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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Belmar Borough Council

BOROUGH COUNCIL – Full Term – Vote for OneBelmar operates under the Small Municipality plan 3 form of government under the Faulkner Act. Under the Small Municipality Plan, the Council consists of four members elected for staggered, three-year terms at partisan elections each year as part of the November general election, with either one or two seats up for vote in a three-year cycle. The Mayor is directly elected by the voters for a four-year term and serves as Belmar's chief executive officer, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Borough. The Mayor sits as a member of the Council and chairs Council meetings. He is able to vote as a member of the Council, but has no veto over the Council's actions.

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  • Candidate picture

    Thomas Brennan
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Gerald A. Buccafusco
    (I)

  • Candidate picture

    Jodi L. Kinney
    (Rep)

Biographical Information

What are the major challenges facing the community/district and how would you propose to address them if elected?

What qualifies you for this position, both personally and professionally?

What factors are critical to the quality of life/education in your community and what would you do to improve or preserve them?

Campaign phone 732-829-4433
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Brennan4Belmar
Website www.brennanforbelmar.com
Campaign Address 404 11th Ave.
Education Masters in Music Ed - Kent State Univ. Bachelors in Music Ed - Jersey City State AA - Brookdale CC
Fiscal Strength: We need to uncover new revenue sources, Cut costs wherever possible & Lower municipal debt Environmental Leadership Complete protective dune project at no taxpayer cost. Enforce ban on Styrofoam containers and single use plastic bags & work with state to address flooding issues on State Rt. 35, adjoining neighborhoods. Smart Growth: Ensure all proposals comply with existing land use codes, collaborate with mayor and council, redevelopers and neighbors to insure that new construction “fits” & work with developers to insure stormwater management best practices Enhanced Communications: Continue to use Code Red/Blue messages to keep residents informed, monitor social media so we are aware of the issues residents care about & continue to improve our municipal website and social media presence Quality of Life: Revamp the Animal House ordinance to make it more effective & work with the Belmar PD & examine options to curtail/prohibit pop up car rallies. Bipartisanship: Continue to work with Mayor Walsifer and BA Kirschenbaum to find best practice solutions “Keep what works. Fix what doesn’t.”
Along with my two terms of experience on the Council, I am gratified to have been involved in the Belmar community for nearly 3 decades. I taught hundreds of students as the long-time music teacher/band director at Belmar Elementary School until retiring last year. I serve on the Environmental, Harbor and Tourism Commissions and the Zoning Board and spent years as Belmar Arts Council treasurer/trustee, Belmar Avon Lake Como Little League treasurer/coach. I'm a member Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh of the Jersey Shore and have been part of dozens of community events over the years. My wife, Merry, and I have raised three children here in Belmar: Ciaran, 28, Aislinn, 26 and Sean, 24. One of the great things I love about Belmar is we are a diverse community that cares for our seniors and kids, families and businesses. I wasn’t in office during Superstorm Sandy, but I was able to volunteer at Boro Hall for those first two weeks, helping pump out basements, getting residents supplies they needed, etc. My understanding and knowledge of the community put me in a unique position to help serve my fellow residents better. I helped make Belmar a community not just a town.
I think it is very important that Belmar has a bipartisan council. (no matter who holds the majority) and I believe the community agrees with me. In a country divided by partisan conflict, I pride myself in being able to work across the aisle for the best interests of Belmar’s residents and businesses. Residents don’t see me fighting with the Republicans on the dais. Contentious conflict at Council meetings is non-productive. However, I fight hard for what I believe in, sometimes behind-the-scenes, sometimes in public. My efforts have led to important bipartisan changes in programs and policies. I was the one who got us text alerts, radio announcements, signage and other communications about beach operations and closures this past summer. I insisted we limit daily beach badge sales. I am the environmental voice on the council. My efforts led to Belmar being ahead of the rest of the state in prohibiting single-use plastic bags & Styrofoam. I’ve fought to make improvements in flood preparation that have led to lower flood insurance premiums. I supported the improvement of all Belmar’s parks and playgrounds. I voted to purchase a badly needed replacement firetruck, acquiring a demonstration model at half price. The Lake Como outfall pipe, I have seen that project through from beginning to end. Just last night, I voted to toughen our Animal House ordinance, changed as a result of a public conversation I started. That is why I ask for your vote.
Facebook Page Gerald Buccafusco
Website geraldbuccafusco.com
Campaign Address 409 5th Avenue Belmar, NJ 07719
Education BA - New York University JD - Seton Hall University School of Law
In my opinion the most pressing challenges is the lack of transparency of this Administration and the Municipal Council. Those of us who regularly attend Council meetings have witnessed votes on resolutions and ordinances with little or no discussion by Council members. By the time we can give our opinions at the public sessions, we know the matter has already been decided. Budgets are adopted without any budget review, work sessions or any detail. Redevelopment plans are produced without any input from residents, especially those residents being most impacted by these plans.I will work to increase transparency by sharing as much information as I can with residents, engaging my counterparts in discussions at council meetings and by being persistent with Administration officials to release all important public information.

Another challenge is fiscal responsibility and sound financial planning. This is critical if Belmar is to prosper and remain affordable for all residents. Municipal spending continues to increase as well as the Borough’s debt. Future budgets must control operating costs. A third challenge relates to redevelopment, especially on our Main Street business district. Redevelopment plans need to be well thought out and responsive to the needs of business owners, residents and taxpayers. One of my first steps would be to call for a review of the Borough Master Plan and the Seaport Development Plan. We also needs a comprehensive traffic and parking study.
I have regularly attended meetings of the Borough Council since the imposition of a property tax increase of over 20% in 2019 and I have voiced my concern over the lack of transparency on many items before the Council, as well as the Council’s lack of responsiveness to residents’ concerns.

As an attorney I am comfortable addressing legal issues before the Council. My background in administration, budget preparation, human resources and government, in general, provides me with the professional qualifications for this position.
Being a seashore town a critical factor for qualify of life is the natural environment especially the preservation and utilization of our beaches. Clean, safe beaches must be a priority for the Borough and I would support any effort that has this as its goal.

Maintaining the small town atmosphere of Belmar is also a quality of life factor that is critical. Our Main Street development has been trending towards larger structures, the latest being four stories high, with apartments or condos making up the upper floors. More residences mean more traffic, more parking issues and less of a town-like uniqueness. I will work to limit these structures to try to prevent the cold, urban like feel beginning to grow in Belmar.

Health and safety must be a priority to have an acceptable quality of life. In particular there must be ongoing efforts to maintain unruly summer renters. I will support all legitimate efforts to hold tenant offenders as well as landlords liable for unacceptable and illegal behaviors.
Campaign Email kinney4council@gmail.com
Facebook Page Kinney for Council
Education 1994 Rutgers University Graduate, 2000 Graduate New York Chiropractic College
The biggest issue facing Belmar today is getting through this pandemic. We have to balance keeping businesses open, and keeping residents safe. Businesses, especially Restaurants, are facing an up-hill battle as the weather gets colder. I would work with our Social Media Director as well as Tourism to help attract more people to the town. We want businesses to survive and thrive during and after Covid while keeping residents safe. Belmar can take pride in the fact that since the beginning of the pandemic, not one Belmar employee has tested Positive for Covid. We need to continue to keep our town employees and residents safe and healthy. This will include taking precautions with masks, social distancing, sanitizing and following all guidelines until we can get through this. The next issue is Redevelopment. Property owners have the right to develop their own property. Belmar has ordinances to help control what redevelopment that’s allowed. We have a planning/zoning board that can alter the plan to find a vision that’s right for the town. I believe redevelopment is important to phase out old structures and bring in new. Especially now with Covid, businesses want windows, proper ventilation, air filtration and energy efficiency. So redevelopment is essential to attracting new storefronts, but it all must be within reason and done according to a proper plan. There must be proper engineering, sewage plans, and traffic/parking plans while do what's best for residents.
I believe I have great qualifications to help me in elected office. First, is my ability to run 2 small businesses. I know how to balance a budget. I have done build-out in both locations so I have a working knowledge of construction, planning/zoning, inspections and permits. I am very familiar with Marketing and Advertising, and building successful businesses. Second, I have a household that I run with my husband and 2 children. As the only candidate with school aged children I am very aware of time management and scheduling. They are back to school, and look forward to Recreation programs and sports. I am eager to help bring these back the town safely. Next, as a healthcare professional, I am a good listener. I listen to my patients’ problems to help come up with solutions to get them better. I would listen to residents, and bring their needs to the forefront so their voices can be heard. As a healthcare provider, I am very in tune with CDC regulations, safety and health guidelines during this pandemic. I strive to keep myself, my family, my staff and patients safe and healthy, and would help guide our residents and borough employees to stay healthy also. I’m a positive person and I believe I’m easy to get along with, so I know I would be amenable when working with the Belmar community. Lastly I I love living in Belmar. I love raising our family here and the neighbors/friends I have made while living here, and I love that I may help serve our community.
Quality of life for residents in the summer is very important to everyone in town. When elected, I will work with our governing body to tighten up our Animal House Laws as it was out of control this summer. We need to work with our landlords for alternative rental options. Instead of rowdy group seasonal rentals, we need to be able to attract more families weekly, to our community. We have a community policing program has been helpful in offering communication between residents and the police. After listening to our Police Chief during council meetings she seems to be working closely with the Mayor and Business Administrator to continue to work on pnew plans to deter these rowdy, disrespectful type of renters. I am sure it is a process that will not happen overnight but It has to happen for the residents and for our quality of life.