Four candidates vying for two seats on the Maplewood Township Committee met at the final candidates forum of the season on Thursday, October 23 at the DeHart Community Center.
Democratic incumbents Mayor Vic DeLuca and Committeewoman India Larrier are being challenged by Independent Kurt Kiley and Republican Bob Perez. Read the candidates’ campaign statements here.
The forum was hosted by the League of Women Voters. Candidates responded to four prepared questions, as well as questions handed in on index cards from the small, but attentive audience.
The four prepared questions were:
1. Describe your approach to citizen input and engagement. What, if any, changes would you make to harness volunteers and committees to make Maplewood governance more effective? How would you reach out to those citizens not yet engaged or represented?
2. What demographic changes in Maplewood are most significant in terms of government services, planning, and resources, both in the near and long-term? What are your priorities in addressing these changes?
3. Budget constraints force members of the Township Committee to make hard decisions about maintaining and or replacing our infrastructure – our roads, bridges, and municipal buildings. Given the state-mandated cap on taxes, what would you identify as our most pressing infrastructure needs, how would you rate Maplewood’s relative success in meeting them over the past few years, and what if any changes would you advocate?
4. What are your priorities for development and/or redevelopment projects within Maplewood, taking into consideration financing, historic preservation, and environmental concerns? What are your views on pursuing a Transit Village designation?
Questions from the audience centered around economic development on Springfield Avenue and Irvington Avenue, parking in Maplewood Village, reducing taxes, cutting debt, and the candidates’ visions for the town in five years’ time.
Township Committee terms are three years. The position of mayor is selected annually by members of the Township Committee.
Election day is Tuesday, November 4.