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Four candidates seek two seats available on the Milltown Borough Council

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MILLTOWN – Two Democratic candidates are running against two Republican candidates for two, three-year seats available on the Milltown Borough Council.

Democrats James Pareti and Margaret O’Donnell are seeking their first elected seats in the general election on Nov. 3. Pareti filled an unexpired term at the beginning of the year.

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They are facing GOP Incumbent Councilman Ronald Dixon and John Collins, a former councilman. Profiles on the GOP candidates will publish next week.

Margaret O’Donnell has lived in the borough for 21 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. She is employed as a manager of Military and Veteran Engagement Programs at Rutgers Business School.

In the community, O’Donnell has served as a Sixth District Committeeperson for almost seven years and has lobbied for pedestrian and traffic safety programs including “Slow Down in Our Town.”

She has been a long-time volunteer coordinator for Milltown Recreation’s Adult Volleyball programs and was recently appointed to serve on the Milltown Planning Board. In addition, she is a member and active volunteer at Rutgers Gardens and for one of the Rutgers University Alumni Association charter groups.

“I am running for Milltown Borough Council because, as they say, ‘all politics are local,’ ” she said. “Decisions made by the Borough Council affect home values, tax rates and our quality of life. I want to maintain the effective programs, while improving upon anything that’s not up to par. Before this year, I witnessed a 5-year trend of tax increases that concerned me, I didn’t see enough ‘bang for our buck.’ I want to join Mayor Trina Jensen Mehr in improving communication with residents and providing transparency so that our fellow residents can have confidence in their local government.”

O’Donnell called herself a “utility player” who is capable of quickly stepping in to whichever capacity to best serve the council.

“However, given the opportunity, I would like to start by helping Finance, Planning and Administration to continue to thoughtfully and carefully examine areas of potential savings and efficiencies,” she said. “The budget passed in August 2020 proves that if spending can be controlled, we can realize minimal tax increases, while still providing the necessary services to residents.”

James Pareti, 28, has served a vacated seat on the council since January. He is a lifelong resident of the borough and is engaged.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in science applied mathematics and minor degrees in economics and philosophy. He is employed as a business analyst at Prudential Financial.

On the council, Pareti serves as the chairman of the Recreation Advisory Committee, committee member for the Department of Utilities and Environmental Commission, and the council liaison to the Zoning Board of Adjustment and Library Board of Trustees. In the community, he serves as a volunteer coach for boys basketball at Spotswood High School.

“I believe I am in a unique position to represent our community’s best interests by having both strong ties to our longtime residents and to our new homeowners investing in the town’s future,” he said. “I value all that this town has blessed me with and I want to do my part to give those same gifts to all our residents. As a councilman, I would be able to work with the current administration to be more transparent, continually improve our services, limit tax increases, and continue the tradition of Milltown being the greatest little town for all.”

Pareti said after serving as an appointed councilman, he wants to continue to serve the people of Milltown by focusing on quality of life improvements.

“I know how important it is for our residents, particularly our youth, to have as many opportunities as possible to participate in community programs,” he said. “I want to work with the Department of Public Works and the Recreation Department to explore park improvements and add additional recreational programs. I also plan to work with Middlesex County through our shared services partnership to make these improvements in the most cost-effective way possible.”

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