Two four-year terms on the Marlboro Township Council will be up for grabs in the Nov. 3 election. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Incumbent Democrats Randi Marder and Mike Scalea are seeking to retain their council seats. They are being challenged by Republicans Sui Allex and John Dwyer.
Marder is seeking her third term on the council. Scalea was appointed to the council in February and is seeking his first full term.
The incumbent Democrats were asked why they want to continue to serve on Marlboro’s governing body.
Marder said, “As a member of our council, I have been able to serve on the Open Space Committee and work toward preserving close to 300 acres of land in my hometown. That number will only continue to grow, particularly with the recent announcement that we will be receiving the largest open space grant in Marlboro’s history.
“I worked to spearhead the Marlboro community garden with the Shade Tree Commission and I have worked with the Recreation Commission, the municipal alliance and the senior advisory and teen committees.
“We have been able to preserve open space and provide relief for our overtaxed residentsinthefaceofa6percentschool taxincreaseanda4percentcountytaxincrease, so I am proud of the fact that we have no tax increase on the municipal tax level this year. I would like the opportunity to continue to protect open space, prioritize smart development and fight for Marlboro’s taxpayers,” Marder said.
Scalea said, “Since becoming a council member, I have been able to work with Mayor Jonathan Hornik and council representatives like Randi Marder to help implement our local government focus on smart growth in Marlboro.
“This focus has enabled us to create local jobs and increase commercial ratables to reduce the tax burden on homeowners while bringing in great new businesses like Costco, Whole Foods, Orangetheory Fitness and many more. “My wife, Maria, and I are raising our three children here and I believe it is critically important to encourage public service and also to volunteer time when possible for our community’s children. That is why I have volunteered time to youth organizations throughout Marlboro, including youth football and the Marlboro Little League and travel baseball club,” Scalea said.
The two Republican candidates were asked why they are running for seats on the council.
Allex said, “My parents emigrated from Hong Kong to America when I was a young child, they provided me with a life of freedom, opportunity and happiness that would not have been possible otherwise. When my husband, Harry, and I chose to settle in Marlboro, we acted out of the same love for our children that my parents did for me and my brothers and sisters.
“With a background in engineering and technology, I am grateful for the opportunity to use my education and skills to improve my community. I am running for council to give back to the town and the country that has provided an amazing life for me and my family,” Allex said.
Dwyer said, “My life changed on Sept. 11, 2001, when I witnessed unimaginable horrors and narrowly escaped. Since that day, I have reorganized my life and priorities. I turned my attention to community service and have used my 25 years of Wall Street experience to give me the insight in addressing tough issues.
“During my tenure on the Marlboro K-8 School District Board of Education, transparency and school security were top priorities and where I had concerns about how taxpayers dollars were spent, I voted against an over-inflated budget.
“Every dollar makes a difference and I have not been afraid to make the tough choices to protect our town, nor am I interested in kicking the can down the road for future generations to deal with. I am running for council in order to contribute my skills to the community and to keep Marlboro a wonderful place to raise a family,” Dwyer said.
The candidates were asked, “What issues will the community face in the next three years that will need oversight and action by the committee?”
Allex and Dwyer said, “We know the township lost (an affordable housing) lawsuit and that the courts have ruled the Marlboro administration has dealt in ‘bad faith’ regarding our affordable housing obligations. That is the Appellate Court’s characterization, not ours. … We are in a hostile environment with developers who now have the upper hand legally.
“Now we are over the barrel and at risk of having over 300 acres developed in the short term. The impact of this on our infrastructure, including roads and our schools, cannot be overstated.
“When Mayor Hornik took office he inherited an affordable housing plan that was compliant (with the state). Marlboro had immunity from builders remedy lawsuits. After eight years of what the court called ‘bad faith’ and ‘dilatory tactics,’ Marlboro has lost control of its own destiny and zoning powers.
“We will be honest and transparent with the people of Marlboro regarding this issue. We will bring the developers back to the table and negotiate in good faith. Only a change in administrations can improve the toxic legal negotiating environment we have been put in by the current administration.
“The current administration has deployed the same type of fiscal gimmickry we have become accustomed to out of Trenton, with one-shot fixes and deferring necessary infrastructure improvements. They took over the water authority and squandered its surplus. Now we have to borrow for repairs and maintenance, raise taxes, or do without, which is not a viable option.
“We will restore sound and fiscally conservative policies to Marlboro. We will reign in legal bills. We have strong business management and budgeting backgrounds that we will bring to the governing body,” the Republicans said.
Scalea said, “First and foremost, we need to continue to find new ways to deliver cost-efficient government. If we remain committed to a fiscally sound approach to local government we are better positioned to deal with future issues.
“We need to build awareness throughout the community regarding the various services and program to increase participation and volunteers. Jon, Randi and I will continue to improve upon our parks through open space initiatives and ensure our school safety programs remain at the highest level in the state,” Scalea said.
Marder said, “We will continue to examine ways to do more with less and consolidate spending. There are still ways to save money by combining services to save money.
“We will continue to seek input from residents to incorporate their ideas into our plans for Marlboro’s future, as we have with the sidewalk connectivity plan and a possible ‘Downtown Marlboro.’
“Storm preparedness and making sure our residents are safe during a weather related crisis will continue to be a priority. We need to build on improvements like the recent purchase of a generator that will allow us, if needed, to convert the recreation center into an emergency shelter,” Marder said.