Mike Hall Seeks Re-Election to Borough Commission
Hall said that his primary concern is with maintaining the level of services residents have come to expect, especially in terms of emergency, police and fire.
Mike Hall has lived in Collingswood since he was 6 months old. A graduate of Collingswood High School ('73), he worked his way up through the ranks of the borough fire department, spending eight years of his 30-year career there as Chief. Hall also has five children and five grandchildren.
When Mike Hall says there's no place else that has the same hometown feel as Collingswood, he knows it. Hall has spent his whole life in the borough, and speaks fondly of its charms.
"It’s just where I grew up, so it’s kind of like all I’ve known," he said. "But it’s always been a great town. You always felt safe playing in the neighborhood."
Hall's professional career in the borough has centered on emergency services, and he said that those issues are near and dear to his heart.
"It’s always been tradition that the mayor has been the director of public safety, but it’s always been my concern that the fire and public works can be healthy," Hall said.
"We’ve always looked at the numbers and stuff, but the 2-percent cap has made us do a lot of things we didn’t want do to," he said. "[We're] trying to bring some balance back to these contracts so we can still hire people and still provide service."
Hall says that the cap is the driving force behind all decisions the next slate of borough commissioners must make, as leaders balance the costs of service provision and tax rates.
Even tax-minded critics of redevelopment should note that those properties will someday contribute to the borough revenue stream, he said.
"You can’t go to a town in New Jersey and say, 'Are your taxes OK?'" Hall said. "That whole argument of a fresh set of eyes; there’s only so much you can do," he said. "The budget is approved at the state level every year.
Hall said that the redevelopment projects in the borough were done to bring "properties that haven’t been generating any taxes" back onto the borough rolls.
"Whoever’s living in Collingswood in 10 years will benefit from the profits of that redevelopment," he said. "I think that’s what we’re there for: to keep costs at a reasonable amount, to provide the services that people want, and to make sure that they’re done correctly."
Hall also said that he believes the incumbent slate of commissioners—himself, James Maley and Joan Leonard—isn't "resting on our laurels" and that "we always need to look for other things to do that the people want."
"The money comes in, you have to spend it responsibly on growing the town and the possible growth of revenue sources," Hall said.