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Monroe Twp. Town Council Ward 2

The Monroe Township Council is responsible for adopting ordinances; reviewing revising and adopting the budget; levying taxes; authorizing bond issues and establishing general municipal policies. In this election choose one Council member to represent Ward 2. Ward 2 includes Districts 1-14. Only your Ward will actually appear on your ballot.Each Council member serves for a 4 year term.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Leonard Baskin (Dem) PhD Biochemistry, Teacher and Research

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    John Marullo (Rep) Chiropractic Physician

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Biographical Information

What do you consider the most important challenges facing Monroe Township and how would you address those challenges?

What,if any, new proposals for local ordinances and/or resolutions do you think are needed and why?

How do you plan to keep property taxes from increasing while still attending to the quality of life of our residents?

What in your personal and/or professional experience prepares you for this office?

Current Elected Position Ward 2 Councilman
Education Ph.D. Biochemistry, Johns Hopkins University BS Chemistry, Trinity College
Campaign Email monroenjdem@gmail.com
1) Implementing sound development strategy through our Master Plan that is designed to maintain 50% of our lands as open space and balance growth, both economically and residential. The Council will continue their aggressive pursuit of open space and farmland preservation acres. 2) Strategically incorporating the court ordered Affordable Housing mandate in Monroe Township. Monroe will adhere to the court mandate to include these required units in carefully structured mixed use projects that will bring residential and commercial uses together in an attractive and effective manner. 3) Demanding the State of New Jersey fully fund the Monroe Township School District under state law. The Council will continue to demand that all levels of leadership in Trenton fully fund the School Funding Formula. 4) Lobby Trenton to allow municipalities to impose impact fees on developers for schools. I believe that schools are critical infrastructure and impact fees must be implemented.
I believe all municipalities should consider passing a resolution supporting an amendment to state law requiring developers to pay impact fees for schools. The New Jersey League of Municipalities supports such an amendment. Schools should be considered critical infrastructure, no different than roads and sewers which currently pay for improvements and upgrades as part of their land use approvals.

The municipal portion of property taxes constitute about 20 % of the bill. The municipal portion of your tax bill has been stable for the last four years. Every year during the budget process, every department and program is scrutinized and evaluated to determine the benefit to our residents. Fiscal responsibility is our highest priority, so constant evaluation of our services is crucial to maintaining our outstanding quality of life here in the township. I fully support creative shared services and partnerships to reduce the burden on tax payers. Furthermore, our Standard & Poor’s Bond rating is AA+.

I currently serve on the Township Council as the Ward 2 Representative. By way of education: I have a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in biochemistry and a B.S. in Chemistry from Trinity College. I taught in the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Department of Stevens Institute of Technology and conducted research at UMDNJ and the Veterans Administration in Brooklyn, NY. Currently, I am a substitute teacher in the Monroe School District and neighboring communities. I have had an opportunity to see the Monroe Twp. schools first hand. They are doing a great job preparing the students for the 21st century in several diverse directions. I have lived in Monroe Twp. at Stonebridge about 10.5 years and during that time I have served as Stonebridge’s representative on the Mayor’s Senior Advisory Committee and served on the Monroe Twp. Shade Tree Commission. I was a member of the Stonebridge Alternate Dispute Committee and head the Stonebridge Investment Discussion Club
Current Elected Position Candidate for Council, Ward 2
Education High School- Sayreville War Memorial High School Under Graduate - Middlesex County College Post Graduate- Life University, Marietta GA
Campaign Email Jmaru08831@yahoo.com
I consider the over building and high taxes the two most important challenges. My plan for over building is to review the master building plan of the town. Unfortunately, our current Mayor and Council has modified it to suit the developers. Under my leadership, the master building plan of the town will be modified so that small parcel lots and high density housing will not be built. Had our Mayor and Council never modified the original master building plan, Monroe would not be ranked #7 out of 565 municipalities in town residence growth, according to NJ.com.

People are not aware that our Mayor and Council have been using millions of dollars in reserves to artificially keep the municipal portion of the taxes low. That money is just about gone and Monroe will face a municipal tax hike next year. A budget review, in house lawyers/engineers and eliminating the no-show jobs will stabilize, if not reduce the municipal portion of our taxes.
I will introduce new local ordinances to not allow high density building in Monroe. This is really important. This will reduce the burden to build new schools and tax payer cost. The current Mayor and Council have already approved 6000 new homes to be built. The shovels are in the dirt. It was only a few years ago that Monroe built a new high school and we have already out grew it. For the new school year of 2018, trailers will be brought back to the Monroe high school to accommodate the 1000+ displaced high school students. This is not fair to the tax payer.
I will review the 54 million dollar budget and trim the excess. We have several no show jobs that will no longer exist. These political favor jobs cost tax payers big money. I will push for in house legal council and engineers. There is currently no "check and balance" to their billing. This is a big drain to the Monroe residents. Changing these few things will not impact the quality of life for our residents. Currently, the Mayor and Council are using money reserves to keep our taxes artificially low. This is not the right way to stop tax increases.
My 17+ years of successful business habits will resonate through out our municipality. I have always been a responsible business owner. In my office, I am the sole income generator. Every year, I budget for the operating expenses, pay employee salaries/benefits, negotiate contracts and spend approximately $45,000 a year in new equipment. A degree in business management or proven business success should be a mandatory qualification if you are going to use tax payer money. We need responsibility and accountability, something that I will bring.

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