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West Windsor Township Council May 2009

2009 WEST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP
COUNCIL CANDIDATES VOTERS GUIDE

NON-PARTISAN ELECTION INFORMATION

Vote Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Polls are open in West Windsor from 6 AM to 8 PM

These are the verbatim responses of the candidates for the West Windsor Township Council to questions presented by The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area, in cooperation with The Princeton Packet. The candidates were given an equal amount of space for their answers.

Four candidates are running for two seats on West Windsor Township Council, each for a four-year term, in the May 12 municipal election. The candidates were asked to state their occupation and respond to this question:

What is your ideal vision for West Windsor in the coming years and how would you help achieve it?

Linda Geevers (incumbent): Licensed salesperson, Coldwell Banker Residential Referral Network.

NeighborhoodScout has recently rated West Windsor as “the best family-friendly neighborhood” in the country. With our blue-ribbon schools, Green Town USA 2002 award, exceptional recreational facilities and the first nationally certified senior center in the country (one of only three today), it’s no wonder that individuals of all ages want to live here.

For the past 10 years as an elected official, I have worked hard to improve the quality of life in West Windsor even further by supporting the WW Arts Council towards its eventual move to the old Alexander Road Firehouse, increasing funding for more sidewalks, bicycle lanes and crosswalks and preserving our rich farming history at the Schenck Farmstead. New opportunities for residents to have community gardens in town are now being planned.

Comprehensive land-use planning is also integral to our vibrant future. In the approved redevelopment plan, I voted to include specific wording from key township groups, local organizations and taxpayers. I will continue to support a cohesive effort that:

• prioritizes more parking for West Windsor residents;

• encompasses a small town center with a farmer’s market/civic facility;

• requires fiscal analysis reports showing a tax positive position to our township at site plan introduction;

• encourages environmental sustainability;

• has outside sources paying for major infrastructure improvements such as the Vaughn Drive connector road;

• puts forth incentives towards an attractive Route 571 and Acme shopping center area.

I will continue to champion the great quality of life here as a means of preserving and protecting property values during these difficult economic times. Long-term financial planning, AAA bond rating, public-private partnerships and increased level of ratables will help lessen the tax burden on you.

We can all take pride in our quality of life here in West Windsor. Let’s keep it that way and plan together!

Anupam Gupta: President-owner, Avenues International Inc., an information technology consulting and software development company.

My ideal vision of West Windsor is of a city where residents love to live, can afford to raise their families and retire. A city of diverse cultures, integrated together and living in harmony. I want this city to be affordable and will achieve this by reducing taxes. I will streamline township processes and implement new technology and systems to improve productivity and efficiency and thus reduce the costs. Also increase revenue by getting funds from county, state and federal agencies. I will ensure a better and prudent financial management and planning of tax money and surpluses.

A large population of our town commutes daily to NYC. We need to have parking garages. This will also help reduce traffic congestion by eliminating pick up and drop. I will get the parking garage constructed at the highest priority and ensure that every resident of this city has a parking spot near the train station.

Most of us live in this city for its suburban charm. I don’t want 1,428 residential units coming up near the station. I am also not in favor of high-rise commercial buildings in this town. I don’t want such additional construction resulting in tax burden and traffic congestion in the city. I am supportive of clean and green environment and will take all the steps needed to preserve our open land and spaces.

I encourage an open government where township will listen and the residents can easily communicate their concerns and comments. This will be done by implementing technology, along with regular meetings between township and communities. I love West Windsor and will always do what is in the best interest of the residents.

Kamal Khanna: CEO and president, Pret Fashions Inc.(Sante Classics), a garment design, manufacturing and distribution company.

Four generations of our family have lived in West Windsor for over 30 years. I have seen it change from the sleepy little town with just a few planned developments to what it is today.

My vision for West Windsor is that it continues to be a friendly town with a first-rate school district where people raise their family and can afford to spend all their lives. Toward that end the two basic issues are quality of life and affordability. In the current context the two most pressing issues for West Windsor are development around train station and parking for West Windsor residents. I believe in controlling one’s own destiny. I was therefore glad that the council finally approved a redevelopment plan. Under this plan, I will judge every project that comes before council using two simple questions. First, is it beneficial to West Windsor? Second, whether it is tax positive? I will not support any project that can not answer both these questions in affirmative. I will make parking for West Windsor residents an utmost priority in the redevelopment area.

The only way to keep West Windsor affordable is to increase our commercial ratable with minimal impact on our quality of life. As a businessman I know businesses look at predictability and stability before making site decisions. Having an approved redevelopment plan along with a unified town council and mayor will go a long way in convincing businesses to locate to West Windsor. We already have one of the best school systems to attract them and the jobs they will bring.

As a business owner for over 30 years, I have developed an ability to work with diverse group of people to achieve common objective. If elected, I pledge to use my experience to achieve common good for West Windsor.

Nitin Shah: Financial advisor, Merrill Lynch.

Following are the three main visions:

1. Lower Taxes: I would like to see property taxes lowered. We only need investment grade bonds, which will reduce cost. The township has a surplus which can be used to reduce taxes. The health benefits for the township need to be evaluated where there should be a co-pay. Unnecessary expenses need to be cut. Our taxes should be no higher than necessary to deliver the services desired by residents!

2. Redevelopment: I do not want to see 1,428 residential units at the train station, focus on no-cost parking garages and reducing traffic congestion. Sources of funding state and federal, NJ DOT, and Amtrak. No-cost parking can be built by getting companies like Nexus involved in building free garages for us. If the redevelopment is controlled, the current traffic will not get out of hand. Build some retail stores, restaurants and a park in a small scale.

3. Open Government and Communications: I would like to see open government where all private meetings and things done in secret will be eliminated. The township will be an open book for any residents to look at. With me on council, the voices of the residents will be heard and acted upon. Technology will be used as a means of communications.

We must reengineer West Windsor government to set a new standard in governing. I will bring fresh ideas that will change the way in which West Windsor does business.

MISSION STATEMENT: The League of Women Voters®, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

The Princeton League, which encompasses the same area as is served by The Packet, needs members (men and women) to act as observers at meetings of their local school boards and municipalities and to report back issues that can be explored in candidates' forums and questionnaires or that may become the basis for League studies. To become a member or learn more, click here.

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