FREEHOLD – Two Democrats and two Republicans are seeking two three-year terms on the Borough Council in Freehold Borough in the Nov. 5 election. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The terms of Democrats Margaret Rogers and Kevin Kane will expire at the end of the year. Kane is not running for re-election to his council seat. He is seeking the mayor’s office.
For the council terms, the Democratic candidates are Rogers and Adam Reich, and the Republican candidates are Lori Annetta and Michael Lichardi.
Annetta is making her first bid for Borough Council. She serves on the Historic Preservation Committee and has been involved in community recreation programs as a committee member when her children were active participants. She cited her grandfather’s service as mayor of a town in Michigan and broader community interests as influences for seeking election.
“I would say my running is about new ideas and new objectives, new people viewing things through a different lens and from a different perspective,” Annetta said. “I’m approaching this initiative as a neighbor to all of my neighbors throughout the borough.
“People make a difference when they work together so I want to see the borough flourish and I want to build on how we draw people to the town center and to enjoy our downtown area and all we have and can offer. I want to build on community; Freehold is a charming town and I want to share it,” she said.
Annetta is a client service/relationship manager for JP Morgan, New York, and has maintained a career in financial services for more than 30 years with banks, broker dealers and investment advisory firms.
Making his second bid for council after running in 2008, Lichardi is a current member of the Freehold Borough K-8 School District Board of Education.
“I and my distinguished ticket expand the opportunity to choose rather than recycle the status quo,” Lichardi said. “Legislators who are ‘anointed’ year after year have little to motivate them to take political risks to deal with a borough that is very different from when most of them were first ‘elected.’
“We are deeply invested in building upon Freehold’s splendor. It really shouldn’t be a partisan issue, not at this level of government. … I intend to take the baton and move us forward commensurate with our changing borough,” he said.
Professionally, Lichardi is a doctor of podiatric medicine and a physician associate with more than 30 years’ experience.
“I have completed a fellowship program with the New York State Department of Health,” he said. “This program provided training and experience in governmental and political issues of medically disenfranchised and special needs populations. My volunteer and professional experience will bring forth a relevant perspective on borough issues.”
Lichardi said he intends to attract more businesses, lower the the municipal tax levy and mandate term limits if elected.
“Freehold has beautiful businesses flanked by empty or rundown store fronts,” he said. “The council has become complacent with existing statutes driving business and patrons away. The borough’s budget is $16.8 million; as Freehold school board president, I have presided over a budget of $30 million.
“I am nuanced in these matters and played a major role in school reconstruction and fiscal solvency while providing a tax rebate to residents this past year. I will apply my skills to municipal taxes. I will do everything in my power to assure no new taxes and seize every opportunity to lower them as we did with the school district.
“The borough demographic has changed dramatically,” Lichardi continued. “Council members who linger for decades lose the political will to take risks and employ new ideas to serve the interests of our forever changed community.”
Reich is the chairman of the Freehold Borough Planning Board, of which he has been a member since 2009. He previously served on the Freehold Borough K-8 School District Board of Education. He is making his first bid for Borough Council.
“As a lifelong and third generation resident of the borough, I have a family history of dedicated service and volunteerism to our wonderful town,” Reich said. “I am looking forward to working with our residents and businesses to make Freehold Borough a shining star on the map of New Jersey.
“My goal is to show our residents that being an active member in our community benefits not only yourself, but everyone around you and I will lead that charge by example. There is something for everyone in Freehold Borough and we would be remiss to not take advantage of all that our great town has to offer,” he said.
Reich is the project coordinator and architect at Zimbler Architecture, LLC, in the borough.
“My expertise in the field of architecture has served me well on the Planning Board and as a former Board of Education member,” he said. “I will continue to use my professional and personal experiences to work toward improving our sustainability, upgrading our infrastructure and achieving a transit village designation for our borough.”
If elected, Reich said he intends to control municipal property taxes, ensure proper funding for the borough’s schools, preserve the downtown district and increase public understanding of the government.
“We must continue to look toward shared services and purchasing agreements to control our municipal property taxes,” Reich said. “We also need to work with our state representatives to ensure our schools are properly funded and that our residents are only responsible for their fair share.
“We need to employ smart redevelopment opportunities to enhance and preserve our beautiful and historic downtown. Creative funding and working closely with developers will prove to be beneficial to our businesses and residents. Lastly, I will work to empower more residents in understanding of government functions to make sure everyone’s best ideas are heard as we work together toward our vision for our hometown,” he said.
Rogers was appointed to the Borough Council this year to fill a one-year unexpired term. She previously served on the Freehold Borough K-8 School District Board of Education.
“I am seeking a seat to continue the work that has already been started,” Rogers said. “I have lived in this community for 27 years and my family and I agree this is a wonderful and diverse town. There are so many opportunities to work with people from different cultures to make our town even better. Even so, there are challenges: traffic issues, vacant properties and parking to name a few.
“I would like to keep working with the council to execute the plans that have been developed to address these issues,” she continued. “I feel I know our community well from the work I have done on the committees and programs where I have served. I will provide that unique insight to continue moving our beautiful town forward.”
In her professional career, Rogers is a business analyst and engineer in the information technology department for International Flavors and Fragrances and has been with the company for 20 years.
“My position requires me to research and present well thought out solutions to technical issues our company is facing,” she said. “This translates well to my responsibilities on the council. When presented with projects and/or ideas, I make sure to thoroughly research using the resources that are available to me.
“My goal is to promote projects that will benefit the community as a whole, not just certain areas. The plans that are currently in place do just that and I am committed to seeing them executed.”
Issues that Rogers said she intends to address are the revitalization and redevelopment of the borough’s downtown district to attract businesses that complement Freehold Borough, executing a plan that address the parking issues many people are concerned about, and being fiscally responsible through keeping taxes down without sacrificing the quality of the community, investigating shared services opportunities at the municipal level and working with state legislators to ensure the borough’s schools are funded properly.
Democrats hold all six seats on the Borough Council and the mayor’s office.