Leading up to the 2020 election, The Mantua Sun is running a three-week Meet the Candidates series. During this second week, candidates in both Democratic and Republican parties running for office provide some background on who they are and why they’ve chosen to run.
For the second week of our three-week series on the upcoming Mantua Township Committee election, candidates were asked two questions: what would be their top priorities if elected and how did they plan on keeping lines of communication open with residents.
If elected, my top priority would be to increase the quality of life for all our residents. This means focusing on making Mantua more attractive for families, for reasons other than our great school system. We can build upon our township events, invest in projects like a dog park, and partner with our schools to get the students involved in Give Back Programs to our veterans and seniors. This also means attracting good job creating businesses to our township by offering incentives, tax abatements and SBA loans. Having quality businesses in our town builds a sense of community and provides quality goods and services for our residents. These businesses will share the tax burden so it is not left solely on hard working families. Lastly, I will ensure that all our Township’s business is done with integrity and transparency. The residents always have a right to know what direction our township is heading and they should be involved in the process.
Open communication is very important to me in my personal life, my work life, and it is how I run my campaign. I manage my own social media accounts and monitor all of my campaign email. This allows me to speak directly to voters and hear firsthand their concerns and ideas for our town. If elected, I would continue managing my own public social media pages and communicate directly to residents, keeping them informed of upcoming events, local issues, and township business. I also believe our township could benefit from a Mantua Township Phone App. This app could be a central hub where our township posts all community related information in one place. This could include township events, meetings, police department updates, new policies, road construction, announcements, etc. Direct communication with residents is important and I believe transparency is crucial in a functioning democracy.
If reelected, I will continue to focus on two main areas: keeping taxes stable and continuing to make infrastructure improvements, such as repairing our roads and improving our parks.
We continually work to grow the commercial base, which helps our ratables and stabilize taxes. Our Office of Economic Development works hard to attract new businesses and leverages our relationship with the County and State to offer business incentive resources, public-private partnerships, and programs that encourage redevelopment projects. Over 15 new businesses have opened in the Township in the past three years.
Additionally, Mantua works to keep taxes in check by sharing services with other towns. This enables the Township to save on the cost of providing the service and/or to generate revenue by being the provider of the service. Two examples are that we provide Municipal Court for Pitman, Wenonah, and Woodbury Heights, as well as police services for Wenonah. Since 2010, the amount of State Aid the Township has received has remained flat, so we must continue to find creative ways to offset increasing costs. As a taxpayer, I am just as concerned about our taxes as everyone else.
I feel strongly about continuing our Capital Program to maintain and improve our roads and parks. In each of the past several years, we have dedicated $300,000 – $500,000 to our Road Program which has enabled us to work on repairing the roads and drainage across the Township, starting with those in the worst condition.
Since we do not have a downtown, Chestnut Branch Park is the place that allows our community to come together, which is why I am committed to making upgrades to the Park. We put in new playground equipment for the toddlers, and this year new equipment for the older kids will be installed. We also have purchased LED lights to illuminate the walking paths to improve visibility and safety.
As a Township Committeeman, I am always available for residents to discuss issues and concerns about the town so that I can make well-informed decisions on policy issues. Residents can reach me by phone, email, or in person. Daily updates to the Township website and posts on the Township Facebook page allow us to provide information about municipal services and events to a large number of residents at once. More importantly, I value the one-on-one communication with residents through personal interactions at community functions.