HOWELL – The Republican candidate for Howell Township Council has responded to a statement that was made by her Democratic opponent who was quoted in a recent Tri-Town News article.
Republican Evelyn O’Donnell and Democrat Andre de Garmeaux are seeking one available four-year term on the Township Council in the November 2020 election.
O’Donnell is seeking her second term and de Garmeaux is seeking his first term on the governing body.
In a recent article profiling the candidates, de Garmeaux said O’Donnell was a member of the council in March 2017 when the governing body signed off on a private company’s plan to construct a solid waste transfer station on Randolph Road.
Howell officials later reversed their position regarding the proposed facility and the matter is awaiting action by the Monmouth County freeholders.
de Garmeaux said Howell officials must do everything they can to stop the solid waste transfer station from being constructed in Howell.
Regarding tax incentives that are given to developers in certain instances, de Garmeaux said those incentives are not fair. He cited an instance in which he said Republicans approved a $6 million tax break for a developer.
O’Donnell, who was not immediately available to respond to de Garmeaux, responded to those comments this week and said, “The (solid waste transfer station) has never and will never come to the Township Council for a vote.
“I, nor any council member, ever approved that project … Howell does not get a vote. It is unfortunate that a previous (township manager) mailed a letter to the county (regarding the proposed facility) without the council ever seeing or approving the letter.
“As errors are sometimes made, that letter became the genesis for the Democratic mantra today. Stopping that project has always been a common goal by all,” O’Donnell said.
Regarding tax incentives that may be offered to a developer in certain instances, she said de Garmeaux “assumes the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program is an enormous tax break or that no money is paid to Howell at all.
“He says that while the PILOT program exists, Howell sees no money. The fact is Howell receives about 95% of the money paid and Howell is not required to pay other entities from that revenue.
“Also, (in the development cited), the developer’s project gave 144 credits toward our Democratic-mandated number of affordable housing rooftops, as it was a double credit. To achieve 144 credits we would need to build well over 700 rooftops.
“So by the Democratic logic it would have been better to build over 700 rooftops? How absurd. That density will not be built because Republicans found a better way: 74 apartments instead of over 700 rooftops,” O’Donnell said.