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Manville Council Election 2009 – Richard M. Onderko

1.If elected, what do you bring to the table?

I’m running for this council position not because someone asked me to or that I have any personal special interests, rather I’m running because I truly believe I can make a difference and bring with me a strong sense of accountability, integrity, experience and responsibility for all taxpayers. I value open communication and transparency into borough finances. Taxpayers need to know the root cause when their tax bills increase or decrease. Having worked in a profit and loss world for 27 years, solutions to financial challenges are not as easy as just raising ones taxes to cover the expense. Prudent fiscal responsibility is a must! As a fiscally conservative person I would much rather see the borough save money than spend it needlessly. My focus will be on saving taxpayer money by questioning the need for all future increases in spending.

2. What are your top 3 issues and why?

First, property taxes, being the highest in the nation, its getting too expensive to live here especially on fixed incomes; second, flood prevention; and third, the proper Rustic Mall redevelopment plans to fit the small town atmosphere of Manville.

3. How do you plan to help keep taxes stable?

I will closely examine all spending in town – across the board – and favor a pay-as-you-go capital improvement program. I favor reducing town debt and not to replace old debts with new ones which stick the taxpayers with long term principal and interest payments for years into the future. The use of more shared services can surely be examined and implemented where cost savings are found to be substantial and to keep better track of shared service arrangements to ensure Manville’s getting its fair share in return.

4. Thoughts on flooding?

Action taken to mitigate floodwaters from destroying our town is long overdue. As a former flood victim terrorized by the Raritan River rising so quickly, it has been frustrating over the decades to see the problem get worse and have no action taken by elected officials until recently. It is in large part a man made problem with out-of-control development surrounding us which produces larger amounts of upstream run off. I will push hard to get the Army Corp. of Engineers’ “flood study” completed so focus can be on the construction phase and securing the funds necessary so that construction can finally begin.

5. Thoughts on the Rustic Mall?

There’s been talk in town of bringing gambling to the site in the form of “Off Track Betting” (OTB). I don’t believe that would be a proper fit for a small town such as ours and I am not in favor of it. I would like to see redevelopment plans that benefit *all* residents and not just a few.

I still believe Manville was a better place to live when we had two competing food stores in town providing shoppers with local choice. Manville needs to attract commercial development that will compliment the businesses already in the town so that both can be successful and avoid the risk of any abandoned office/retail space in the future. I am strongly in favor of public input and comments on this “redevelopment site”. I will ensure full disclosure to the public when plans are made available for review by the developer in association with the output from 2 town visioning workshop sessions already held. A third visioning workshop will be a priority in 2010.

"Change" has finally come to Manville!
This free website,, will be kept up-to-date with information from all council meetings held throughout the year. The intent is to make all information easily accessible for all residents. In addition, other Manville related web links of interest are located here. Click around. You'll like what you see!

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