Representatives of Cape Issues met recently with newly elected State Sen. Michael Testa (R–1st) to introduce Cape Issues to him and to discuss how he would approach some of the current challenges facing Cape May County. Herald Publisher Art Hall, Bill Michael and Peter Jespersen discussed economic development, completion of Route 55, the return of tax dollars to the county, school funding and educational issues, county bridges and affordable housing with Testa.
The wide-ranging conversation resulted in agreement to maintain a close relationship between Cape Issues and Testa. There was also agreement that the challenges listed above cannot be completely separated from each other and that the overall good of the county would need to determine any decisions made in dealing with each item.
Testa specifically mentioned the life safety hazard to county residents if the county needs to be evacuated in the absence of a completed Route 55 and the difficulty such completion faces in opposition from environmental groups which consider Cape May County high on their list of locations for preservation. He also spoke about the relatively small amount of money returned by the state to the county from tourism taxes compared to some North Jersey counties and the budget problems our school districts face under the current state funding formula.
The senator offered to attend future Cape Issues meetings and accepted the opportunity to keep the public informed about his efforts on behalf of Cape May County by writing a regular op-ed column for the Herald.
The Cape Issues mission is to make Cape May County the most efficient and effective county government in the State of New Jersey, minimize the tax burden on county residents, provide quality service to county residents and visitors and preserve the environment that is essential to the county’s tourism based economy.