This is the first in a series of interviews with candidates for Atlantic City City Council. Please feel free to add comments, as to what we should be asking these candidates. What do you believe are the important issues in Atlantic City?
(Jesse O. Kurtz:) Mr. Layman, thank you for agreeing to appear on The Atlantic City Scoop. Why are you running for Sixth Ward Councilman?
(Steve Layman:) I am running for sixth ward council because it is time for more of our residents to get involved – and that can include casino employees, if that restriction is lifted. We have too much at stake and we see our city government failing the citizens of our city. They have given us this court order re-evaluation, then tell us they have a plan to lower taxes. Then in the budget process, the reserve of 13 million dollars is wiped out from the budget. Where is that 13 million dollars and how could they use that as a cushion for the impending tax increase?
Also, we have not funded the Ethics committee, which everyone agrees is long overdue.
We do not have a process in place for the use of city owned cars.
We see such misuse when the current councilman in the 6th Ward was arrested for DUI driving on the beach.
And, others have been involved while driving a city car in accidents outside the city.
Why do we put such liability on the City?
Enough has been paid for lawsuits by city employees and elected officials!
(JK:) What should potential voters know about your personal history?
(SL:) Potential voters can learn all about me by going to the web site http://www.layman4ac.com/ or call me at my cell phone number 609-289-2626.
(JK:) What did you learn from being Mayor of Hainesport, NJ that will make you a good Sixth Ward Councilman?
(SL:) Being Mayor of Hainesport at a young age (24), I learned to respect all the people all the time. Everyone has the right to express themselves and as elected officials we must protect that right and listen. The key to [the] effectiveness of every elected official is to listen to your constituents – and then do what you say… at least make your very best effort.
Along with the skill of listening, the values and integrity of life inside and outside of government make for a good legislator. My life experience is vast: Husband, Dad, Mayor, School Board member, Zoning and Planning Board member, Police Officer, Volunteer Squad/ Fireman and a hard working ordinary American.
(JK:) On your web-site, in the section “On The Issues,” you indicate that you are “Committed to work for solutions for… Traffic Management.” What course of action do you propose to deal with this issue?
(SL:) I am committed to work, this is what I do. I am very pragmatic. There are 2 things that are of value, – and needed for the future growth of Atlantic City.
First is the Planning and Zoning master Plan [which is] in the process of being updated. I respect the current Director, Robert Crane, whose office is preparing that master plan update, – as legislators, the council will review and make those adjustments if needed.
Second the CRDA has a budget of 1 million dollars and issued a contract for a traffic management study. I can only expect for that fee, this will be a very comprehensive and serious study. It should not be taken lightly. The history of Atlantic City Council is to make adjustments for the purpose of their own political agenda and personal gain. (JK:) You are committed to finding a solution to the “looming tax increase.” What are you going to do, for people like myself, who are looking to buy a home in the Sixth Ward?
(SL:) There is a looming tax increase – a re-valuation. We have to lower the city budget now. Offset tax increases by effectively managing each budget-line item with a budget line veto; ask our Director to return unused budgeted monies to the city treasurer, instead of spending down (padding the budget to increase spending year to year).
Manage our employee head count. If an employee retires, review the position as to absolute need and if it does not meet a set criteria, do not replace them. Law suits have been and are a big problem, stop them by a proactive approach; do not have a human resource person in an appointed position that is not qualified. If someone sexually harasses another employee (and, if found guilty), FIRE THEM!
Everyone should be able to buy a home. The city has a responsibility to ensure level taxes and good services. I believe that there are enough private sector mortgage monies for qualified applicants. I would suggest that anyone who wants to purchase a home visit a good realtor and mortgage banker that has a real commitment to Atlantic City and its growth. Do your research…
(Part Two coming soon . . .)