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: Patricia Mathis, Democratic Challender
1. What are your motivations for running for elected office?
My main motivation is my belief that a one-party rule is never good, no matter which party it is. I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for the members of our Township committee but I believe that due to one-party control certain measures are approved without negotiation and without objective nonpartisan debate. This is not good for Holmdel. Are your interests really being served? It is time to add new voices to the TC, voices who will help restore balance in the TC, voices who are not afraid to ask tough questions, or maybe voices who are not influenced to vote for the benefit of their party and its leadership. Holmdel residents need more transparency in the decision-making processes which affect their lives. I am determined for all policy decisions and spending approvals that have an effect on our lives to be visibly accountable and I will help construct ways to make that happen.
2. What are your new ideas for Holmdel Township?
I wish to revive the spirit which made Holmdel into the lovely town it is today. Our town is a canvas which can be painted in many ways and we are at a critical juncture. I want to encourage and generate continued community involvement in the planning and future of our town. Careful planning will ensure the values of our community remain intact rather than short-term reactions which carry long-term consequences, such as the proposed sale of our green acres back in 2012. Community outcry prevented those sales and I want to encourage continued community involvement. Holmdel definitely needs to increase revenue but I want to accomplish that without sacrificing our quality of life.
3. What are some of the challenges Holmdel is currently facing, and what are your ideas to get past the obstacles?
Increasing revenues and stabilizing property taxes while preserving the beauty and character of our town. Balance is the key. We need careful, well-planned development that preserves the integrity of the town's original Master Plan.
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?
I believe spending can be reduced by simple cost-cutting measures - identifying and correcting waste or excess, eliminating redundancies, and streamlining. We need to make sure we’re efficient with what we have already, without requiring new taxes or compromising the quality of services we enjoy.
Its difficult to get away from the traditional revenue streams: taxes and economic development. I share most residents concerns about our escalating property taxes. Oftentimes the revenue side of the budget provides more long term benefits. We need to focus on increased revenue by growing our local economy, as opposed to increasing tax rates. We have a unique opportunity to do just that with Alcatel-Lucent property. With well thought-out planning, we can encourage Holmdel residents - as well as residents from our neighboring communities - to spend more of their money within our township.
5. What experience in your private life translates positively to a life of public service?
I believe my best asset for serving the public is that I truly care about, and will listen to, each residents concerns and interests, and having no grand plans to pursue a political career, I will act on behalf of the publics interest, not my own. From a financial point of view, I am a former Vice President for a Wall Street brokerage house, where my expertise was cost savings via streamlining and identifying anomalies.
The Municipal budget needs to be fully unwrapped for objective examination by a Committee person that knows how to cut through the minutia and gut unnecessary spending, while increasing revenue without sacrificing the wonderful quality of life we have in Holmdel.
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?
The Lucent Redevelopment Plan mentions many permitted uses, and given that our TC has already struck a deal with the developer for payment in lieu of taxes for an as yet unspecified amount of time it is difficult to comment on what the benefit of this plan will be until the details are made public.
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?
My vision for Lucent is to create a luxurious, high-end shopping/entertainment/dining experience within the main building; something along the line of "The Grove" in Shrewsbury or The Mall at Short Hills, with plenty of tree and plant-filled gardens, and trickling water. A destination befitting of the wonderful place Holmdel is. Indoor public space with plenty of visual beauty, where one can sit and relax while having a cup of coffee, or meander through the many specialty shops, or choose to dine at one of several fine dining establishments, or perhaps stop and relax at an elegant club for a martini or a glass of wine. I'd love to see a boutique hotel there too. I want to attract well-to-do clientele, not create an environment which will draw passers-by to wander in and about our town at all hours of the day and night in search of, for example, 24-hour convenience stores.
As for the outside grounds, my ideal would be to retain it as beautiful public grounds, a lovely outdoor environment for community/social activities such as bike lanes and winding walking paths, etc. If we must build homes I would keep it at a maximum of 50 individual luxury homes - without sewers.
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.