Tom Ballistreri and Manny Aponte, Republican candidates for at large seats on the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders, today expressed their opposition to the proposal to provide equestrian trails in a county park in Egg Harbor Township, saying ?in the current climate of economic distress and unease, now is not the time for government to spend public funds for such a project.?

?People are worried — and understandably so — about their own economic situations, the value of their investments and pensions, the safety of their mortgages, and their financial future,? Ballistreri and Aponte said. ?Given this environment, government must continue to demonstrate fiscal restraint and responsibility and forego undertaking projects which are not essential.?

?While preserving open space and providing recreational opportunities are legitimate government functions, the overriding need is acting with prudence and care in spending taxpayers money,? they said.

?For the county to undertake the equestrian trail project at an estimated $140,000 for design, survey and engineering, with actual construction expenses in addition, would not be in the best interests of our taxpayers,? they said.

Ballistreri, the Mayor of Folsom, said ?decisions about public spending are probably the most difficult an elected official must make. I have been intimately involved in that process during my 10-year career in elected office, seeking to balance the needs of the community with the equally compelling need to keep property taxes low.?

Ballistreri said the success achieved by Folsom government in providing services, keeping taxes under control and offering a desirable quality of life for its citizens was recognized last year when New Jersey Monthly Magazine listed the community in the top 20 places to live in New Jersey.

?We took a great deal of pride in that recognition because it is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our elected officials and public employees,? he said. ?We proved that government can work for the benefit of everyone.?



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