Kevin J. Ryan
Candidate for Verona Town Council

Kevin Ryan

I have lived in Verona for over 27 years with my wife Valerie and my son Matthew, who is a graduate of the Verona public schools. Like many of you, we were attracted to Verona by the highly rated schools, affordable taxes, and the reasonable commute to our jobs in New York. I am running for re-election for a full four-year term on the council.

I have supported the community in the past with my volunteer efforts coaching in the Verona Baseball League and the recreational soccer program. I was also the co-president of the Verona Music Parents Association and a member of the Spotlight Players parent group. It was a very satisfying experience to work with Verona's dedicated students, teachers, and parents within those organizations.

What are my professional qualifications?

  • 2 years of service on the Verona Town Council, liaison to the Environmental and Shade Tree Commissions
  • 34 years of public service; Social Security Administration, Vietnam Era veteran, Social Studies teacher
  • 13 years as Chief of Financial Management, supervising staff that developed budgets and allocated funds to a network of 150 offices
  • Management training specialist and senior advisor to executives: analytical skills, knowledge of the budget process, and effective communication skills

I am candidate for re-election because over the last two years I have demonstrated my commitment to keeping Verona a highly desirable and affordable community, but more work needs to be done! I will continue my commitment to:

  • Holding the line on spending, demonstrated by my "no" votes on the last two budgets
  • Continue pushing for more open government and greater transparency, as shown by advocating for televising budget workshops
  • Having the council take a more active role in policy making and setting priorities
  • Ensuring our labor contracts are fair to all residents in these tough economic times
  • Devoting considerable time and energy to Council responsibilities
  • Treating every citizen with the courtesy and respect they deserve

I hope you will vote for me on Election Day, Tuesday May 14th on line 3A.

I welcome your questions at
Ryan4Verona@gmail.com.

 

          Endorsement: Verona Observer

 

My Vote and Position on the Hilltop Bond Ordinance

I cast the lone “no” vote on Bond Ordinance #03-13 which authorized the issuance of $5.1 million in bonds or notes, to construct Phase II of the Hilltop Park. Supporters of this ordinance said the town was badly in need of additional playing fields for our youth recreation programs and sports. I looked at this problem and came to the conclusion that additional field capacity was needed. The question for me was, at what cost? On October 15, 2012, the council received revised plans from Kinsey Associates that contained changes requested by the sports organizations. At this point, Mr. Martin provided a rough estimate of $4 million dollars. The council requested a more detailed estimate and a payment schedule for receipt of the “Payment in Lieu of Tax”, commonly called PILOT money. Mr. Martin makes the first of numerous statements that no tax dollars would be used to fund this project. We will use PILOT money, which is revenue paid to the town by the Cenrose Corporation from the rents they will receive from two apartment complexes on the Hilltop, over a thirty-year period. He neglects to mention the PILOT money is already being used as revenue to offset the need to raise taxes for other ongoing expenses. He stated we will receive $1 million dollars in revenue from the PILOT funds per year. When the payment schedule was finally provided on April 10th we learn this will not happen until 2029.

Mr. Martin next received an estimate from Kinsey dated November 28, 2012. The cost has now risen from the rough estimate of $4 million to over $5.1 million. This information was not made available until the March 4th council meeting during a presentation by Mr. Helb. Where was this data for 3 months? There was also no mention of this on the public agenda for this meeting. We still have not passed a regular budget for 2013 but the need to introduce and pass this ordinance for $5.1 million now takes priority over work on the 2013 budget. The budget introduction is pushed back to May 20th with a tentative vote on June 3rd. Both dates are after the May 14th election. Is this a coincidence? Not in my opinion! Keep in mind, last year’s budget was passed in April. The Bond Ordinance is introduced on April 1st and scheduled for a vote on April 15th.

When I reviewed the Kinsey cost estimate, I was struck by the number of items included in the bond ordinance that I did not consider essential to building fields or borrowing money to pay for them. The estimate included a press box ($40,000.), scoreboards ($20,000.), two playgrounds ($64,000.), bike racks, trash cans, signs and flagpoles ($21000). The estimates for the turf were also much too high. We could have easily lowered the bond estimate by $ 700k. Mr. Martin countered by saying he probably wouldn’t have to spend all of it. In his capital budget proposal for 2013, he requests $2.5 million for this project. Why then does he need authority to borrow $5.1 million up front? This project could be completed in stages. If he uses it all, the cost escalates to $6.4 million, including $1.4 million in interest.

Councilman Nochimson was willing to accept some verbal assurances that the project would be properly monitored and the total cost would be lower. I readily admit I am not that trusting. I like to see things in writing. We could have changed the bond ordinance to a lower amount and passed a resolution detailing the monitoring steps. That would have only pushed passage back one month. In my opinion, it would have been a better way to go. Of course, that would have pushed the passage past the election and Mr. Martin’s candidates would not have an issue to run on. In conclusion, I am for the fields but not for a bond ordinance that contained inflated estimates and too many additional items that should not be part of a bond ordinance.

 

Please Vote for Al DeOld for Town Council

Al and Anita DeOld have lived in Verona for over 40 years. They raised three daughters here. Al is a retired educator with many years of experience, 17 of them as an Industrial Arts teacher in Verona High School. I didn’t meet Al and Anita until about four years ago when I started to attend Town Council Meetings on a regular basis. We each got the opportunity to hear each other speak during the public participation segments and we discovered we had similar views and concerns about expenditures and getting a better handle on the budget in general. He was, and still is, a fierce advocate of the rights of the citizens to obtain information from the governing body. Information that is necessary for any citizen to make an informed opinion on what is working or needs improvement in the way the town operates. As a retiree, he was often able to avail himself to accept Mr. Martin’s frequent invitations to stop by for a chat. If he was not satisfied with the information received he did not let the matter drop and often brought it to the attention of the council. In short, he is an independent voice whose only agenda is to adopt budgets and policies that will benefit the entire town.

I have made no secret in my discussions with the voters of my desire to have Al DeOld join me on the council for the reasons I have outlined above. I would like to close with a quote from his endorsement by the Verona Observer:

“Mr. DeOld has proven himself to be comfortable with municipal budget analysis and has shown determination, not to mention chutzpah, in appearing at meetings to question township administration on some of its spending habits. We believe he would be a good addition to the council.”

To learn more about him, click on this link to go to his webpage: Al DeOld