Candidates share views prior to May 14 election
By Lexi Yearly
Bordentown City’s municipal elections are set to be held May 14, and this year features three unopposed candidates for commissioner: mayor James E. Lynch, Jr., commissioner Zigmont Targonski and former assemblyman Joseph R. Malone III. The candidates have a wide range of goals they hope to make happen for Bordentown City, including road and sidewalk maintenance and repairs, stable taxes and monitoring the water plant. One of the biggest concerns noted, however, was the future plan for the Ocean Spray property. Lynch said it’s too early to say now exactly what the options will be for the space, as Ocean Spray is expected to begin moving out of Bordentown in 2014, but the property will likely be put up for sale and declared a redevelopment area, he said. “What we don’t want to have is it sit for five years and have nothing going in there,” he continued. The potential options for the more than 64 acre property will be public knowledge, as he wants the government and its residents to have a say in what most benefits the city. The Bordentown native, currently serving his 24th year on the commission, said he’s running for re-election because he wants to continue the work he’s done so far. A city-wide property revaluation was just completed in November as a response to numerous property tax appeals. The revaluation, Lynch said, is part of the goal to not only keep taxes stable, but fair. He hopes to continue that work, but said he felt the past four years had been handled well financially. “I think I have some more work to do, but I am very pleased with where we are right now,” he said. Lynch is serving his first term as mayor since he’s been on the commission. “It’s a humbling experience that the town put that much confidence in me,” Lynch said. Malone, also a Bordentown native, had served on the city commission from 1973-1997 and was a member of the state legislature from 1993-2012. He decided to run for commissioner because he wanted to put himself back in a position to be able to help resolve issues in his hometown and work with the community members there. “This town has done more for me than I could ever repay them for, and if these people need me to help resolve their problems then I am more than willing to do that,” Malone said. He also noted the importance of actively planning for the departure of Ocean Spray, but also enhancing the community infrastructure. “Number one is really, how we are going to develop the Ocean Spray property, and also working to look at how we are going to upgrade some of the properties in the community that have fallen into disrepair,” Malone said. Some of his other ideas for the city, he said, have come from resident inquiries. An assembly office used to be located across the street from Old City Hall, he said, which would get requests from residents about how they can find or use certain services: counseling, obtaining a license, adoption and more. He hoped to gather the resources to once again help residents find those services. Malone also hopes to pursue organizing a women’s leadership forum in the city to mentor young women, work with them and encourage them to be engaged in county and state politics. Targonski is currently serving his fourth term on the commission. He served three terms from 1989-2001, the last two as mayor where he oversaw the public works department. He has focused much of his current term on improving infrastructure, including obtaining grants for projects such as improved drainage at the baseball field and public works area, and obtaining DOT grants for the repairs and resurfacing of several streets. “We got the worst of worst (sidewalks) replaced last year, and some trees in decline were taken down,” Targonski said. “And as a result, we didn’t have a whole lot of trees come down in the hurricane.” Targonski has also been active monitoring operations at the water plant and hopes to keep water rates reasonable. “I want to continue to evaluate the conditions at the water plant because that’s our only source of water,” Targonski said. A retired shop teacher who’s built and repaired many machines, he feels he can use that knowledge to better understand issues with the plant as well as other city maintenance issues. He also hopes to continue enhancing the city, he said. A grant from the county is currently being used for work done at Bordentown Beach, where the Heritage Trail ends. Plans now are for a pavilion and other amenities. The next term wouldn’t be the first time the three candidates have served together. Lynch, Malone and Targonski all worked together for several years when their terms overlapped. City elections are set for Tuesday, May 14, at Carslake Community Center from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, go online to cityofbordentown.com.