SOUTH BRUNSWICK – One four-year council term, as well as one two-year unexpired term, are up for election this season.
Incumbent Democrat Ken Bierman is running unopposed for a four-year term.
Bierman is a lifelong resident of South Brunswick, who is currently working as a facilities manager for a data center.
He has volunteered for the Monmouth Junction Fire Department, has coached travel and recreation baseball and soccer, has served on the South Brunswick Soccer Club Travel Soccer Board and the South Brunswick Zoning Board.
“After winning a special election last April  to finish out an unexpired term, I feel I must run this year as this will give me more time to work with my colleagues in an attempt to guide our township in a positive direction,” he said.
He said he is most concerned with municipal taxes, and stimulating economic growth and development while avoiding overdevelopment.
“I will make every attempt to stabilize property taxes, while still keeping our neighborhoods safe and providing all necessary services to our residents,” he said.
“It is necessary and beneficial to assist the businesses in our town to grow and prosper, but we need to make sure we do not unduly burden our residents with higher taxes or more congested roads,” he continued. “Residential and commercial development is necessary but must be monitored to ensure our residents will be able to live in our town in a manner to which they are accustomed. While there are more and more cars on the roads, it is not necessary to have a gas station on every corner.”
Democrat Archana (Ann) Grover is running for a two-year unexpired term against Republican Charles Kim.
Grover has lived in town since 1980, and works as a specification writer. She holds a Certificate of RPPS (Recognized Public Purchasing Specialist).
Grover has volunteered in her local temple and also serves as a union leader on the Advisory Board of AFSCME Local 3440. She previously served on the South Brunswick Zoning Board.
She joined the South Brunswick Township Council in May.
“I am running to finish out an unexpired term and give back to the community which has given me and my family so much,” she said.
She said she is focused on community unity, keeping South Brunswick as a suburb, and spending.
“We are a very diverse community and I will make every effort to work together with each and everyone to make South Brunswick one of the best places to live and raise family,” she said.
“We, as a team, want to keep South Brunswick a suburban community, not overcrowding our roads and not putting additional burden on current infrastructure. Our goal is to maintain stable municipal taxes, which are the lowest among comparable communities,” she said.
She also wants to “keep an eye on the spending and provide excellent services like police, garbage pickup, recycling, snow plowing and maintenance of roads.”
Kim has lived in South Brunswick for 15 years.
He works as an editor, and has worked with both high school and elementary journalism programs in the district. He also taught the Journalism merit badge for local Boy Scouts.
Kim said he is firstly concerned with traffic.
“I propose using the buses that we already own to help people make connections with mass transit on routes 27 and 130, which currently have service available to New York and points south. We need to continue pressuring the state to eventually put in a third full lane of traffic on Route 1. The shoulder use is a good start, but the bottleneck will only truly be helped by a full third lane in each direction for the entire six or so miles the road runs through town,” he said.
Second, Kim said officials need to address vacant businesses in the community.
“I propose a couple different approaches to this issue. One would be to try and implement public-private partnerships, such as possibly using the former Stop&Shop in the South Brunswick Square Mall as a small business incubator that would allow businesses to rent space on a temporary and more affordable basis, while also giving them access to business equipment and conference space on a day or two a month basis. Second would be to develop a full chamber of commerce in the town that could unify the existing local businesses in a common purpose and promotion of the township. This interaction could help existing small businesses thrive. Third, we have to develop a more business-friendly approach for potential ratables to come into the town on our existing business corridors (routes 1, 130 and 27). These high-traffic areas must be used to aid our tax base and bring needed relief to property taxpayers.”
Lastly, Kim said he believes the time has come for the town to look into becoming a“ward system to provide better representation for both the Township Council and the Board of Education.
“As the community grows and becomes more diverse, better representation is needed in each of the five township sections, Kingston, Dayton and Deans, Kendall Park, Monmouth Junction and the Cottageville section to the east. I think it is hard for ‘at large’ representatives to fully bring each sections’ issues to the forefront. I also think that a member of the council should be a non-voting member at each Board of Education meeting and a board member as a non-voting seat at the council meetings. This would help ensure both important governing bodies are on the same page in regard to the major issues being faced by the township.”
Kim said most of his proposals would cost little to nothing, and yet could improve the quality of life in the town immensely.
Election Day is Nov. 6.