Uncontested elections provide no drama in South Amboy


SOUTH AMBOY — Council members congratulated Tom Reilly for his Election Day triumph, an unsurprising victory since Reilly ran unopposed. He secured 100 percent of the 174 votes cast.

Mayor Fred Henry jokingly called the win a “stunning victory” at the Nov. 4 council business meeting.

“Tom, you always do a great job,” he said.

Zusette Dato and the other council members echoed that sentiment during their comments.

“It’s clear that you have the interest of the community at heart,” Dato said.

Reilly thanked everyone for their comments, and reminded the council he’d be running again next year, since this year he was running for the unexpired term of Second Ward councilman.

Reilly was appointed to the council in February following a vacancy due to the retirement of former council president Joseph Connors.

This year, Reilly had to run to fill the remainder of Connors’ term; next year he’ll be running for a full term.

“I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Business Administrator Camille Tooker said of Reilly’s chances next year.

Dato also said she had been at City Hall on election night to watch the upgraded electronic process to submit the vote counts to the county. She said she was very impressed and commended city employees for handling the process well during what could be a stressful time.

“That is not an easy thing,” she said. Tooker and City Clerk Laura Kalantsis agreed that the process this year was far easier than in previous years.

The Board of Education results were predictable as well. Incumbents John Dragotta, 570 votes, Lynn Kasics, 566 votes, and Paula Taggart, 536 votes, ran unopposed and secured the three board terms.

Also at the meeting, council members discussed the future of the site of the former Delilah’s Den club on Route 35. Tooker said the South Amboy Redevelopment Agency had requested that the city consider amending the zoning for the site to include residential uses in addition to the current business zoning.

Henry said every developer interested in the site has wanted to incorporate residential use into the plans.

However, one thing that wouldn’t change, he said, is that any development that goes on that site would have an entrance and exit from Route 35, not John Street, which could only be used in an emergency.

Councilman Don Applegate said he felt not letting people exit onto John Street could deter people from traveling into the city, but others agreed that there is a risk that John Street could become a cut through to Route 35.

Dato said she agrees with the proposed zoning change and was happy to see progress toward having the abandoned Delilah’s Den building on the property.

“It’s a thorn in the side of the city,” she said.

Officials requested Law Director John Lanza prepare the paperwork for a vote at the next meeting.