MILLTOWN — One incumbent and three newcomers are vying for the two, three-year seats available on the Borough Council in the upcoming election.
Republican incumbent Ronald Dixon joins GOP newcomer Stacy D. Sullivan as they face Democratic candidates Trina Jensen Mehr and Felipe Zambrana, Jr.
Ronald Dixon, 71, who is a 12-year resident of the borough, is seeking his third term on the council. He has four children and seven grandchildren.
He is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy and the Drug Enforcement Administration National Academy. He attended Rutgers University and the University of Virginia.
Dixon is a retired law enforcement officer.
In the community, Dixon has served as commander of the Joyce Kilmer Post 25 American Legion for the past 13 years and is a member of the municipal and county Offices of Emergency Management.
Currently, Dixon is serving as president of the council, a position he has held for the past two years.
“My intentions for running for Council are to ensure there is continued focus on improving the infrastructure of our aging town while addressing the needs of our public employees and our volunteers,” he said. “Progress has been made on infrastructure improvements during the past years and must continue while maintaining a stable tax base.”
Unfortunately, Dixon said, past administrations had applied Band-Aids to the borough’s failing infrastructure instead of focusing efforts to solve the issues.
“Additionally, as head of the finance committee for the past two years, we have ensured strict municipal budget guidelines and my intention is to ensure this is maintained,” he said.
Dixon said as the project for development of a municipal complex to house the borough’s Public Works and Fire Department has just begun, the borough needs to ensure that the concerns raised by both FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) are successfully addressed and compliant facilities are provided.
“Furthermore, it’s critical that this project is completed in a fiscally responsible manner,” he said.
Stacy D. Sullivan, 44, who has lived in the borough for seven years, is seeking her first term on the council. She is married with two children, ages 11 and 9.
Sullivan earned a Network Systems Administration degree from DeVry University.
In the community, Sullivan teaches catechism to special needs children at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Old Bridge, serves as a member of the Milltown 4th of July Committee and School Climate Committee at Academy Learning Center in Monroe.
Sullivan said she chose to run for office after watching council meetings online and decided to get involved with the community.
“I realized that there is a great deal that needs to be done in this town and people have to work together to accomplish this goal,” she said. “I have worked in the business field and have taken time to raise a family, so I understand the complexity of balancing budgets and time. I have never been one to run away from a challenge and I look forward to working with all members of Council to resolve the issues that face our town.”
Sullivan said decisions cannot be about following a political party platform.
“Decisions made have to be what is right for Milltown and all the residents,” she said. “I am glad that I have been given the opportunity to run and I can say as your neighbor, not a politician, that I will continue the commitment to move Milltown forward.”
Sullivan said if elected, one of the top areas that she would like to work on is to increase communication with the residents.
“There has been so much misleading information given to the residents,” she said. “The residents need to be given facts and we need to create a better way of getting the information out to the community.”
Sullivan said she would also work on holding the line on property taxes.
“Although the Borough Council only controls about 20 percent of that bill, the majority 63 percent is controlled by the Board of Education,” she said. “I would like to see the Council and Board of Education work together to try to reduce spending.”
Trina Jensen Mehr, 56, who grew up in the borough and moved back into the borough 20 years ago, is seeking her first term on the council. She is widowed and has three adult children.
Jensen Mehr earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College and a master’s in business administration (MBA) from Tulane University.
She is an information associate at Bristol-Myers Squibb.
In the community, Jensen Mehr is the co-founder and first president of the Milltown Education Foundation. She served as a trustee for eight years.
Jensen Mehr said she volunteered in the local schools and organized numerous fundraisers for the Foundation, PTA (Parent Teacher Association) and eighth grade class.
“I have been a member of the Milltown Board of Education for over four years and I am currently the Vice President,” she said.
Jensen Mehr said she is running for a council seat to continue serving her community.
“Being a candidate for Council allows me to hear residents’ comments, questions, and concerns about living in Milltown,” she said. “I’d like to use my experience and expertise to address the issues that face our small town. As a Council member, I would work hard to do the best job I could for all of the residents of Milltown.”
Jensen Mehr said if elected, she would like to focus on transparency and accountability between the Borough Council and the public.
“Issues such as lead in the water, the spill in Mill Pond and the proposed Municipal project were not communicated well to the public,” she said. “I would like to update the Borough website and make sure that the residents are informed on all issues in a timely manner. I would also ensure that if residents email or call with a concern they would receive a response.”
Felipe Zambrana, Jr., 55, who is a 13-year resident of the borough, is seeking his first term on the board. He is married with two daughters, ages 20 and 16.
Zambrana earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in finance from the City University of New York Baruch College. He is a business manager at the Human Genetics Institute at Rutgers University.
He previously served as a school board member in Milltown from 2011 to 2016. During the last three years of his term on the Board of Education, he served as the chairman of the Finance Committee and as the Board liaison between Milltown and Spotswood.
Zambrana currently serves on the Milltown Planning Board and he is also a member of the Environmental Commission.
If elected, Zambrana said he will work to ensure that there is accountability, clear communication and total transparency behind every decision that is made by the council.
“I’ll also work to ensure that the residents of the town understand how their tax dollars are spent by providing a comprehensive breakdown of what was spent during the previous budget year and what the strategic plan is for the next three years,” he said.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 7.