To the Editor:
This letter is in response to a letter written by Mr. and Mrs. Thompson in this same newspaper (“Let’s hope there is a public vote on this costly new building”):
I would like to thank you for taking the time to put pen to paper and make a statement regarding your position on the need for a new municipal building and police department. It is important for citizens to stand up and say what they feel so that the elected officials can consider that input as they discharge their duty.
At the same time, I feel it is equally important and the duty of the citizens to be well-informed on what is going on in town. This is accomplished by civil discourse: attending meetings, asking questions, or contacting their council people.
To date, the council has had over 30 public discussions and meetings on this topic over the last three years. We have formed a subcommittee comprised of township residents for input and guidance. We foster and look forward to public comment and scrutiny on this process past, present, and future. Every expense made thus far has been discussed in public, with public comment, and approved by the council.
Personally, I cannot ever remember hearing from you at any of these discussions. I strongly urge you to attend the council meetings to bring up your questions or comments. The council meets twice a month, and because our meetings are held via Zoom, you can join us from the comfort of your home or anywhere else you desire. Further, I invite you to call me to discuss this or any topic, my personal cell number is on the township website. I am also happy to take you on a personal tour of the existing building so you can see what our municipal workers are dealing with.
As to your characterization of tax increases, I think you are quite misinformed. Byram Township has enjoyed some of the lowest tax increases in a long while since I have taken office. The seven years prior to my taking office averaged an annual increase of 1.95%; the last four years (including the 2021 estimate) is 0.52%. 2020 is quite notable as it was the only year in a very long time that municipal taxes decreased (-0.27%).
Alex Rubenstein, Mayor