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Bruno And Woodruff Discuss Union County Fiscal Management: Sale Of Runnells Specialized Hospital

Bobbie Peer

Thursday, April 3, 2014 • 3:00pm

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - "The real challenge comes next," said Councilman Bob Woodruff at a recent Town Council meeting of Union County's fiscal management of the sale of Runnells Specialized Hospital to Center Management Group of Flushing, NY. 

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders approved the measure granting permission to negotiate the sale of Runnells Hospital subject to a number of conditions that are outlined in a previously published article in The Alternative Press.com.  

Mayor Joe Bruno stated that the sale is not a done deal, but the freeholders provided an anticipated completion date of July 15 for a selling price of $26 million. Taxes will generate $500,000 with 60% going to schools, 22% to County, leaving around $100,000 of income to our town as a ratable said Bruno.

"The real challenge comes next," said Woodruff. "As a tax payer, it should be on all of our minds."  

Runnells had lost money for the County over the past several years, losing $13 million last year and close to $20 million the year before said Bruno. 

"This $13 or $15 or $17 million will not need to be expended," said Woodruff.  "Is the County going to accept the challenge and think about the fiscal concerns of its citizens and perhaps give the money back? That is the question that we need to ask the County."

"Or, will they find a place to spend the money?" said Woodruff. "We, as a group, will strongly urge them, particularly, in light of the fact, the position we took with respects to secession -- we would strongly urge them that they consider this as a savings and it should go back to the people from which it came." 

"What do we get out of all of this?" said Woodruff.  The concern is of the County's responsibility of these funds and unnecessary spending. 

Bruno agreed with Woodruff and applauded the County's effort, however; "They need to do a lot more. There are other things they can attack," said Bruno.  
 
"The goal isn't a political thing, for me, it wasn't a Republican or Democrat thing, it is a fiscal management thing," said Bruno.  "I'm still on a kick to make New Jersey affordable."
 
Bruno announced that the Berkeley Heights secession from Union County did not receive enough votes in legislature.  
 
"It looks like the secession could be a dead issue.  We did not get the votes in legislature we were looking for," said Bruno. "It probably will not happen."
 
"It doesn't stop the discussion of making New Jersey more affordable," said Bruno.  He suggested the attention should be given to removing the multiple levels of government and the duplication of jobs. "Do we need county government at all?  Republican and Democratic counties alike, do we need them?  This is the conversation that needs to take place."
 
"We started dialog in the community about the secession movement.  This dialog has to be kept up.  If we stop talking about making New Jersey affordable then it will never be.  It has to be a goal," said Bruno. 

 

 

 

 

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