Meet this year’s candidates for the Mt. Laurel Township Council Election — Week 2

This year Mt. Laurel has three open seats for Mt. Laruel Township Council.

Every week, The Sun will ask candidates in the Nov. 8 election for council seats to respond to questions pertinent to local issues. This week’s questions

1 .) If elected/re-elected, what new ideas and initiatives would you bring to council during your term?

2.) Moving forward, what plans do you have to attract new businesses to Mt. Laurel, and what would you do to support current businesses in town?

Democrat Kareem Pritchett

1 .) If elected/re-elected, what new ideas and initiatives would you bring to council during your term?

I will work with the board members to find a way to make sports in school less expensive. Make sure sanitation is collected, streets are clear of snow and ice. Our parks are well maintained. And work closely with our police department to keep our community safe.

2.) Moving forward, what plans do you have to attract new businesses to Mt. Laurel, and what would you do to support current businesses in town?

I plan on taking a look at Mt. Laurel’s current economic development plan and work with the board in targeting areas that may need improvements. To achieve this, I would recommend a SWOT analysis to identify our community’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It would be my plan to involve other community leaders to develop the best strategy to increase growth that benefits the majority. And although Burlington County has a Chamber of Commerce, I would recommend putting together a Mt. Laurel committee that focuses solely on our town.

Republicans Linda Bobo, Irwin Edelson and Kurt Folcher

1 .) If elected/re-elected, what new ideas and initiatives would you bring to council during your term?

Our first priority is to continue to promote a government that lives within its means and financially plans for the future. We will continue to vigorously pursue federal and county grants and shared services to improve public safety, our parks, our roads and our local services and facilities.

We will continue to expand opportunities for residents to provide input on how we can improve our community. We recently launched SeeClickFix on our municipal website that allows residents to report issues and provides them with real time updates as we work to resolve them. We understand that our residents lead busy lives and don’t always have time to attend a council meeting to share their concerns or ideas. We will continue to expand technology and social media to allow more convenient ways for residents to interact with our local government.

Mt. Laurel is blessed to have some of the best and brightest residents willing to volunteer their time and talents to improve our community. We would like to provide more opportunities for residents to serve on local committees to help organize new events and programs at no cost to taxpayers and contribute to our community’s long-term planning.

Thanks to the dedicated service of our first responders, we recently launched the new Junior Police Academy and CPR certification programs at no additional cost to taxpayers. We’ll continue to work closely with our police, firefighters and EMTs to promote more proactive and community-based programs to improve health and public safety in Mt. Laurel.

2.) Moving forward, what plans do you have to attract new businesses to Mt. Laurel, and what would you do to support current businesses in town?

Thanks to our fiscally responsible planning and cost-saving measures, we kept taxes flat this year while still investing in technology upgrades for our police and emergency personnel, building new parks and improving our roads and local infrastructure. Making Mt. Laurel a more affordable and safe place to run a business has made us a magnet for small and mid-sized businesses to move here.

Recently, a number of new businesses either expanded or relocated to Mt. Laurel, bringing hundreds of good-paying jobs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue that will help us offset residential property taxes. Over the last year, we’ve welcomed Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, a number of new restaurants, LifeTime Fitness, iFly and Top Golf to Mt. Laurel. Renovations to the Ramblewood Country Club, the expansion of Rowan College and construction of two new hotels, Bancroft and Walmart are underway to be completed in the coming months.

We will continue to promote economic growth in Mt. Laurel by strengthening our partnership with local businesses. We want to conduct a business climate survey, asking local companies to provide their feedback and ideas on how we can continue to help attract new businesses and help existing businesses flourish. We also plan to conduct regular business breakfasts to promote a two-way dialogue between our government and job creators.

Creating an economic development board will build on our private-sector growth. Comprised of business leaders, marketing professionals, community leaders and government officials, the economic development board would initiate a branding and advertising campaign to encourage more businesses to make Mt. Laurel their new home, organize new community events and provide incentives for our residents to shop local.

Working with our talented business leaders and professionals, we can maximize our convenient proximity and easy access to Philadelphia and New York City and multiple international airports to support major travel, which will continue to boost our local economy, boost regional employment and help provide property tax relief to our residents through additional business tax revenue.