Here are some important issues and questions Wayne residents could keep in mind and ask as 2013 begins.
1.) Leadership. The three at-large council members, Lonni Miller Ryan, Joseph Schweighardt, and James Jimenez, and Mayor Chris Vergano term’s all expire at the end of the year. The five council members, all Republicans, who ran for re-election in 2012 all won new terms. Will the GOP sweep again this year? Will a Democrat legitimately challenge Vergano for the mayoralty? Will a Republican challenge him in the primary?
2.) Taxes. The council approved an increase in municipal taxes in 2012. Will the council approve another hike? Will taxes remain flat? Taxes has been something that residents have referenced at council meetings and in local print and online media as something they want to see not just remain flat, but decrease.
3.) Schools. Several leadership changes occurred in the Wayne Public School District occurred in 2012. It was Superintendent Ray Gonzalez first year on the job, an assistant superintendent was hired, several principals left their positions, and the position of district athletic director was created, among others. Will similar changes occur in 2013?
4.) Flooding. The threat of flooding occurred more than once in 2012 but none occurred. Residents were quick to point out the improved operation of the Pompton Dam floodgates as being the reason for the change. Will this continue in 2013?
5.) Buyouts. The township received money to buyout dozens of flood-prone homes in 2012. Local officials and residents are hopeful that more money will be secured in 2013 so that buyouts can continue. Will they? Should they?
6.) JCP&L. Officials and residents are hopeful that the state Board of Public Utilities will revoke Jersey Central Power & Light’s license to sell power in Wayne after they failed to restore power to some residents for nearly two weeks. Should the company’s license be revoked? Local officials have said that if they can’t get the utility’s license revoked, they want to at least have the company upgrade its equipment, which has been called “abysmal.”