Each candidate answered the same questions, which were emailed. Candidates were asked to answer the questions individually, not as one ticket. Candidate responses were not edited.
Candidate Profile: Eric Hinds, Incumbent Republican1. What are your motivations for running for elected office?
My motivation for running and continuing to serve my community is very simple. I want Holmdel to be the best! It is a great town. We are ideally located for work and pleasure and have one of the top school systems in the New Jersey. However, I believe we can make it better. We have put great leadership in the office and after 3 years of learning I am ready to take serious action!
2. What are your new ideas for Holmdel Township?In regards to new ideas I have a few. We are studying the possibility of running garbage through the township. We have at least nine different companies running through Holmdel. The damage to the roads and the inefficiency do not make sense. I think there is a better solution.
We need more activities to bring the community together. I was very proud of Harvest fest as I think it brought back Holmdel to its roots. We have attempted a number of these events like Movie night at Cross Farms which was a monster hit. Continuing these trends is a major focus for me.
Lastly, I want more options for our young teens. I am very concerned with a number of issues that our young kids face and things like a teen center are greatly needed in this town!
3. What are some of the challenges Holmdel is currently facing, and what are your ideas to get past the obstacles?
The biggest challenge is taxes! We simply have no ratables. You cannot put 89% of the tax burden on the residents. It has to change and the redevelopment of Lucent will help shape this change.
4. Last year, the Holmdel Township property tax increase was above the state average. What are your ideas to limit spending and increase revenue in the township, effectively working to lower property taxes?
Tax increase is an unfair criticism. You have to understand the factors that have hurt this town. The state has not been a friend to local towns, holding back energy receipts, we lost hundreds of thousands in bank interest that now gets us zero! The state pension system is a disaster and makes it impossible to plan for.
A lot of this is simply out of our hands. We have reduced personnel in many ways including the police being down nine officers. There is a breaking point where you need top line growth and cutting is no longer the solution. We did stay under the 2% cap!
5. What experience in your private life translates positively to a life of public service?
Public service is very tough. You simply cannot make everyone happy. As a financial advisor I deal with the public every day. I pride myself on solving each and every question and issue that my client faces. I hopefully do the same for the residents of Holmdel. I have answered questions for students, done marriages got involved with permits etc. etc. We are here to solve problems and make people love Holmdel more. I try to do this every day.
6. (Reader question) The Lucent redevelopment plan prominently mentions " higher education" as one of the permitted uses. Aren't most educational institutions tax-exempt, and how would it benefit the town in that case?
Non-profits have zero impact on ratables because they pay rent to Somerset. Somerset pays the tax bill to the township.
7. Expanding on Lucent, while the board hasn't approved the housing development phase of the property, what are your visions for that portion of the project? What is your vision for that property, and how can the township work with the developer to make the situation a win for Holmdel residents?
The housing is going to enhance this project. I know many people wanted just the building but that ship has sailed. Companies all over New Jersey are leaving their White Elephants behind. There is no market for a single or even double user of 2,200,000 square feet. We needed a mixed use and no developer was going to take this project on without housing. Lucent went everywhere. We are thrilled that Toll brothers is helping us and I think the final project will bring serious life to the old Lucent building!
Candidate articles will be published throughout the week of Oct. 21, and will be linked below as they become available. You can also find them in our elections category.