When Hopewell Township residents head to the polls next week, they will be casting their ballots for several races, including the school board and general elections.
This year, residents will also have a choice on Nov. 5 in the township’s fire district, when candidate Cosmo W. Tomaro will square off against incumbents Augustine “Gus” Tackacs, Timothy Lynch and Michael F. Cseremsak to claim two seats for three-year terms on the Hopewell Township Fire District.
Cosmo W. Tomaro moved with his wife and daughter to Hopewell Township just three years ago. Tomaro currently serves as vice president of the Hopewell Fire Department. He has over 20 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter and has previously served as a lieutenant and financial secretary while volunteering in Franklin Township. For the last 19 years, Tomaro has worked at the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.
Augustine “Gus” Tackacs has lived in Hopewell Township with his wife and two sons for the last 14 years. Tackacs is currently a 23-year professional firefighter in Trenton. He is currently the fire battalion chief assigned to the Third Battalion in command of all administrative and fire/rescue operations. His volunteer fire experience extends to 1989 when he became a junior firefighter at age 16 with the Pennington Road Volunteer Fire Company in Ewing Township. He remained an active member at Pennington Road up until 2005, after becoming a life member.
Timothy Lynch is a lifelong resident of Hopewell Township and has been serving on Hopewell’s fire district since 2011. Over that period of time, he has filled a number of positions including serving as board secretary and vice chairman, and he is now in his third year serving as the board treasurer.
Michael F. Cseremsak is currently the Hopewell Township Fire District No. 1 fire commissioner, a position he has held since 2007. Cseremsak has also worked with the Hopewll Township Police Department as a patrol sergeant and traffic sergeant from 1987-2006. He is currently a special law enforcement officer for the Lawrence Township Police Department, while being a public safety officer for the Institute for Advanced Studies.
In order to provide candidates with an equitable platform to discuss their plans for the fire district, all four candidates were given the same questions.
Why are you running for a seat on the fire district? What drives you to public service?
Tomaro: I like to help my community and ensure they are safe. Making a difference and sharing information with others are important goals for me. I want to be here for the residents as well as my brothers and sisters in the emergency services. I’m not in it for the title or the money.
Tackacs: I’ve been fortunate enough to have been chosen by the board two times over the past three years to fill in for a fire commissioner vacancy. Through this experience, I was given the opportunity and insight on how important it is to have open-minded qualified individuals to serve in these positions. Because of my experience, background and community interest, that is why I’m running. My drive to become involved to public service began at a young age. My drive to public service is to insure accountability here in Hopewell Township. As a fire commissioner, we should be held accountable to ensure that safety of our community is paramount.
Lynch: My life, since I was a teenager, has been dedicated to public safety and public service. I joined the Union Fire Company and Rescue Squad as a volunteer when I was in high school. During my time, I held several leadership positions and was named Firefighter of the Year. Since then, I served in the United States Marine Corps and I now have a career in the fire service in West Windsor, where I have worked for nearly 15 years. I have degrees in fire science and public safety administration, as well as certification through the National Fire Academy as a managing fire officer.
Cseremsak: I am running because my term is up and I am running for my own seat; it’s what I do: 30 years with Hopewell Township police, 12 years with Hopewell Township Fire District. Currently, I am a Class III police officer in a neighboring town.
How would you say you differ from your opponents? Why should voters choose you?
Tomaro: I feel I share similar views and goals with my fellow candidates; however, I believe I have new ideas on how to approach and achieve them. I would like to explore and implement new opportunities for recruitment, training and fire safety for the Hopewell Valley community. I hope to bring a new perspective to the position.
Tackacs: I honestly wouldn’t say I differ from any of my opponents. I think a vote for any of the candidates in this election is a good choice.
Lynch: I am running for another term with Hopewell Township Fire District No. 1 because I believe that I can help guide the fire district through the changes that will be coming to our community. The new proposed development within Hopewell Township will bring with it a great demand for fire protection and emergency medical services to be provided. Over the past few years, I have worked with fellow board members to implement programs, which will improve the service we provide through aggressive volunteer recruitment campaigns as well as increasing the coverage provided by our career firefighters. I have helped to develop the budget while seeking alternative revenue sources in order to provide for the safety of our community, without placing excessive burden on the taxpayers.
Cseremsak: My experience and track record set me apart from my opponents. My accomplishments and experience with the police department and fire district make me very qualified to continue in the position as fire commissioner. While on the board of fire commissioners, I have served as commissioner-at-large, treasurer and board secretary.
What, in your opinion, makes Hopewell Township a place where you want to serve?
Tomaro: One of the top reasons my family and I chose to move to Hopewell was because this is a wonderfully tight-knit community with a top-rated school system. There is a definitive family feel with many annual community events that continuously bring the residents together. This same feel, I believe, allows all three community fire departments to work with each other as a team. Our residents repeatedly show their support for the emergency services activities, needs and goals.
Tackacs: Hopewell Township is a town committed to emergency services. We have some of the most dedicated and educated police, fire and EMS personnel in the county who work tremendously hard to ensure all our safety. As a father, husband and resident of Hopewell Township, I would be honored to bring my knowledge and experience to serve on the board of fire commissioners.
Lynch: I would like to continue this work into the future to ensure that Hopewell Township remains the beautiful, historic and safe place that it is today.
Cseremsak: I am a Trenton native who began to serve Hopewell Township in 1987 when I began my career with the police department. Since then I have moved to Hopewell Township and raised my family. Hopewell Township is my home; it is my community.