Democrat Bill Cerra, a former Old Bridge Police captain, discussed his candidacy for mayor in Old Bridge with Donna Roman Hernandez on Tough Justice, an Internet talk radio show broadcast every Saturday at 5 p.m.
Cerra joined the police department in 1978 and worked as captain for 15 years before retiring eight years ago.
“The politicians always didn’t want to give you the money you needed to operate,” Cerra said, when asked what he found frustrating about politicians while he was working for the township.
Cerra also explained that taxes are not the only source of municipal revenue, and explained that he would pursue options other than tax increases to raise funds needed for expanded programs.
“Any community needs a great leader,” said Hernandez. “I’m really impressed.”
According to Cerra, the current mayor won his first term in 2011 after telling voters there was an $8 million deficit, which was a fiction. To maintain that deception, the Republican mayor laid off ten police officers.
The township actually lost $325,000 by laying off the officers, because of the revenue they had previously generated, complexity of funding and costs associated with putting workers on unemployment.
“They’re not doing what’s in the best interest of Old Bridge,” said Cerra.
“Its crucial to know what type of person you are voting for,” said Cerra, who said there should have been no layoffs, “because there was no money problem.”
Cerra said that most people do not have time or ability to closely monitor what is going on inside the government.
“You have to wake people up sometimes,” said Cerra, who credited his runing mates for helping get out the word about the current administration’s reckless actions. Cerra is on the ballot with council candidate Tom Galante, Jack Gillick and Deborah Marquez.
Cerra said he will take no salary or benefits if he is elected to the post. By comparison, the Republican incumbent has taken more than $200,000 in salary, benefits and auto expenses during his four years as mayor.
“You shocked me with a couple of things you said,” Hernandez noted. Left me speechless for a few moments that you have no intention of collecting a salary or benefits when you get elected mayor in Old Bridge.”
Cerra said he frequently volunteers in service to the community. He was a youth sports coach, police union leader, Kiwanis Club chapter founder, and member of the Knights of Columbus, as well as other service organizations.
Describing the municipal budget, Cerra said about $44 million goes to expenses that are beyond local control, such as insurance, payroll and mandatory outlays. That leaves only $8 million for discretionary spending.
He said economic development activity is necessary for the township to generate additional income, which could stabilize taxes.
“You have big stores (in Old Bridge) shutting their doors,” said Cerra, who explained that the Republican administration ended a program to stimulate local business.
The program is online at www.toughjusticeddv.com.
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