2011-10-13 / Front Page
Not much drama to Oceanport election
Mayor, two council members run unopposed for re-election
With the mayor’s seat and two council seats up for grabs, there are no challengers to the three incumbents in the Nov. 8 election .
Mayor Michael Mahon and Council members Ellynn Kahle and Richard Gallo are all running unopposed for additional three-year terms.
Mahon said the borough is facing crucial issues in the coming years.
“The most important issue is property taxes,” he said in an email. “The cost of local government is at the heart of every challenge Oceanport faces.”
Mahon also said the future of Fort Monmouth and Monmouth Park racetrack are issues for the borough going forward.
“Focus on details now, with an eye on the big picture, will benefit the borough in the long term,” he said.
Mahon was elected to his first term as mayor in 2008, after serving one term on the Borough Council in 2001.
He works as a roadway manager for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s Garden State Parkway Division. He is currently a member of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority and the Oceanport Planning Board; liaison to the Environmental Commission, Library Association and Buildings & Grounds Committee.
As for accomplishments, Mahon credited the entire borough with helping to make Oceanport a vibrant community.
“We’ve focused on keeping Oceanport an attractive, affordable community,” he said. “And I emphasize ‘we.’
“I’ve been fortunate to serve with a council that rolls up its sleeves and works together,” he added. “Working as a group, sharing concepts, advocating positions and reaching agreements is the trademark of this council.”
Mahon recited a long list of accomplishments during his tenure, including expanding shared services; park improvements; sidewalk installations; budgets under the tax levy cap; affordable housing plans; an updated master plan; major strides on pollution of Branchport Creek; and reduced municipal employee costs.
Kahle, who was elected to her first term on council in 2003, said the borough will be impacted by the future development of Fort Monmouth, which closed last month.
“With Fort Monmouth, I think the most important thing is to make sure whatever happens there doesn’t affect the landscape and the culture of Oceanport,” she said in an interview. “We are a small town, that’s what we like to be, that’s what we pride ourselves on.
“Whatever happens over there has to integrate into what we have and not put any burden on the taxpayers of Oceanport,” she added.
Kahle, a registered nurse who also served six years on the Oceanport Board of Education, said her own vision for Fort Monmouth includes an integrated college campus with higher learning institutions like Harvard
University and New York University sharing a campus.
“This would be an opportune spot for that because we have the train station right there and they would support the hotel they are talking about [at the fort] and Monmouth Park,” she said.
Kahle said she is hopeful Monmouth Park can become a year-round venue with concerts and restaurants to help support horse racing.
Kahle cited accomplishments during her first three terms, including the Sustainable Jersey initiative; $48,000 in energy grants for Borough Hall resulting in more than $4,000 in annual savings; a community garden; and the Quality of Life Committee.
Gallo said in an interview that his view of the future of Fort Monmouth might differ from some of his colleagues on the issue of housing development on the fort property.
“Basically I feel if they follow the plan thatwas proposed it should turn out alright in the long run,” he said. “I know most of my fellow council members don’t like all the homes but you have to have some homes.”
Gallo is owner of Foggia Florist in the borough, a wholesale floral business that was owned by his grandfather, has been on the council for seven years.
During his time on council Gallo said he is particularly proud of the work he’s done in parks and recreation.
“We have a 10-year plan for all our parks and rec stuff in Oceanport,” he said. “I think it was important accomplishing that because we now have a plan going forward.”
Gallo also said the borough’s road program is important to the borough’s infrastructure.
“We continue to move ahead with a road program that will get as many streets as we can paved,” he said. “We need to stay with that plan.”
While there is less pressure when running for council unopposed, he said that the incumbents would continue to work for the good of the borough.
“Even though we are running unopposed, we still are going to participate in the community and do what’s best for Oceanport,” Gallo said.
Contact KennyWalter at email@example.com.