Barry Honig is running as the Republican candidate for mayor of Tenefly, NJ. Members of the local Chabad house run by Rabbi Mordechai Shain know Barry as the man who runs the Tenafly Chabad Free Loan Association, a well known community program that help those in need without making them resort to charity.
Barry Honig, Republican candidate for mayor, is no stranger to local politics.
A resident for sixteen years, Honig has been a member and past president of the Jewish National Fund of Northeast Bergen County, has run the Tenafly Chabad Free Loan Association, and has been an appointee of Governor Christie to the New Jersey State Israel Commission.
“Tenafly is a town that I love and intend on living in for a long time,” said Honig. “We have a lot of roots here and I believe that we’ve been able to already make great strides in terms of work we’ve done on the council. I believe as mayor, I can help to significantly lower property taxes and to improve the overall quality of life.”
Honig International, Honig’s executive recruiting and management consulting business located in Tenafly, does a lot of work with technology on Wall Street. He believes his experience from the business, along with his 10 month stint as a councilman, will allow him to sufficiently fulfill the role of mayor.
“My experience in finance and knowing how to run a business, that perspective that I brought to the council, I think has allowed us to accomplish the things we’ve accomplished this year, in terms of bringing in the lowest tax levy increase in over 20 years,” said Honig.
Both candidates have stated that property taxes are one of the most pressing issues facing Tenafly today. High taxes is among the reasons that Honig thinks New Jersey Magazine now ranks Tenafly at number 166 in the 2011 “Best Places to Live in New Jersey.” This is a noticeable drop from the past, said Honig, when Tenafly was ranked in the “Top 20.”
The number of homes on the market is also a sign of high property taxes, said Honig; 117 homes are currently on the market in Tenafly, while realtors claim there are traditionally around 30-40 homes on the market at a time.
“One of the things I have to do is keep property taxes under control,” said Honig.
“The way to do that is ensuring that the contracts we sign, with town employees in particular and next year with the police contract, are contracts that are fair for the tax payers and the residents and represent the economic times in which we live.” Among trying to control property taxes if is he elected mayor, Honig also expressed a desire to limit wasteful spending. He believes that a recently approved $5 million renovation of a police station was excessive and could have been completed at a lesser cost.
“The truth is that the police station did need a renovation, probably a million and a half dollar renovation, but it didn’t need a five million dollar police palace,” said Honig. “It didn’t need 14,000 square feet to house on average about sixteen to twenty people per shift. That’s the kind of money that we can’t waste anymore.”
Another issue that Honig planned to address if elected mayor is negotiating labor contracts that are fair for the tax payers, specifically the concept of “terminal leave.” Honig reported that during a budget meeting on Oct. 18, it was announced that the government was required to “pay out a total of a $150,000” to two former police captains after they retired.
“Hypothetically, if a captain was retiring and making hypothetically $160,000 a year, which is roughly about what it would be, they would immediately be receiving $112,000 for the rest of their life,” said Honig. “Plus, the town pays 64 percent of their medical care for the rest of their life. I don’t think that it’s fair to then, on top of that, ask the taxpayers to pay another goodbye present.”
Honig believes he would be able to change Tenafly for the better, stating that he thinks Mayor Rustin’s term in office is the reason behind the current high taxes. Having a new individual in the mayor’s position would give an opportunity for new ideas to germinate, Honig said.
“Tenafly is not a better place than it was eight years ago,” said Honig. “We do not have higher quality services, yet we’re paying more for them. I believe my opponent has had his opportunity to demonstrate what he can do and it’s now time for a change.”