COLTS NECK – Township Committeeman J.P. Bartolomeo will serve as Colts Neck’s mayor during 2018 after he was elected to that position by his fellow members of the Township Committee during the Jan. 6 reorganization meeting.
In Colts Neck’s form of government, residents do not directly elect the mayor. Each January, the committee members select one person on the governing body to serve as mayor for the year.
Bartolomeo was sworn in as mayor by Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden and he spoke about his love for the community and his plans for 2018.
“Kristin and I landed in Colts Neck in 2008 with two boys, Joseph and Anthony. Luke was not around yet. Upon arriving, I fell in love with the town. It’s beautiful, green, open and it is not overpopulated. It is the true American dream or the Jerseyan’s dream. I only had one issue, I come from Bayonne, and in Bayonne when you sneeze, the person next door says bless you,” he said.
“This town unfortunately does not have a town center and try as we might, we will forever be bisected by the crossroads of Monmouth County, Route 537 and Route 34. Back in 2016, Committeeman Thomas Orgo embarked on a mission to give a facelift to town hall and did a great job. We started to see more people fishing, walking the path, walking dogs, more people collectively coming to town hall.
“Last year, Russell Macnow, in addition to pushing forward with our road improvement programs, embarked, with the help of a generous donor, on the multi-purpose field at Five Point Park. These were big heavy lifts tax-wise. This year I would like to direct our tax dollars to one place, in terms of a heavy lift, the Department of Public Works (DPW). I think that is a department that is in need of help.
“With all of these major projects going on, I wanted to work on something else, the Colts Neck Cohesion Initiative. This goes back to the way I felt when I got here, I didn’t know anybody. Unless you are involved with sports and your children play, it is a difficult town to meet someone because a lot of time you don’t know the neighbors living next to you.”
Bartolomeo offered a list of topics and events he wants to address in 2018, including music in the park on Friday evenings, movies in the park, a civil ceremony for anyone who would like to renew their wedding vows, an inaugural “Farmhouse 5K” for residents and Exercising with the Mayor on Sundays at 8 a.m.
“I believe this is a phenomenal town that doesn’t need to change. It does need to evolve and that is why we are addressing DPW projects. However, instead of walking past someone and putting your head down, I would rather see people say hello,” he said.
Macnow, who served as mayor in 2017, spoke about Bartolomeo before handing him the mayor’s gavel.
“Some people know J.P. as a loving husband, son, brother or friend,” Macnow said. “I know J.P. as a guy who became a committeeman for the right reasons. He became a committeeman because he has taken a love to this town and the people who live here.
“He really enjoys living here and I know the people who live and work in this town see him. He is the kind of person you want to serve your town because he will always do what is right for the people and for the integrity of the town. (Colts Neck) is getting younger, newer families are coming in, and he is the right guy to have as they are coming into town,” Macnow said.
During the reorganization meeting, Michael Viola and Thomas Orgo were sworn in to begin serving three-year terms and Frank Rizzuto was sworn in to serve a one-year term. Orgo was elected to serve as deputy mayor for 2018.
Republicans hold all five seats on the governing body.
Bartolomeo and Orgo will serve on the Planning Board as representatives of the governing body. DPW Director Louis Bader was appointed to a one-year term on the board. George Corsi was appointed to four-year term and Lisa Singer-Fitzpatrick was appointed to a two-year term as an alternate.
Robert Farrell and Candice Burke were appointed to four-year terms on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Jefferey Reisinger was appointed to a two-year term as an alternate.