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Stratford Borough - Unexpired Term

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    Stephen C. Gandy

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    Leonoard Nester, II

Biographical Information

What do you consider the top priority(ies) in the next municipal budget and how will you minimize impact on taxpayers? Please discuss no more than three priorities.

What do you consider the most important issue facing the municipality today and how would you address the issue if elected to office?

What is your view on consolidation of municipalities and/or sharing services with neighboring municipalities?

What would you to to promote economic development and attract businesses to the municipality?

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I feel the top priorities in the next municipal budget will be to identify areas where we can save money through things like shared services. We are currently looking into shared services for public works and Municipal Court Services. We are also in the process of searching for a replacement for our Business Administrator. We are always conscious of the impact that monetary commitments have on the taxpayers. We are all neighbors and taxpayers. By investigating shared service agreements, we hope to reduce the costs to the Borough. Also, we are always looking to identify services that we may no longer need and eliminate them from the budget.
I believe the most important issue facing the municipality today is building for our future. Over the past 10 years or so, Stratford has been in dire need of development / re-development. Stratford is home to many Churches / Hospitals and affiliates. We are strapped for ratables. We do not have a lot of open plots of land on which to build. We have a few properties which are prime areas for development / re-development. We have had interest over the years but for one reason or another, the projects have not come. In the past year, we have had many discussions and projects are finally coming to fruition. I look to help the borough by working with the Council to build better relationships and help move projects forward.
I believe that keeping costs down are vital. If we can save costs without sacrificing quality of the services provided to the community, then it is a win! In today's economy with rising costs of living, salary requirements, healthcare, etc., it is very hard to save money without sharing some services. As I stated in an earlier question, Stratford is looking into more shared services to help on two fronts: 1. to help reduce costs and; 2. in these days of Covid, hiring / replacing workers has become a challenge. Entering shared services with local municipalities will help when a shortage of workers exists.
To promote economic development and attract businesses to come to the borough of Stratford, I would listen to the business owners and find out what they need to survive. If there is anything we can do as a borough to help offset costs in the short term, we need to partner with our businesses and do our best to send customers their way. We need to offer realistic tax incentives that will not hurt the borough in the long term.
Taxes – work with the current council to develop a five year growth plan to stabilize any tax increases on the residents.

Growth Revenue –Find places to Curtail Spending, work to develop new growth in local businesses and reduce tax increases.
Communication : Increase Resident Engagement – Our Residents provide new ideas and an exchange of information that will build mutual responsibility and accountability for the Town Council and the public.

Community Growth: Work on growing our town, create opportunity for employment, develop our local economy and invest in our culture and environment.
Currently, Stratford has shared services. However, a needs assessment is necessary to determine if a function can be provided efficiently and be cost effective.
Council needs to Support and expand existing businesses and attract new businesses who in turn, contribute to economic development.

Work to ensure that residents can successfully compete for employment opportunities and that all residents have the opportunity to benefit from this economic growth.

Work with current Businesses to invest in the community and attract new business to the town .