Two borough council seats are up for grabs in Fair Haven’s November 5 election.
On the ballot are incumbent incumbents Jon Peters and Jacquie Rice, both Republicans, and Democratic challengers Meg Chrisner-Keefe and Mike McCue.
Here are Peters’ written responses to questions posed to all Fair Haven candidates recently by redbankgreen.
Name: Jonathan Peters
Address: 100 Park Avenue, Fair Haven, NJ
How long have you been a resident of Fair Haven?
I moved to Fair Haven in 1999 from Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the South Shore of Staten Island where I was actively involved in the sailing and boating community.
Where did you go to high school?
I graduated from the local public high school on Staten Island – Tottenville High School – quite a long time ago.
Did you graduate from college? If so, which school, with what degree?
Yes – I hold a few degrees – including a Ph.D. in economics from The City University of New York
Have your served in the military? If so, which branch and when?
What do you do for a living?
I am a professor of finance and economics at The City University of New York where I work in the area of Public Finance, Urban Planning and transportation policy.
Please tell us a little bit about your community involvement efforts, if any.
I am an active sailor and am involved with the Fair Haven Sailing Club (River Rats). Borough Council has taken up most of my free time in the community over the last decade or so.
Party affiliation: Republican
How important is party affiliation to you? What does it mean to you to be a member of your party?
Party affiliation has a number of impacts on a given candidate – including their general perspective on public policy issues. After my many years in local public office, I tend to find that party affiliation has little bearing on many of the local issues that you deal with on a day to day basis – public safety, trash collection, recycling, repairing potholes and such. My perspective on party politics is always tempered by prudent financial practice and what we can afford.
Do you have a role model in public life? Who and why?
My role model is Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt – as President he worked to preserve national parks and monuments, fought to make food safe and he worked to control the power of monopolies.
Why are you running for council?
I believe that I can still contribute to making Fair Haven a better place. The Borough Council controls about 23% of a resident’s property tax bill. Out of those funds – we provide a number of services that the residents have repeatedly supported in public discussion. These include public parks, Policing services, trash and recycling collection, snow plowing, recreational facilities and such. I have been a member of the Fair Haven Borough Council for the last 15 years. I have extensive experience developing budgets and managing municipal operations. In my professional life, I am a university professor with a Ph.D. in economics and I specialize in public finance. I hope that I can continue to bring these skills to the Borough Council for the benefit of the community.
What are the most pressing issues facing the town, and how do you plan to address them?
Given that Fair Haven only receives about 5% of our annual budget from state sources – the other 95% is funded from local property taxes and fees. Thus, we have to carefully consider what are the most critical spending items for our community and how to pay for them. I am always concerned about the ability of our senior citizens to remain in their homes and I strive to continually try to address affordability and tax issues in the town.
As the head of the Council’s Finance Committee, much of what I do is not usually visible to residents on a day to day basis – and that is a good thing – as I am always working to avoid any catastrophic failures or unforeseen problems and plan for our future needs. I have also lead most of the union negotiations over the last 15 years.
What if any specific initiatives can voters expect from you if you are elected?
In terms of key goals, I look to preserve and expand our public spaces and improve our access to the great recreational resource of the Navesink River. We need to continue to develop further opportunities for active lifestyles for our residents that will promote a connection to our environment as well as help maintain their health status. Over my tenure, I have continued to champion projects that enhance our walking and bicycling infrastructure and also provide a range of facilities to address the needs of residents and visitors of all ages.
If there’s anything you’d like to add, please do so here:
This election is all about local issues and prudent financial management. I hope that the voters reflect on their expectations as to what the Borough should be prioritizing in terms of spending and public investments and which candidates can help the Borough best achieve those goals.
The candidates for council are scheduled to participate in a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters at Bicentennial Hall Wednesday night.
Find the ballot here. And below are the locations of polling places by district.