Candidate statement by Caitlin Giles-McCormick, published October 29, 2018 at www.tapinto.net/towns/flemington-slash-raritan/articles/better-basics-in-flemington-will-help-move-us-forward
I live in Flemington for my family. It is a place where my two young daughters will flourish. Here in Flemington we have committed residents and business owners who have a variety of wonderful talents and passionate interests – all who want Flemington to succeed. We have a rich history full of charm and character along with a calendar packed with community and cultural events.
But I am worried that Flemington is moving in the wrong direction, away from the reasons many of us have chosen to call this borough our home. Our government is out of balance and does not appear to be adequately prepared to address the challenges.
Basic services and functions of government have been neglected, largely due to upheaval that could have been minimized and avoided.
To bring us back to stability, the borough needs to remember the basics, including creating:
- Better maintenance of and repairs to our roads, sidewalks, and signage.
- Support and clearer leadership for our borough employees and volunteers.
- Standardized, predictable yard waste collection.
- A solution to the rising cost of single stream recycling.
- Clear, open communications from our government officials to all members of the community not only about budgets and contracts, but also about services and functions.
- New ideas to help the borough grow, be fiscally responsible, and maintain the character that makes Flemington the place to raise a family.
We can fulfill these needs through restoring the balance of our municipal government to hear from all citizens about taxes, ideas for development, and how to spend your hard earned tax dollars.
For many of the people I speak with throughout the borough, I hear that we elect officials to serve the community. When it comes down to it, the main job of a member of the Council is to listen to its residents and to be a voice for the residents of the Borough.
But our current leadership has refused to listen to the voices of the community and to draw on the great resources of our community to address our problems and improve our town.
To make Flemington the best place it can be we need strong, respectful leadership. Leadership that listens to the residents, and leadership that is open and honest with the hardworking individuals and families who live here.
We are lucky that Flemington is attracting young families and millennials, like my own family, and like my running mate, Chris Runion.
I have two young children and am a nonprofit professional where I have worked to improve communities for the past 13 years. Chris is a high school science and special education teacher. We both have long histories working to improve the communities where we have lived.
We are part of this community. I volunteer at the Samuel Fleming House Museum and Gardens. Chris has been active with many local environmental groups. We both have engaged with borough council and volunteered for non-elected Borough positions. But we are just two of the many residents of Flemington who can bring new ideas to grow the borough. We need additional resident involvement and coordination in order to make progress towards the best possible Flemington.
As long as I have lived in Flemington, the local government has acted as though the larger community is a burden and barrier to governmental functions. One of the changes Chris and I will bring to government is community engagement, supporting those who want to promote Flemington, and ensuring that all residents know they and their ideas are valued.
One year ago, Flemington elected our running mate, Betsy Driver, to Borough Council. Since then, we have seen her bring new ideas and creative solutions to local government.
As a former journalist, cancer survivor, and mother of two teenagers, Betsy has used her first year on Flemington Borough Council to build up our fire and emergency services through grant-funded tuition credits. She helped obtain a clean energy grant to fund the HVAC upgrade at the library, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars. She increased government transparency by securing the live-streaming and video recording of Council meetings. And she has provided much needed scrutiny to the current downtown redevelopment plans.
This is the thoughtful, innovative thinking Flemington needs in order to grow. Betsy, Chris, and I, despite being very different, pledge to work with all parts of the community to develop innovative solutions to our problems, while ensuring we are open and clear about all plans for grown.
And speaking of growth, let us be clear about the most frequent topic of discussion in our community. Betsy, Chris and I support redevelopment throughout Flemington, not only downtown, but across the borough. We believe we can make Main Street a thriving business center while fostering strong neighborhoods and vibrant communities. Downtown should be a thriving town center, with businesses and experiences that complement neighborhoods where all our children and families can thrive. As candidates, we have many of our thoughts and ideas specifically about redevelopment available on our website at www.abetterfitforflemington.com. Our concerns over the current redevelopment plans are simply for the protection of taxpayers and the long-term health and viability of Flemington. We welcome direct, in-person conversations around redevelopment or any other issue impacting Flemington.
When considering your vote for mayor and borough council, we ask that you consider us. We promise to be open, honest government officers and we promise to engage you, listen to you, and work with you. That is the only way to make Flemington the best it can be.
We ask that you vote for a better fit for Flemington and vote for Driver, Runion and Giles-McCormick Tuesday, November 6.
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