Plumsted Democrats pitch five-point plan

Republicans cite
achievements over
past 10 years

Staff Writer

Plumsted Democrats
pitch five-point plan
Republicans cite
achievements over
past 10 years
Staff Writer

Mitch Geier and Donald Knause, the Democratic candidates running for two three-year seats on the Plumsted Township Committee, have a five-point plan for the community.

On Election Day, Nov. 4, voters will be asked to weigh that plan against the 10-year achievements of their opponents for two committee seats, incumbent Republicans Bonnie Quesnel and Joseph Pryzwara.

Geier, 48, is a micro-computer consultant who runs his own firm. Knause, 68, is a retired state investigator. Quesnel, 55, is an administrative assistant. Pryzwara, 57, is director of the Ocean County Health Department.

Geier explained his and Knause’s five-point plan to the Tri-Town News.

The first point is to "bring fiscal responsibility back to the township," Geier said. He said the township’s new municipal building is an example of fiscal irresponsibility. While acknowledging that construction was done with savings rather than through borrowed funds or bonding, Geier was critical of the way he said money was "easily found and spent" by the all-Republican Township Committee.

According to Geier, the cost for construction was first quoted by the Township Committee as being $1.5 million. When the construction bids came back at $2.5 million, officials were able to "find an extra million dollars when they went out to bid for the new municipal building."

"You have a bloated municipal budget where they can take randomly, at one point in time, an extra million dollars to build the building," Geier said. "That’s money the taxpayers should have in their pocket, not the government’s."

Geier said every line item of the municipal budget needs to be reviewed for waste.

The second point is to bring what the candidates called "good, clean ratables" into town to offset property taxes while at the same time providing much needed services such as day care, medical facilities and, he said, "reasonably priced supermarkets."

Geier said Plumsted’s senior citizens are in need of transportation that would take them to stores out of town. Geier said attracting businesses will not only offset the residential tax base, it will "provide a competition that will drive the prices down and consumers will win."

The third point pertains to "actively seeking grants." Geier said although he and Knause recognize that grants are not "free money, but are tax dollars," they are, he says, an expense spread across a larger base, depending on whether they are state or federal grants.

He said Plumsted’s taxpayers have to realize that the best way to spend grant money effectively is to put a cap on spending and stop "wasteful spending."

The fourth point is to hire an outside consultant if voters again vote down the school budget. By having a line item review of the school budget by an independent auditor, Geier said "a quality education can be maintained while respecting the decision of the voters."

The fifth point is to actively work with the state to enact property tax relief.

"We need to find a different and better way of funding education," Geier said.

Geier said that if the Democrats are elected, "we (he and Knause) will be pressuring our Legislature to work on the problem (of property tax relief) and push for a constitutional convention."

According to Geier, both candidates "entered the race with the primary goal of decreasing this community’s skyrocketing property taxes."

Geier said property taxes in Plumsted have risen 14 percent this year and 93 percent in the last 10 years.

"We will actively seek grants that will benefit our community while defraying taxes both short- and long-term," Geier said.

Mayor Ronald T. Dancer, who is also a 30th District state Assemblyman, has been advocating a constitutional convention specifically for that purpose. Pryzwara said the Township Committee has passed resolutions calling on the Legislature to convene a constitutional convention to address property tax relief.

Legislation at the state level calling for the constitutional convention died for lack of support this summer.

With regard to transportation, Pryzwara said senior citizen transportation is already provided by the county transportation department. He said the governing body has petitioned county officials to expand their Plumsted service.

Furthermore, Pryzwara said any grant money the township goes after are only for services the township needs.

"If you look at the track record of this current administration you see every grant we applied for was something we believed the community needed," Pryzwara said.

Pryzwara said hiring an independent consultant to evaluate the school budget costs money. He said when the budget was voted down last year, the governing body worked with the school board to "determine where to cut without affecting the quality of education."

Knause could not be reached by press time, but in a written news release he stated that he and Geier can "make a real difference.

"We need property tax reduction and reform as well as many services that would benefit this community," Knause said. "We could use a youth recreation center, day care in the areas of town with recent growth, a gym and medical facilities. By actively attracting these types of clean ratable businesses, it becomes a win-win situation of defraying taxes and increasing our quality-of-life."

Geier said Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) was expected to visit Plumsted on Tuesday and endorse the two local Democrats.