Two three-year terms on the Shrewsbury Borough Council are up for grabs in the November 7 election. On the ballot are four candidates: incumbent Councilman Erik Anderson; his running mate, Kim Doran Eulner; and Democrats Shane Berkelaar and Dan Scaggs.
Here are Berkelaar’s written responses to questions posed to all four candidates recently by redbankgreen.
Name: Shane Berkelaar
Address: 103 White Street, Shrewsbury, NJ 07702
How long have you been a resident of Shrewsbury? Nine years.
Where did you grow up? Garfield, NJ & Lacey Township, NJ.
Where did you go to high school? Lacey Township High School, Class of 1995.
Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree?
I attended Ocean County College to pursue urban planning and business administration. I took a detour and entered a banking career at an early age, as well as invested in and renovated a number of properties.
Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when?
I have not served in the military. My call to serve has come a little late in life, and as the father to two young boys it’s a priority for me that they know to answer that call.
What do you do for a living?
I am an Assoc. Vice President for Santander Bank. I work with small businesses in a half-dozen offices local to Shrewsbury, and it offers a unique opportunity to understand the changes and challenges that business owners are facing in Monmouth County.
Please tell us a little bit about your community involvement efforts, if any.
I am a Scout leader, finance committee member for a local non-profit organization, and a treasurer for a local business network. I ran for City Council in Shrewsbury last year as well.
Party affiliation: Democrat.
How important is party affiliation to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?
It’s important to affiliate myself as a Democrat in order to better communicate the majority of political values that I stand for. That being said, I’m always open to the other side of the dialogue.
Do you have a role model in public life? Who and why?
I admired Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty’s energy, sense of urgency, and openness during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Having travelled the coastline daily for years afterwards, it was clear to me which community was best serviced by its leadership, and I hope I am as effective should the need arise.
Why are you running for Shrewsbury council?
I’m running for Shrewsbury Council for the second time because I love the community in which I raise my children and know that one must be the change they’d like to see.
What are the most pressing issues facing the town, and how do you plan to address them?
The most pressing issue in Shrewsbury is clearly, after much research, that we are spending one million dollars more per year in comparison to desirable shore towns similar to our own. A municipal wide audit of the root causes, in addition to collaboration with neighboring municipalities that are more efficiently run, is the only way to start the process of managing effectively.
What if any specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?
Voters can expect from my running mate and I, that our first priority will be the exploration of the municipal budget and the implementation of a plan to bring it to a figure that makes sense. Though important, a parallel initiative will be increased communication between Shrewsbury Council and our neighboring communities, as well as our own residents.
Earlier this year, the opening of a Seabrook House addiction counseling center drew protests about its location on White Street. Is that location appropriate? Why or Why not?
The Seabrook House opened not far from my own home on White Street, so it’s proximity to our home and the school was obviously a concern. Had my neighbors been informed of its existence when the permit was submitted, we may have opened a dialogue with facility management to both learn about its operation and possibly negotiated a more preferable location for all. Our concerned parents were not given an adequate opportunity to approach this facility’s opening with a fair warning, or an invite from the business to learn more. It’s important that our restriction upon group counseling is enforced.
If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so here:
In banking you’ll find two keys to a lock and two sets of numbers to a combination always held by two different people. It’s important to have checks and balances when other people’s money is involved. When it comes to government spending, decisions made within the confines of one party rule will find the lack of questioning from others leads to a less efficient government. This has gone on for far longer than other municipalities in Monmouth County, and the net result is far less value for the dollar in Shrewsbury.
Find the Shrewsbury ballot here. Polling places are listed by district below.
|1||Shrewsbury Borough Fire House||783 Broad Street|
|2||Shrewsbury Borough Municipal Building||419 Sycamore Avenue|
|3||Shrewsbury Borough Fire House||783 Broad Street|