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Montgomery Township Committee 1998

1998 VOTERS GUIDE

NON-PARTISAN ELECTION INFORMATION

Vote Tuesday, November 3, 1998

CANDIDATES FOR MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area is a nonpartisan, non-profit volunteer organization which works to promote active, informed participation of all citizens in their government. The League provide nonpartisan information on public issues, and takes action on issues after member study and consensus. In publishing this material, the League neither endorses nor rejects the views of any candidate quoted.

All candidate information in this guide was compiled from candidates' responses to questionnaires. Replies are printed in the candidates' own words, without editing or verification. Due to space limitation, the candidates were given a word limit for replies. Words in excess of the limit are deleted and indicated by an asterisk (*).

Reprinting of this guide in part or in whole is not permissible without written permission of the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area.

Copyright 1998 by the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area submitted the following three questions to all candidates for Montgomery Township Committee:

1. Please describe how you would best use the properties of the former North Princeton Development and McCorkle training center sites.

2. Voters approved a 4 cents per $100.00 of assessed value tax for open space. How would you prioritize the spending of these funds. Please be specific.

3. What steps would you take to meet the increasing needs for affordable senior citizen housing?

 

CANDIDATES FOR MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE

Vote for TwoTerm: 3 years

BRIAN M. CIGE
Party: The Democratic Party
Age: 39
Address: 46 Sourland Hills Road, Skillman, 08558

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Montclair State University-B.A. Political Science, cum laude minors in Economics, Philosophy and Public Administration (1981); Temple University School of Law-J.D. (1984)

Significant Community Activities: 1860 House, member; Rock Brook School, trustee, Blawenburg, NJ; Montgomery High School, volunteer-Mock Trial Team Legal Advisor, 1995-present-Honors Social Studies, guest speaker; Bessie Grover Memorial Park Playground subcommittee member; Somerset County Democratic Committeeman

Responses:

1. I would act cautiously before taking over these properties. There has not been sufficient explanation about why the State is willing to part with this valuable real estate. Credible information suggests there are asbestos and other environmental hazards beyond the expected maintenance and replacement costs for building structures, plumbing and electricity. We cannot afford to take responsibility for land that will translate to a municipal tax burden causing property taxes to increase.

With input from our professionals and the property neighbors, I would seek a partial modification of zoning to Neighborhood Commercial, a senior center for use by all residents, expansion of YMCA facilities and make land available for family farming - by parceling out to residents. The rest should be preserved.

2. When elected in November, Sylvia and I will work to make official policy allocating monies primarily for conservation and passive recreational use (open fields or hiking trails).

And encourage donations of conservation easements which are tax deductible to the giver (allowable since 1976 and updated in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997) and persuade landowners to take time payments with interest for these easements so our available funds can go further.

3. Zoning is the key. Property now in REO (Research, Engineering and Office) and APT/TH (Apartment/Townhouse Residential) should be targeted for the range of senior housing which can be made available - from 55 and over to assisted living - for new residents and to transition by current residents.

Reduce property taxes for all homeowners. I will seek alternate funding sources , among other creative solutions, by designating a Township employee as a "grants administrator" who will apply for money available for open space, police and special projects to keep taxes down. First, Sylvia and I need your vote. We look forward to serving you.


FRANK DRIFT
Party: Independent
361 Sunset Road, Skillman, NJ 08558
Age: 55
Occupation: Self employed businessman and Owner, Daube Farms

Education: Princeton High School

Community Activities: Founder, Montgomery News; member of Montgomery Township Zoning Board for 6 years; Manages Montgomery Professional Rodeo; Montgomery Professional Business Association, past president; started the Montgomery Youth Soccer Program, Traveling Soccer Program, Montgomery Thanksgiving Day Soccer Tournament; coached baseball, basketball and soccer leagues; organizer, Wednesday night and Thursday night Adult Softball Leagues; Games Commissioner, Central NJ Youth Soccer Program.

Responses:

1. Presuming Montgomery secures the North Princeton Development site, the acquisition would automatically benefit the town by becoming a ratable. The existing cottages could provide affordable housing for Senior Citizens. I dont believe the state will transfer ownership of the McCorcle Training Center to Montgomery Township because of the shortage of similar facilities. To assume otherwise would be premature.

2. I would use this money specifically to acquire the development rights of the farms in Montgomery Township. Purchasing only the development rights and not the land itself would preserve three to four times more open space than outright ownership! Montgomery would then be able to retain its rural environment that weve all come to love.

3. My priority would be to continually lobby the state to sell us the existing cottages and homes on the North Princeton Development Center property. These structures could be refurbished an available at a much lower cost than new development and they are already handicapped accessible.
In 1998 the township lost 18 employees including an administrator and an assistant administrator. It is crucial that this township be run as a business with solid leadership rather than with absentee management.

Thank you for believing in me.


ALICE HENKEL
Party: The Republican Party
Age: 41
Address: 15 Sea Island Ct., Skillman, 08558

Education: B.A. Rutgers

Significant Community Activities: Environmental Commission; Red Cross

Responses:

1. The North Princeton site redevelopment plan should complement the existing environmental attributes of the property. The rural character as well as the many historic buildings dating from the early 1800's should be preserved. The area could become Montgomery's "down town", with a library which would complement the village school and the surrounding schools. There is a theatre on the site, which has great potential to bring cultural events to the community. We could have restaurants and small business located on the many beautiful tree lined streets. This site could add significantly to the quality of life, and the tax rolls, for the people of Montgomery.

With regard to McCorkle site it is logical place for a school, a YMCA & day care center.

2. In June, the people of Montgomery voted to continue the aggressive purchase of open space. Montgomery has an organized, active Open Space Committee, which prioritizes property based on price, connection with other properties and our pathway system. I would prioritize spending based on the recommendations of the Open Space Committee, which has a proven track record of doing what is in the best interest of the community.

3. Montgomery has a forty-acre zone in place for a continuing care facility, and has approved an additional 20 affordable rental apartments. The township is in accordance with its affordable housing obligation, based on the "substantive rules" of the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing. These properties are within our Apartment/Townhouse zoning district.


SYLVIA B. TEMMER
Party: The Democratic Party
Age: 59
Address: 42 Skillman Rd., Skillman 08558

Occupation: Retired School Librarian and ESL teacher

Education: B.S. English and Elementary Education, Northern Illinois State University; M.A.L.S. Rosary College; additional graduate work in curriculum development

Significant Community Activities: Steering Committee of the Coalition for Peace Action; president, New Jersey Peace Action and New Jersey Peace Action Education Fund. representative, National Board of Peace Action; International Committee of Peace Action; Council of the International Peace Bureau, Geneva, Switzerland

Responses:

1. North Princeton Developmental Center, (NPDC) currently boarded up, presents both a challenge and a liability to the township. The longer NPDC remains unguarded and deserted the greater the opportunity for decay and vandalism. This facility and Montgomery citizens deserve better treatment than to leave it abandoned. McCorkle and NPDC are beautiful natural resources for the township which offer both pristine nature and developed possibilities such as community center, school facilities and other resident services.

2. The open space tax should be used to benefit everyone by using it only to acquire, preserve and protect land for passive recreation which will keep the environment from further destructive pollution.

3. Montgomery has already acquired the former Ingersoll Rand property which can be privately developed, becoming a tax benefit, meet the need for senior citizen housing, and remain primarily open space. It is crucial that township officials specify that any private concern meet reasonable standards of affordable senior housing. The township may wish to consider providing priority status for residents or their immediate families in any projected affordable senior citizen housing. Both McCorkle and NPDC have units which were recently built and which could be converted economically to affordable senior citizen housing. The already existing medical facilities can be used for senior citizens and a back- up medical facility for Montgomery residents. Accommodating our older residents who wish to remain in a familiar setting should be a priority.


PETER B. TREICHLER
Party: The Republican Party
Age: 44
Address: 561 County Road 518 Skillman 08558

Occupation: Attorney-at-law

Education: Colgate University, B.A. 1976; Seton Hall Law School, J.D. 1979

Significant Community Activities: Montgomery Township, Township Committee: 1995- present; Mayor, 1998; Planning Board, 1997-present; Recreation Committee, 1992-1995; Municipal Alliance, 1993-1996; Township Committee liaison, Board of Health (1996);Recreation Committee(1995-present); Police Advisory Board (1998); Sewer Committee (1998); Montgomery Rocky Hill Rotary Club: 1991-present; Montgomery Youth Sports coaching, 22 seasons, 1991 - present; Montgomery Board of Education Schools Ad Hoc Advisory Committee, 1996; Montgomery Education Foundation, Charter Member, 1988-1992; Cedar Grove (Essex County), New Jersey, Township Councilman, 1981-1985; Mayor, 1983-1984; Planning Board, 1982-1984

Responses:

1. Controlling the development of these two large parcels is critical to Montgomery's future. I agree with the development plan proposed by the Township for North Princeton creating a town center with educational, municipal, senior housing, arts, retail and commercial components. I would propose a moderate scale corporate headquarters or conference center facility as the anchor development. As to McCorkle, the town should purchase the property, and in conjunction with the Board of Education provide for development of a new high school together with facilities for other third party users, such as the YMCA.

2. At the current township aggregate assessment the 4 cent tax will raise about $600,000. per year. This is sufficient in itself to pay the debt service on $7 million of 20 year bonds or $9 million of 30 year bonds. Montgomery's open space is quickly diminishing and must be protected to assure quality of life. I would propose rapidly purchasing as much open space as possible utilizing longer-term bonds and dedicating the majority of this stable source of open space revenue for debt service. The voters will be assured the money would then always be used for the exact purpose they approved.

3. Historically Montgomery has appropriately planned for senior housing on a number of levels. It approved development of 60 affordable senior units in Montgomery Hills, 12 affordable senior apartments in the town's center, and a substantial affordable housing element at Pike Run. As a member of the Township Committee I voted to rezone land creating 80 senior age-restricted units in Cherry Valley. I am in favor of sustaining this momentum with the approval of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) at the Ingersoll tract. This would be the first of its kind in the area, providing 250-300 additional housing and health care units for seniors.