vitamin company, said she created the Englewood Cliffs Recycling Program as the council's liaison to the Public Works Department. She said the program has raised enough money on its own to pay for three trucks as well as recycling and vegetation bins at no cost to taxpayers.

Consalvo, a self-employed small-business owner, and Liang, a senior corporate manager, said they would bring their own business savvy to the council and be an independent voice for taxpayers. They blasted Democrats for approving a budget for 2013 that increased spending by $1.3 million, to $15.3 million, largely with revenue from a series of red-light cameras at the intersection of Palisade Avenue and Route 9W.

"The council should not increase spending by 10 percent, especially after eliminating the volunteer ambulance corps," Consalvo said.

Jobson, an executive at a New York City investment firm, said she has been working to bring more businesses to Englewood Cliffs, a borough of 5,200 residents. …

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