Hamilton Republican Mayor Kelly Yaede in a file photo. Copyright Michael A. Sabo.
Touts Economic Development, Entertainment Zones and Seeks Possible Tax Cut for Upcoming Budget.
Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede delivered her 2019 “State of the Township” at a luncheon sponsored by the Hamilton Township Economic Development Advisory Committee along with Shop Hamilton, The Princeton Chamber of Commerce and The Hamilton Partnership.
The H.T.E.D.A.C. will donate a portion of the proceeds to local non-profit organizations working to combat opioid and substance abuse: Recovery Advocates, TOPAC (The Overdose Prevention Agency Corporation) and City of Angels.
But it was those not in attendance that were most notable, Council President Jeff Martin, Councilman Rich Tighue and Councilwoman Ileana Schirmer.
The trio skipped the luncheon and opted to watch a live feed broadcast at the Hamilton Municipal Building in the Council chambers with residents. The broadcast of the speech
However, the buzz that circulated at the event, was around three individuals in attendance at the luncheon that included former Councilman Vinne Capodanno who is now the Republican Committee’s endorsed candidate for Council, former Mayor John Bencivengo in attendance representing the City of Angles which is a recovery advocacy group and mayoral primary challenger to Yaede, David Henderson.
Yaede touted success in the areas of economic development, government spending, and the Hamilton Animal shelter, going so far to call it the “best animal shelter in the nation”. The shelter has been a hotbed topic in recent months after coming under investigation.
State of the Township Full Video. (Hamilton Township YouTube)
Yaede also claimed credit for
But possibly the most far-reaching claim which was quickly rebuked by Henderson, who has been lauded for his social media skills was the fact that the Mayor claimed the Bromley section had no access to groceries before the Walmart.
“For those of you that don’t know the Bromley section of town didn’t have a grocery store. Can you imagine in Hamilton Township a section of town did not have access to groceries Now we have two Walmarts, one being the Super Walmart and now that need was filled”, explained
Within hours Henderson was down in the Bromley section “Live Streaming” from Facebook inside of a family owned grocery store that dates back over 95 years on Johnston Avenue.
Yaede’s biggest announcement as it equates to all residents was the announcement that she is prepared to send a budget to Council with no tax increase and hinted she may even be able to cut property taxes.
“Your taxes will not increase this year in Hamilton Township, however what I asked my staff to do is go back, let’s sharpen our pencils, see how we can save and provide Hamilton Township residents and business owners with a property tax decrease”
This would be a monumental and notable task if achieved after last year Yaede’s budget called for a tax increase of 5 percent. That number was later lowered by the Council down to 2.5 percent.
Yaede closed her speech exclaiming that business is booming, services are enhanced and that children have a vibrant, and playful future ahead of them in Hamilton.
Yaede is up for re-election this November, and is also facing a primary challenge in June.
Opponents Respond to Yaede’s Address
Democrat Council President, Jeff Martin who is running for Mayor and Republican Dave Henderson who hopes to unseat Yaede this June to become the Republican nominee quickly responded to Yaede’s State of the township in prepared releases.
Democrat Candidate Jeff Martin’s Response
“Today I watched the State of the Township address via a Facebook live stream at Town Hall. I refused to pay to listen to an address from an administration that refuses to work with Council”, said Martin.
“I find it appalling the Mayor did not address many important issues residents want to hear about, such as Trenton Water Works, and instead talked about public records requests. Clearly her priorities are misplaced to think fighting transparency is more important than clean drinking water.”
“I’m happy to hear that the Mayor finally recognizes that keeping taxes as low as possible for our residents is a top priority and that our residents should not be subjected to 5 percent tax increases
Republican Primary Candidate David Henderson Response
“Today Hamilton Township taxpayers heard their Mayor try to put a set of re-tread tires onto the same old broke down car she’s been forcing upon the residents since she has been in office.”
Mr. Henderson’s view of the event, attended by some forty township employees, indicates his disappointment in a Mayor who talked about a vision she announces four years ago at this event to develop an “entertainment region” in Hamilton. At that time, she had former Mayor Jack Rafferty drive a go-cart into the luncheon and promised an All Play facility and go-cart attraction. Today, four years later, neither promise has been fulfilled and the Mayor doubled down today saying it would happen before the end of the year, even though there have been no plans submitted and no proposals presented.
She also recycled the same old rhetoric when it came to Economic Development and Re-Development by rambling on about how she secured the WaWa’s and warehouses.
Henderson expressed his concern that the Mayor did not mention one word about any plan for the Trenton Water Works crisis
“For the mayor to say she believes her budget to be presented later this month will contain a tax cut,” Henderson said, “while the township struggles under massive debt with no principal payment for years and after proposing a 5% increase last year is just irresponsible election year banter.”