Guz, Wolff bid for Howell council seat
Wolff has been a resident of Howell for 22 years. Guz has been a resident of Howell for 23 years.
The candidates were each asked the following questions:
What is your educational and professional background and how will that help you if elected?
Guz: In 1970, I began my public service career in state government by helping developmentally disabled children and poverty level seniors. In 2006, I retired from my last full-time state position as business manager of East Jersey State Prison in Rahway. As business manager, I was the chief fiscal officer responsible for a $66 million annual prison budget while providing hands-on supervision of key operational units in the prison. I presently serve as a contracted part-time New Jersey state disciplinary hearing officer. I have devoted my entire professional life to serving the citizens of New Jersey by working for the Department of Corrections and in many of the state human services facilities.
Wolff: I have a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and I have worked at ITT, now called Exelis, for almost 30 years. I build complex systems for our nation’s defense. I was on the zoning board in Howell for five years, including two as secretary. In that time, I became familiar with many of the town’s regulations and laws and got to know the many resi- dents who came to us for variances. These experiences will help me since I am very good at researching and finding many ways to help the town. I can find grants that we have previously ignored. I also understand development plans and am familiar with most of Howell’s published ordinances.
If you are elected to a seat on the Howell Township Council, what is one issue in the municipality that you would personally like to address?
Guz: During my 21-year career as a state fiscal officer working for a law enforcement agency, I was required to maintain uninterrupted service for 2,000 maximum-security inmates and not spend more than my budget would allow. If elected to the council, I would concentrate on improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of township operations in order to achieve the lowest possible expense to taxpayers while marinating uninterrupted essential services. As a member of the council, I will serve the residents of Howell with integrity and high ethical standards, and insist on the same from all township employees and officials.
Wolff: The main issue I would like to address is the runaway spending and taxes. Municipal taxes are up 55 percent in the last six years. So much is bonded that all we do is pay interest. All of our open space (trust fund) money goes toward interest on our debt. We are not living within our means. The council’s “borrow and spend” policies have us borrowing money to pay for operating expenses and this is bankrupting us.
Can you name one or two things in Howell that you do not believe are working as well as they should be and how would you address those issues?
Guz: In order to expand township revenue to reduce the property tax impact on township homeowners (including that of my wife and I as we are a retired couple struggling to make ends meet on a fixed income), I believe that a serious, strategic plan for the commercial development of our economic corridors needs to be initiated. I support the formation of ad-hoc citizen committees in order to support citizen volunteerism and participation in local government. One successful example of this is the recent strategic planning ad-hoc committee that was formed during 2010 and 2011.
Wolff: The business climate in Howell has deteriorated. There are nearly 300 empty storefronts in this town. We need to improve the business climate to attract newcomers to Howell. The fact that we rely on residential development for 89 percent of our property tax base means this bedroom community is getting unaffordable. We need to manage traffic, bring development, protect open space and improve the delivery of services. The snowstorm two years ago which paralyzed Howell for a week is just one obvious example of the town government’s failure. Our platform is simple but will take work: stabilize taxes, boost nonresidential, non-retail development, smooth the flow of traffic, deal with the worsening flood problems, and keep Howell a great place to live.