Two candidates in race for one-year term on Hazlet Township Committee

HAZLET – Two candidates are seeking a one-year unexpired term on the Hazlet Township Committee in the Nov. 5 election.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The candidates seeking the one-year term are Democrat Barbara Ronchetti and Republican Michael Sachs.

Ronchetti is running on a ticket with Ryan O’Steen and Lucille LoSapio, both of whom are seeking full three-year terms on the committee.

Sachs is running on a ticket with incumbents Scott Aagre and Michael Glackin, both of whom are seeking full three-year terms on the committee.

At present, Republicans hold all five seats on the governing body.

Sachs is a member of the Township Committee and has served for 16 years.

In 2019, Sachs said, he helped provide schools in Hazlet with security, drug and safety education and special law enforcement officers through a shared services agreement.

Sachs said he oversaw that $11 million was committed to current loans for a town-wide road program and infrastructure upgrades.

Sachs said he helped attract new businesses to Hazlet shopping centers which created more than 300 new jobs. He participated on the committee when there was no increase to the municipal budget.

If re-elected, Sachs said he would “continue with the road program, upgrade the 8th Street park, continue fiscal responsibility, economic development and continue shared services to keep children and schools safe.”

Ronchetti served on the Township Committee from 2013-18. Ronchetti is retired from the position of Hazlet’s recreation director, which she held for 23 years.

From 2013-15, Ronchetti said, she and her fellow committee members accomplished several goals. She said residents were given a five-year tax abatement for improvements to their homes. She said sewer bills were reduced and tax increases were voted against.

“I vehemently opposed and voted against the Republican rezoning of both the Holy Family site as well as our remaining farms for high density, low income housing (and) led the cleanup of Natco Park after the prior Republican administration permitted unlawful dumping resulting in a Department of Environmental Protection enforcement action,” she said.

Ronchetti said she helped craft a five-year, cost-effective road program.

If elected to serve on the committee, Ronchetti said, “My team (of running mates) intends to seriously evaluate and solicit public input in furtherance of establishing public trash pick-up throughout the entire township.”

Garbage collection in Hazlet is an issue that has come up during the campaign. At present, every resident must contract their own garbage company to have their garbage collected.

The issue in the campaign is whether Hazlet officials should assume the responsibility for having a township-wide garbage collection contract and if residents should be polled through a referendum about that issue.

Township-controlled garbage pick-up “would help improve our quality of life by reducing the non-stop noise and inconvenience of garbage trucks traversing our streets all week. It would also limit the heavy truck traffic which contributes to damage our roads. We also believe the system will result in financial savings for our residents,” Ronchetti said.

Ronchetti said she would return to what she called a cost-effective road program. She said a former road plan seeks to repair groups of roads at one time rather than individual roads in different areas of town.

She said she would “move the courtroom from the police station to the underutilized town hall … to open much needed space for our police department.”

“Our team opposes the decision of the Republican majority to participate in the five-year assessment program. The simple unavoidable truth is that higher assessments result in residents paying more in taxes.

“This program requires that every homeowner’s property be reassessed at least once every five years. Returning these tax decisions to the township will result in less frequent assessments which will help to keep taxes stable,” Ronchetti said.

If elected, Ronchetti also plans to condense the mailings of tax and sewer bills.

“My team also strongly disagrees with the crackdown at the (Hazlet Youth Athletic League) fields. The response has been unnecessary and unsympathetic to the needs of our children, which I have devoted my career to as the recreation director.

“We want to use these savings to improve and upgrade our parks and playgrounds which are in serious disrepair … Lastly, we want to negotiate with banks so taxpayers can pay their taxes through the bank system,” Ronchetti said.