Two races slated for Bordentown
Oct 29, 2015 07:45AM ● Published by Samantha Sciarrotta
In the township, four candidates are running for two seats on the Committee: Steve Benowitz (D), Eric Holliday (D), Thomas Dalton (R) and Mark Drew (R). Benowitz is the incumbent.
Three candidates are vying for one Bordentown City seat on the Bordentown Regional School District Board of Education. Christine Brennan, the incumbent, will face College of New Jersey student and newcomer Joshua Fausti and veteran candidate Joann M. Dansbury.
Four candidates are squaring off for two seats on the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Republicans Kate Gibbs and Ryan Peters will challenge Democratic incumbents Aimee Belgard and Joanne Schwartz.
At the state level, there are two District 7 spots open on the General Assembly, and four candidates are running. Incumbents Herb Conaway and Troy Singleton, both Democrats, will face off against Republicans Bill Conley and Rob Prisco.
Bordentown Township Committee
Four candidates are up for two seats on the township council. Democrats Steve Benowitz and Eric Holliday will face Republicans Thomas Dalton and Mark Drew.
Steve Benowitz, 70, has lived in Bordentown Township for 46 years. The Democrat is a retired educator and school administrator.
He attended Hightstown High School and went on to study at Mercer County Community College and Rider College, where he graduated with a degree in history and a minor in economics. He then received a master’s and teaching certification in special education, as well as doctoral credits, from the Rutgers University School of Administration.
Benowitz previously served on the Bordentown Township Committee from 1979-81. He was Deputy Mayor from 1980-81 and Mayor in 2014. Currently, he has been a township ommitteeman since 2013.
Community involvement/volunteer work: Member of three Chambers of Commerce, Foundation for Bordentown Traditions events volunteer, other assorted community service projects.
What do you think is the most important issue to Bordentown Township voters? How do you plan to address it? The most important issue for Bordentown Township voters is to consider is the rising tax rate. One of the many reasons that I came out of retirement and re-entered the political environment was that no one was addressing this issue. In other words, no one was working to attract commercial/business ratables that would result in collecting tax revenue and lowering taxes for our residents. Bordentown Township is one of the most desirable locations in the state. Previous committee members looked at making small budgetary cuts without looking at the bigger picture. I have aided in marketing our township as “Bordentown Township, The Crossroad of the Heart Of New Jersey,” a desirable place to locate a commercial/business endeavor.
I created a viable Economic Development Advisory Committee with a cross-section of business/community representation. Additionally, we are now active with several chambers of commerce. We have made our community more commercial/business friendly by revising the sign ordinance, and streamlining our planning board process. The proof is in the pudding.
Why should residents vote for you? If my bosses, Bordentown Township residents, like the unprecedented progress made over the past three years, they will come out on Nov. 3 and vote for the Benowitz/Holiday team. Remember, we have had more business activity than ever before. We have the largest commercial warehouse: Grainger, which will be completed early 2016. We have lowered the local municipal purpose tax rate.
We increased your services including a recycling center, street sweeping, streamlined leaf collection, additional Public Works services and others. We have a road program, and five roads have already been upgraded. The last time Bordentown Township had a road program was 1997.
We have improved and upgraded your parks and made your government more transparent. We have improved the financial situation by debt reduction and upgrading our bond ratings. We have made government more accessible by increased contact through door to door visitations, notifying you of upcoming events and meeting with homeowners’ associations to learn of residents’ concerns.
We have provided you with a greater sense of community by providing additional community events. We are fighting to preserve our environment by being proactive in preventing future negative impacts and through the efforts of an active Environmental Commission. We plan to increase our road program. We expect additional commercial/business tax revenue in the near future, and we expect to continue to lower your taxes. In other words, we project your local municipal purpose tax to be either less or equal to your local municipal purpose tax over the next 5 to 10 years.
A Bordentown Regional High School graduate, Dalton earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Rowan University. He previouslu served on the Township Economic Development Committee and Bordentown Regional School District Board of Education, where he was president.
Community involvement/volunteer work: Bordentown Little League softball coach; business sponsored numerous Bordentown softball and basketball teams; active in church and swim club
What do you think is the most important issue to Bordentown Township voters? How do you plan to address it? I think the No. 1 concern for the township residents is the burden they face paying their property taxes. In the these difficult economic times, I constantly hear questions regarding the tax increases. What is most troubling to the people that I am in contact with is why taxes continue to increase at a rate higher than the state-imposed 2 percent cap.
When elected as a committeeman, I will push to hire a full time business administrator, who will have the skill set to keep Bordentown Township’s spending in line with the state-mandated cap. This has been lacking in Bordentown Township for over five and a half years. The business administrator will also be familiar with various state grant programs that we are not aware of and, as a result, not receiving the monies that the township may be eligible for. I will also work on bringing in more commercial ratables, partnering with the county Economic Development Authority as well as the state to try and attract new businesses to the township.
I am also a firm believer that Bordentown Township and the School Board should be working towards the common goal of utilizing shared services where possible. These steps should help stem the tide of rising taxes and ultimately will lower the tax burden that currently plague Bordentown Township residents.
Why should residents vote for you? As a person who has spent most of my life as a township resident, having gone to school here, married a local girl and raised a family, I believe the answer is simple: when faced with the various issues the township faces, I will always vote on what’s in the best interest of Bordentown Township and its taxpayers.
Drew graduated from Bordentown Regional High School and went on to the University of New Haven for college.
Previously, he has served on the Bordentown Regional School District Board of Education. Drew is the current board president.
What do you think is the most important issue to Bordentown Township voters? Taxes and economic growth.
Why should residents vote for you? I have lived in Bordentown all my life, and I care deeply about our community.
He graduated from Hamilton High School West before attending the Texas A&M University Engineering Extension Service. He has not served any prior elected office.
Community involvement/volunteer work: Zoning Board; former trustee, sergeant of arms and president, New Jersey Law Enforcement Supervisors Association
What do you think is the most important issue to Bordentown Township voters? How do you plan to address it? The most important issue for Bordentown residents is taxes. As a new member of the committee, I want to continue to keep our municipal tax low. I want to expand the marketing of our township aimed at attracting additional businesses to the area. Bordentown Township is one of the most desirable locations to grow a business and we should say so.
We have a dynamic population, great resources and we are close to major highways. We need to make sure we do everything to lower the dependence on residential input into taxes and shift some of that input onto commercial entities in an equitable and business-friendly way. I have lived here for 15 years and I have never seen so much commercial activity as I have seen recently.
The current committee has reduced our municipal tax the last two years and I will become actively involved in making sure that we continue in this direction.
Why should residents vote for you? Many positive things are happening in our community and I want that to continue. Our services, such as our leaf collection and street sweeping programs have grown, our new recycling center for residents has opened and all of our parks have seen upgrades.
In addition to supporting new business opportunities, I am committed to making long term investments in our infrastructure—especially our new road program, and continuing to preserve our precious environmental resources for generations to come.
Our local government needs to be more accessible to our residents and more transparent. I want to continue providing Bordentown residents with a great sense of community. I know that Steve Benowitz has been visibly active in the community, and I had the opportunity to visit many of your homes with him the last several months. This is the type of representation you deserve. By voting for the Benowitz and Holliday team, you will continue to make Bordentown a great place to live and work. Let’s continue the momentum toward unprecedented progress in our town.
Lynch graduated from Bordentown Regional High School, where he was class president and a student council member, in 1976. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial education and special education from The College of New Jersey. Lynch earned 30 credits towards a master’s degree in industrial education, and he taught vocational graphics and deaf education at the Marie H. Katzenbach School for the Deaf in West Trenton for two years.
Lynch’s current stint as a councilman started in December 2014. He previously served for 10 years, ending in 2007, during which period he served as Council President and the Council Representative on the Planning and Zoning Board.
Community involvement/volunteer work: Member of the Fieldsboro Beautification Committee; involved with Bordentown City’s Main Street Project, which obtained grants for stores to fix up properties; Downtown Bordentown Association member; marketing for the new Veterans Memorial in Bordentown City; Greater Burlington County Chamber of Commerce member; administrator of the Fieldsboro Friends Facebook page; 40-year member of the Bordentown Elks #2085; 35-year member of Mt. Moriah Masonic Lodge #28 in Bordentown; five-year member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.
What do you think is the most important issue to voters? How do you plan to address it? Of course, taxes and the quality of life in the borough. Reducing our expenses and approaching shared services with other communities that benefit our residents, but still able to keep the Borough separate as a municipality. We already will be saving over $40,000 a year with our new shared service agreement with Bordentown City for police protection. This type of savings can only enhance the quality of our residents.
Why should residents vote for you? I am not afraid to stand up for what I think is best for the residents and work toward making our community better in the future for all residents. I consider myself extremely fair, but I am not afraid to enforce what is right, not always a crowd pleaser. The most important thing for me as a councilman is to help our residents in many ways. I devote my personal time to make sure that happens to the best of my ability. I want our residents to be proud of our council and feel comfortable that we are here to help and serve them in their best interests. We have a great community here, and I am happy to devote my time and energy to promote our town and make it even better. I go the extra mile to make it happen.
The Indiana, Pennsylvania native graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in geology.
Community involvement/volunteer work: Fieldsboro UMC church field day and Easter egg hunt
What do you think is the most important issue to voters? How do you plan to address it? I think the most important issue is to keep taxes down while improving our town. We’ve been successful in not raising taxes while obtaining grants to do improvements like our Veterans Memorial park which will be dedicated on Nov. 7.
Why should residents vote for you? I’m excited about all of the things we’ve been able to accomplish and have planned for the future. I’m proud that we’ve been able to not only not raise taxes but reduce them. I look forward to continuing to serve the residents of our town.
Brennan attended Rutgers University, where she graduated with a degree in economics. She earned her MBA from the London Business School and a CPA from DePaul University.
She joined the school board in February of this year to fill Ellen Wehrman’s vacant seat after her sudden death.
Community involvement/volunteer work: Eight year Anchor House Ride veteran, helps seniors and those with modest incomes with tax preparation though the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, races with the YWCA’s Double CC team in the Machestic Dragon boat races to raise money for breast cancer, has organized free legal clinics and raised funds for legal assistance to the indigent.
What do you think is the most important issue in the school district? How do you plan to address it, or how are you currently addressing it? Ensuring that we provide all of our children with the skills and tools, particularly related to technology, to be successful members of our community. I’m on the Board’s technology committee and am participating in the strategic planning group that our superintendent has organized for all of our community’s stakeholders.
Why should residents vote for you? Voters should vote for me for because: as a parent, I want my son and all the other children in our community to have the best education we can provide. I fear that we are at risk in creating an educational divide between the families that can and can’t afford technology for their children; as a homeowner, I understand that a strong school district is good for property values and is part of the foundation of a strong flourishing community for residents and businesses; I add diversity to what is predominantly an all male board. There are nine board members and only two women; I have the finance and technology skills (as a former IBM network engineer and tax accountant) to understand the demands and challenges on our school district and its budget; and have a strong sense of community service.
His wife and three children went through the Bordentown Regional School District. He is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Creegan has served for three years on the Board of Education.
Community involvement/volunteer work: Bordentown Community Soccer Association coach and board member; former Bordentown Area Basketball League president; CDA advisory board member
What do you think is the most important issue in the school district? How do you plan to address it, or how are you currently addressing it? The most important issue facing the school district is to continue to provide the awesome educational value, while being mindful of the cost associated with it. Strategic planning is also needed to assue that the district is heading in a positive direction.
Why should residents vote for you? Voters should cast their vote for me because I will continue to bring a level-headed approach to board business, and I will make every decision based on what I feel is in the best interest of the entire district.
Dansbury, her siblings and her children all passed through and graduated from the Bordentown Regional School District. She attended college but did not graduate.
Previously, Dansbury served on the on the Board of Education for 15 years prior to 3 years ago.
Community involvement/volunteer work: Treasurer, Clara Barton PTO; band booster president; special education parent group member; Bordentown Regional School District Education Foundation president and 5K/Family Fun Walk race director
What do you think is the most important issue in the school district? How do you plan to address it, or how are you currently addressing it? I have experience that can be valuable in looking at new ways to handle the cost of our education without making our teachers feel it will be at their expense. My accounting background is helpful in trying to figure out the budget and the many mandates we have had in the past and how that impacts our budget. All not new to me. I was brought up in a family who lived in Bordentown City and served the community and neighbors.
I think that it is important to give of your time and assets to make the community special. I also have a unique view of special education as I was involved for personal reasons. I am more than aware that other candidates, present and past, talk about reducing taxes and getting back to basics, and I agree with both statement, but you can’t do it alone.
You need five votes and you must have an understanding of how the budget works, as well as the school accounting formulas that are handed down from the state. But more importantly, you must have mutual respect for other board members and others point of view. You must be willing to communicate and cooperate.
Why should residents vote for you? I have lived here most of my life and really do think we have a lovely city with a lot of charm. I think just because I am reaching my senior years doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to offer. I am more than willing to meet with anyone not only now but after the elections. My door and phone are open to the community.
I think having the history helps to make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes. And I think we need to involve community members, especially senior citizens. The value of having a good school system means our homes will be more valuable. This affects everyone, even if you don’t have children in our system. But most of all I think being involved with the school is a most honorable and rewarding experience. I think we have something special here and most other districts don’t have it.
Fausti is currently a manager at Barnes and Noble. He went through the Bordentown Regional School District and recently graduated from Bordentown Regional High School.
He attends The College of New Jersey, where he is pursuing degrees in secondary education and history. After graduating, he plans to attain a Masters in educational leadership.
Community involvement/volunteer work: Local tutoring work
What do you think is the most important issue in the school district? How do you plan to address it?
Why should residents vote for you?
State and County Offices
Democrat Conaway, a physician, earned a BA in politics at Princeton University, an MD from Jefferson medical College and a JD from Rutgers School of Law. He served in the Air Force for four years, and has served on the assembly since 1998. He has been the Majority Whip since 2014, and was Deputy Speaker from 2002 to 2005. He is the Health and Senior Services committee chair and vice chair of appropriations on the State and Local Government committee.
Singleton, also a democrat, has served on the assembly since 2011. He is the vice chair of the Education committee and the Budget vice chair on the Tourism, Gaming and the Arts committee. He graduated from Rowan University with a degree in business administration and currently works with the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters. Singleton currently serves on the Burlington County Bridge Commission and has previously served on the New Jersey Turnpike Authority Commission, the Rowan University Board of Trustees and the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, where he was the deputy executive director.
Republicans Bill Conley and Rob Prisco are challenging Conaway and Singleton.
Conley, 49, graduated from the Camden County College paramedic program. He is a county committeeman and truck driver.
Prisco, 45, is a solo practitioner attorney. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 with a degree in history, and earned a JD from the Widener University School of Law in 1995. Prisco has served on the Riverside Township committee, winning elections in 2007, 2010 and 2013.
Belgard has served on the Board of Freeholders since 2012 and first ran in 2010. She graduated from Stockton University with a degree in environmental studies and earned a JD from Widener University School of Law. Prior to serving on the Board of Freeholders, Belgard, an attorney, served on the Edgewater Park Township Planning/Zoning board for four years.
Schwartz has also served on the board since 2012. She is assigned to Public Safety and Corrections, through which she oversees the jail, juvenile detention and extension services. She also serves on the Soil Conservation Services and Water Quality Management Board.
Peters, a Navy SEAL and Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve, is an associate at Pepper Hamilton LLP in Philadelphia. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2004, and received his JD from Rutgers School of Law (Camden) in 2012. Peters was deployed multiple times to both Iraq and Afghanistan, and he currently serves on the Liberty USO of Pennsylvania and South Jersey’s Board of Directors.
Gibbs attended American University, where she graduated with degrees in public communications and political science. She earned a master’s in business administration from Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, and currently works in business development for the Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative.