Name: Charles Sammartino
Municipality: Marple Township
Running For (include district/ward if applicable): 6th Ward Marple Township Commissioner
Positions Held Previously/Years in Office: 6th Ward Commissioner from 2005-2009
What are the larger issues facing the township and how would you like to see them resolved?
President Michael Molinaro is planning to spend millions of tax dollars on a Malin Road government building without allowing the taxpayers to have a say, they have not even communicated the entire scope of the project to the community. Because he does not produce a newsletter or maintain a residents website they are unaware of the plan. Any multi-million dollar spending plan should be placed on the ballot for the residents to approve or reject. Since residents pay the tax bill they should get to vote on it. My plan would be to have this spending plan reviewed and placed on the ballot so the residents can approve or reject it. Our seniors and those on a fixed income can not afford more taxes during these difficult economic times.
Crime in the township has also become an increasing concern, home and car break-ins have increased, and we may need to consider hiring additional police to combat the increase in crime. Our residents need to feel secure that their homes and property are safe. I guess the board feels it’s wiser to spend tax money on new government buildings rather than put police on the streets to combat crime. I would spend the money on additional police not new government buildings.
Would you welcome more transparency with the taxpayers? How could you make that possible?
Yes, it is important to allow our residents to have free and open access to all documents and spending plans that our Board of Commissioners are engaged in. On day one we would introduce an ordinance to require all documents be posted online in a timely manner so our residents can view them. Currently not all documents appear online and to get the information, you have to file a right-to-know request.
I will also go back to the time when I was commissioner, we allowed residents to ask questions at public meetings without requiring them to register in advance and not place time restrictions on how long they can speak. This restrictive policy is one of the first things that Mr. Molinaro’s board did when they took control. Residents pay our salary and they should have free and open access to their elected officials no matter how long it takes. The public meeting is exactly that, a meeting for the public. I think this is why the attendance at the meetings is so low now. I will post all meeting minutes and documents online. I will continue my policy of a commissioner's newsletter and website that I introduced when I was commissioner.
If elected, what changes would you like to see in the township or what is working well and you'd like to continue?
- First, I will donate my first years commissioners salary to the Broomall Fire Co.
- Add police to address the increase in crime in our neighborhoods. You have received phone calls from our Chief of Police warning residents about the home and car break-ins.
- I would reverse the restrictive policy the board passed under Mr. Molinaro’s leadership and allow residents to speak at the public meeting without having to register in advance. When I was in office residents had the right to speak at the public meeting without restrictions. This is a terrible policy that needs to be changed immediately.
- Cap current tax rates and do a full audit of all township spending and future spending plans.
- Place future multi-million dollar spending plans like the one planned for Malin Road on the ballot for residents to approve or reject. They pay the bills they should have a say on large spending plans.
- I would not incur debt to balance the budget to make it appear that there is no tax increase, in my opinion it appears that is what the board is doing now. This is a financially dangerous policy that will lead to large future tax increases. Of course the tax increase will occur after the election is over.
Why should residents give you their vote?
I am a fiscal conservative when it comes to spending the people’s money. I believe our township should have to live within its means like we all do. I’ve demonstrated that I can hold down taxes when I was commissioner from 2005-2009.
I have demonstrated that I am fair and objective and can work with my fellow commissioners to get the job done. I personally like Mr. Molinaro but we just have differences on how local government should work. This is not a fight between Democrats and Republicans, it’s about good local government. I think we have seen enough bad behavior in the last few months from our Washington politicians.
I work for Main Line Health as a Senior Systems Analyst, I do not make a living from business dealing in this township like my opponent does so I have no conflicts of interest that can arise that would cause me not to be able to represent my residents. Mr. Molinaro had to ignore the residents of the 500 block of Paxon Hollow Road in their time of need because of his business conflicts. I seek office to serve the residents, not special interests.
I do not seek office for power or control I just want to contribute to the community that I love and care about very much. I have shown the ability to work with both parties to get the job done. I ask for your vote and support.