Regan, Talerico square off in race for mayor’s seat in Eatontown

0
321

EATONTOWN – Republican Mark Regan and independent candidate Anthony Talerico will go head to head on Nov. 6 when both men seek to claim the mayor’s seat in Eatontown.

The winner will serve a four-year term from January 2019 through December 2022.

Republican Mayor Dennis Connelly is not seeking re-election to a second term.

Asked why he is running for mayor, Regan said, “I love our town. As mayor, I envision Eatontown growing while remaining a tight-knit community that can attract young families and millennials alike.

“I want our local businesses to thrive alongside our neighbors to keep a strong, stable economic base. I want to lower taxes and not overburden our residents with wasteful spending by working closely with our neighboring towns, our county, and our state through effective shared services.

“Above all, I am running for mayor because I am the best candidate for the position. I bring experience, have a good rapport with our community leaders and I can facilitate and bring our residents together as a family. I think of Eatontown as one big family. I’m a people person and I’ll be a mayor for the people.”

Asked what he would like to accomplish as mayor, Regan said, ”My main goal is to stop the unbridled spending the current Borough Council continues to authorize. Contrary to what my opponents want you to think, the Monmouth Mall is not the only issue affecting Eatontown.

“The council has grossly overspent taxpayers’ money by hiring friends and former classmates (costing our residents an extra $200,000 each year), wasting taxpayer money by spending $120,000 to date for a community garden that was budgeted to cost $50,000, and excessively spending $19,000 on a water fountain at the arboretum.

“I believe taxpayer money should only be spent wisely because, after all, it’s not the council’s money. It is the taxpayers’ money. In this case, it really is taxpayer money down the drain,” Regan said.

Regan said the borough’s budget is developed by the council’s finance committee, the chief financial officer and the borough’s administrator. Regan said that as mayor, he would seek to have input on potential spending decisions as a means of controlling spending. Eatontown has a weak mayor-strong council form of government.

“I recognize our residents are facing many issues that affect them, unlike (the Democratic candidates running for Borough Council) who are running a one-issue campaign. I do support the mall’s revitalization because independent studies show it will help lower our taxes, increase our property values, rejuvenate our economy and bring younger people to our community with the hope of replenishing our under-crowded schools. Eatontown public schools are at a crossroads, having lost close to 10 percent of our student population in 10 years, and having lost $2.7 million in state aid as an immediate result,” he said.

Regan, who is a graphic designer, moved to Eatontown in 2002. He is a former member of the Eatontown Public Schools Board of Education and a former member of the Borough Council.

Talerico is a current member of the Borough Council. Professionally, he is an auditor and forensic accountant.

“I feel the mayor’s seat should be held by someone with broad experience in many aspects of the borough’s operations. In my nine years on council, I have been on nearly every council committee and was the liaison to numerous volunteer commissions and boards,” he said.

“I served as council president for four years. In my first few months in office, I brought the idea of a town-wide celebration to the council. Nine years later, Eatontown Day is bigger than ever. I also brought the idea of a brush/mulch shared service with multiple towns that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

“More recently, I spearheaded the project to reallocate over $600,000 of old borrowed funds to modern priorities. As an independent, I am not aligned with a political party. I focus on the issues and not on party goals,” he said.

When asked what he would like to accomplish as mayor, Talerico said, “Recent elections have pitted neighbor against neighbor with single-issue campaign politics. We deserve better. My primary focus as mayor will be to serve as the leader of the governing body that brings Eatontown together.

“As cliché as it sounds, I was born and raised in Eatontown and want to bring back its small-town feel. I certainly tried to do this during my tenure on council, but the role of mayor will bring unique opportunities. For example, I will have a vote on the Fort Monmouth redevelopment.  

“As an independent, I pledge that all votes and decisions will be made with Eatontown in mind and the Borough Council working together. I understand times will change, but development does not have to change the character of Eatontown. A mayor not tied to a political party will be able to lead through issues where political parties have polarized us in the past.”

Talerico previously served on the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Eatontown Sewerage Authority.