Trash collection at Brighton at Barnegat was a topic of discussion at a meet the candidates forum held yesterday at the mobile home park's clubhouse.
Former mayor and current township committeeman Jeffrey Melchiondo and current mayor Al Cirulli, who have been serving on the committee since 2004, are running on the same Republican ticket. Their challengers are Democrats Elaine Taylor and Susan Conway.
"We pay a significant amount for trash removal here; is there anything that can be done about that," Brighton resident Jack Rucker asked the candidates.
Melchiondo noted that the township has worked with other developments in town to lower trash collection fees and given the difference back to residents for stabilization purposes.
Conway responded that although she did not have all of the details available to her regarding the park's contracts for trash pickup, she said part of the work the Democrats plan to do is "cut the fat," where they can in the township's budget, and that will likely mean renegotiating for certain services in the town, including trash collection.
During the early 1990s, the state passed a law referred to as the "Kelly Bill," which required municipalities to either pay for the cost or provide certain services, including trash collection and snow plowing. But these services were not initially provided or reimbursed by the township to either Pinewood or Brighton park residents.
In 2008, however, as a result of a court settlement with Pinewood property management, the Township assumed the cost of trash and recycling collection, along with snow plowing in exchange for a commitment from property management for a reduced rent increase, along with stabilization of rent for a two-year period, according to Melchiondo.
"If Brighton park management is interested in the same arrangement, the Township is willing to entertain the offer contingent that any savings realized will be given back to residents for rent stabilization purposes," Melchiondo told Patch, after the meet and greet.
A manager with Brighton said their property owners were already in talks with the trash collection company that services the property. She declined to elaborate.
During the meet and greet, Cirulli noted that he works as a vice principal at the Pinelands Regional High School and Melchiondo, who is a former president of the local Chamber of Commerce, said he owns a cigar shop downtown.
Taylor said she is a former Board of Education member and stay-at-home mother and Conway, who grew up in Barnegat, works as an attorney in Northern New Jersey. Conway served on a charter commission to re-examine the form of government in town several years ago.
The two Democrats told Patch after the meet and greet that they plan to hone in on the transparency and openness of the township committee and attracting more ratables to Barnegat, among other issues.
Conway said she would love to see township meetings televised, and would work with the local cable provider to ensure that happens. Taylor said she wants to closely examine the shared services agreements in town, and wants to broker more shared service agreements, where possible, with the local Board of Education. Conway and Taylor also mentioned they would like an opportunity to debate the incumbents.
Cirulli, however, has told a Patch reporter that he is comfortable letting his record as mayor speak for itself.