Greater Value for our Residential Property Taxes:
I will work to reduce our overall residential tax bill by making sure more of our county property taxes come back to Summit.
Our county property taxes are far too high. We pay 10 percent of the County’s taxes despite accounting for only 3% of the County’s population. Moreover, we get far less back from the County than other communities.
I will draw on my experiences advising Fortune 500 companies on finding operational efficiencies. Each dollar we get back from the County is one less dollar that we need to find in the municipal budget. I will also find ways to help rein in overall county spending – every dollar saved there will reduce Summit’s tax bill by 10 cents.
Long-term planning in Downtown Summit:
I will work with key stakeholders including residents and business owners to help refresh the City’s Master Plan to prepare for changing times. Keeping our Downtown vibrant requires a long-term vision for the future – the current master plan for the downtown was drafted more than a decade ago.
Having a comprehensive master plan will create an integrated view that will give us an action plan when opportunities arise – such as installing Wi-Fi while the roads are currently being re-dug in the current Downtown Beautification Plan. We should consider the future of the Post Office site, and how to thoughtfully address parking shortages in the Downtown. Moreover, investing time in a master plan will save us the cost of many of the ad hoc studies that go over budget and under deliver.
I will draw on my background as a Certified Drafter and in infrastructure policy to ensure that the best of urban policymaking is tailor-fit to the specific needs of a community like Summit.
Securing Summit’s Corporate Tax Base:
I will work to continue to attract and retain corporate neighbors, who pay X% of Summit’s overall tax bill. Their support is vital in lowering the cost residential tax bills. Merck is Summit’s largest taxpayer, and losing them might mean losing Summit $X million in taxes. I want to make sure that a taxpaying entity occupies the site so that we can help keep taxes affordable.
I will draw upon my experience at McKinsey where I advised pharma companies on operational efficiencies and corporate strategy to help find a suitable tenant for the Merck site. To that end, I will encourage and assist the Council in conducting a scan for companies that have changing real estate needs, whether through merger and acquisition or changing strategic focuses, and demonstrate to those candidates the advantages of Summit base of operations.
Increasing transparency and public engagement:
I believe that local government should be a place where all local residents have a voice, where they can make a difference. I will create new forums, both in person and digitally, to increase ways people can access local government.
There should be a regular place where residents can voice their concerns and opinions to their Common Council – not just at 10PM every other Tuesday night. Meeting agendas and notes should be circulated in both English and Spanish.
I will hold regular weekend coffees and use social media as a way for all Summit residents – regardless of age or background – to make their opinions heard and have their questions answered.
Fostering greater collaboration between Common Council and the Board of Education
I want to make sure people feel like they have a clear connection to the schools,, and that schools continue to deliver on the potential and promise of Summit’s Children.
Summit is a Type I school district, which means that the Mayor has the sole authority to appoint members to the Board of Education. There are many advantages to such an approach including an ability to promote a diversity of thought and opinion on the Board, as well as an opportunity to consider the long-term future of Summit schools, rather than the next election. However, it can also create the impression that the Board is not directly responsive to resident concerns.
I will work to restore regular meetings between representatives from Common Council and the Board of Education. I want to continue to create ways for Summit students to give back to the community while building their skillset. As a Co-Founder and volunteer of both the Summit Free Market and the City Hall internship program, I know how rewarding it is to serve the City of Summit, and I want to make sure that others have the opportunity to do the same.