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Incumbents Tout Record of Fiscal Responsibility

Freeholder candidates discuss spending strategies at forum Wednesday.

The three Republican incumbents running for re-election want to keep spending and debt at the county level to a minimum.

Edward O’Connell, Michael Marotta, and Deborah Ciambrone are battling to keep their seats and wrestle majority control of the freeholder board away from the Democratic Party.

The candidates discussed their positions on county issues at a candidates forum in Wayne Tuesday night. The Wayne League of Women Voters sponsored the forum.

The incumbent Republicans touted their alleged record of being fiscally conservative and mindful of how they spend taxpayer dollars.

“We have proven to be fiscally responsible,” said Deborah Ciambrone, a Wayne resident.

Fellow incumbent Michael Marotta said that he originally ran in 2009 to curb “rampant, unchecked spending.” He said the Democrats have, and will continue to, spend money freely.

“The Democrats have taken luxuries, luxuries that we are paying for,” said Marotta, who works for the Passaic Valley Water Commission. “The Democrats will freely spend with reckless abandon. I do not believe we can afford this.”

Taxes

The Democrats said that the incumbents’ record when it comes to taxes should be thoroughly examined. They cited the county surrogate receiving a 9 percent raise shortly after taking office as an example of wasteful spending.

Republican Edward O’Connell said that his party has worked to reduce taxes and suggested cuts to the day-to-day operations of the county and bonding money to pay for those expenses.

“That’s like buying a loaf of bread with a credit card and not paying the bill for 30 years,” O’Connell said.

John Barlett, a Democrat and Wayne resident, said that taxes are “a huge part of my budget.

“We need to look at the records of these incumbents, Bartlett said. “They talk a good game but they’ve done nothing. Look at their record.”

Bonding

All the candidates agreed that bonding for certain things like improvement and repair projects for facilities, is permissible, but not for other things, like daily operating expenses or pensions.

Democrat Ronda Casson Cotroneo said that officials must ask why they need to bond for a project before approving one.

Preakness Healthcare Center

All the candidates said they are in favor of the county continuing to run the Preakness Healthcare Center. O’Connell criticized the millions that been spent to upgrade the senior care facility.

Flooding

Marotta said more assistance is needed from the federal government to alleviate flooding in Wayne.

“The legislators should be taking care of it,” Marotta said. “I believe the federal government should step in and allocate more money to help alleviate the problem.”

Democrat Hector Lora, a Passaic councilman said that buying out the homes in flood-prone areas of town is not the final answer to the problem.

“We should continue to look at every possible option we can,” Lora said.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Pad October 24, 2012 at 09:42 AM
When it comes to "THE FREELOADERS" fiscal responsibility is a joke. Passaic County has the highest tax rate in the nation. The Preakness Healthcare Center is a big drain on our tax money and should be run by a private entity. Maybe they don't want to sell it because the truth will come out on how much it really cost to run this facility and all the politically connected jobs that are there.
Scondo October 24, 2012 at 01:08 PM
We are truly a County of excesses, where we use tax dollars to secure votes and we really are in trouble fiscally. Our County roads are a mess. We have a Public Assistance situation unrivaled anywhere in the State. Our largest city, Paterson is unable to carry its burden for education and now for general services. Something has got to give.
Rex miatke October 24, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Passaic County the highest tax rate in the country. What does Passaic County have to show for that high tax rate????? We need people on the board of chosen freeholders to keep the spending in check. There is no choice here but to do everything possible to get these 3 back on the freeholders. I spend enough in taxes already.
Nose Wayne October 24, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Preakness Healthcare started out at about 30 to 50 million to build. Final cost after "unforseen expenses" was about 150 million. How can you not "unforsee" 100 million dollars ? Think it is way over due for a "CHANGE".
techie1999 October 24, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Facts are that Passaic County is well run - you should not be negative on all matters - new technology and pushing forward in STEM research and other reas wil benefit all in county - more people should better understand the facts! Way to go freeholders - hope you continue to work hard for all of us!
techie1999 October 24, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Passic County is a geat place to own a home and raise a family - if someone does not like it - they should consider to move! The Freeholders work hard for the best interest of all citizens! if uou want to always compaign, consider to run next year.
techie1999 October 24, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Really - most county roard have been repaved in past 18 mnths - that the fact!
Pad October 24, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Well techie1999, can you explain the highest tax rate in the country? The 100 million in cost overruns at Preakness Healthcare Facility, the excess's at Passaic County Tech? Why doesn't the Sheriff's Dept. patrol it like the parks and other County facilities. The Security Force is mostly people who got their jobs with political connections. I suppose you also support the big waste of money to cap the reservoirs. They have paved a few roads not most of them as you state. How about all the six figure salaries at PCTS and the amount of administrators needed for one school? Maybe you should invest in a spell check program. Did you go to school in Passaic County? If you did, it shows. The County doesn't need to be in the healthcare buisness and the freeloaders need to be in the buisness of running the County in the interest of the taxpayers, not themselves and their political friends.
Pad October 24, 2012 at 08:30 PM
BTW techie1999 take a look around and you will see most of Passaic County isn't exactly Beverly Hills. Which BTW has a lower tax rate. If you feel this is a well run County you must be blind as to what really goes on here. I sure you also support hiring assistants to the Freeloaders also. No County in the state has them. So I guess a few of the Freeloaders freinds need jobs.

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