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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Summit Common Council Ward I

Candidates are running for the Common Council seat representing Ward I. It is a three year term.A candidates Forum will be held on Thursday, October 12th at 7:30pm in the Summit High School Mediaq Center.
  • John Dougherty (Rep)

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    Matt Gould (Dem) Television Executive

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Biographical Information

Parking is always an issue in Summit. How do you propose to make parking more convenient for the shoppers and short term users while at the same time enforcing long term parking?

Name another major issue facing Summit. What would you do about it if elected?

What is your position on full day kindergarten

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Education Colgate University B.A., English, magna cum laude
Parking is indeed a thorny problem in Summit and one that needs research and creative thinking to solve. I have learned from current Council members that the biggest crunch for parking is between 12 noon and 2pm Monday through Friday. Therefore, my first initiative would be to deal with that timeframe by creating additional short-term daytime spaces. Next, I would expand the license plate recognition system that is very convenient for Parkmobile app users to cover all spaces in Summit. We would then be able to remove the gate-operated system in the Deforest Avenue lots which would make them more enticing to shoppers. I would also find a solution that doesn’t require the app, but still doesn’t rely on gates. I would look at enabling a validation system for shoppers and diners so they don’t have to pay at all when enjoying Summit’s downtown. Lastly, I would explore stackable parking structures for our lots like the ones we see in other limited parking environments like NYC.
Property taxes are too high, especially for two groups: senior citizens on a fixed income; and property owners who build new construction. Moreover, Summit contributes too much to Union County, considering that we are roughly 4% of the population of the county but are responsible for 10% of the tax revenue. We must find a way to continue to deliver the high level of service that Summit’s residents deserve while simultaneously lowering taxes. A decade ago, residential taxes accounted for about 75% of Summit’s total income, and that number is now up to 82% and climbing. It’s not a good balance, and is not conducive to lowering taxes. First, we need to increase our commercial rateables by having Council and the Mayor work together to implement thoughtful growth on Broad Street as described in the Master Plan. Second, we must take a different tack with Union County. Instead of continuing with the same sound and fury, we need to develop a real plan for rebalancing Summit's contribution.
Approximately 80% of the communities in New Jersey have free full day kindergarten. Our large neighbor at the end of the train line even has free full-day Pre-K. It’s unacceptable that Summit asks working parents to pay for public education. Furthermore, the absence of full day kindergarten has a detrimental effect on our property values as young families leaving New York or Hoboken for the suburbs choose to live in other towns that offer it. That said, we must find a way to implement full day kindergarten without increasing the school budget. I would challenge June Chang and the Board of Education to complete a new study of how much it would cost, with an eye toward creative usage of existing resources. The last time a cost-analysis was done was five years ago, and a lot has changed since then. For instance, my understanding is that there are fewer students in the Summit Public Schools now than there were then and it appears the enrollment trend may be going downward. logo


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