I know October is the silly season of local politics, but Republicans Jim Brady and Dave Tinker are playing fast and loose with the facts in their campaign for Hazlet Township Committee. They recently dropped a flier on my doorstep which — in addition to attacking Democratic Mayor Kevin Lavan and Deputy Mayor Joe Belasco — sets forth their so-called “mission” for Hazlet.
A laundry list of banal generalizations, in it they promise to “lower taxes, less government spending, stop overdevelopment, preserve open space, promote green technologies,” and “promote government reform.” All important issues. So important in fact, that Mayor Lavan and Deputy Mayor Belasco have been working on them since their election three years ago.
After three years of Republican mismanagement that saw double-digit increases in municipal taxes, Lavan and Belasco stabilized them. As a result, homeowners saw the lowest municipal tax growth in a decade.
And while Republicans talk about reducing spending, Lavan and Belasco have actually done it. By aggressively pursuing shared service agreements, they saved over $200,000 through the elimination of the Hazlet Sewerage Authority, outsourced the health department to Monmouth County for a savings of $260,000 annually, and reduced salary and utility costs by shortening the township workweek from five to four days.
Lavan and Belasco also put the brakes on overdevelopment. They took builders to court to protect quality of life and secured record amounts of grant funding to preserve what little is left of Hazlet’s precious open space. They did more than simply list these issues in a flier around election time, they delivered results and improved the life of our community.
Unfortunately, Mr. Tinker and Mr. Brady are recycled candidates touting a recycled way of doing business. When Republicans last controlled the Township Committee, they raised taxes, increased spending, sold open space, recklessly borrowed millions for the new town hall, and most damning, found themselves ensnared in an FBI investigation that led to the arrest of their hand-picked mayor on charges of corruption.
Every time they run for an office, Tinker and Brady say anything to get elected. It comes as no surprise that their recent flier is consistent with that track record. Which is a shame, because a lot remains to be done for the people of Hazlet. Mayor Kevin Lavan and Deputy Mayor Joe Belasco are working to stabilize property taxes, preserve open space, and improve recreation for young people. They deserve three more years to complete what they set out to do.