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Former school board member will challenge current mayor for spot on South Brunswick ballot

Arthur Robinson

SOUTH BRUNSWICK – A former member of the South Brunswick Public Schools Board of Education is challenging the township’s current mayor for the Democratic nomination for the general election in November.

Arthur L. Robinson will appear on the ballot for the June 7 primary, facing South Brunswick Mayor Charles Carley.

Carley is part of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization, while Robinson is running under the Efficiency Transparency in Municipal Government party.

Arthur L. Robinson
 

Resident for 33 years

Occupation: Retired commander, U.S. Navy; Second Gulf War veteran, Kuwait; manager, State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection 

Certifications: Certified Public Manager; Certified Lean Six Sigma-Green Belt; Certificate of Commission, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration; Mammography Quality Standards Act-Radiological Health, State of New Jersey 

Community service: Former member and auxiliary member of the South Brunswick Lions Club; member and former adjutant of VFW Post 9111, South Brunswick; former commissioner of the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission; former member of the Juvenile Conference Committee, Superior Court of New Jersey and South Brunswick School District; 2013 award recipient of the Barry Indik Memorial Award for Community Service 

Public service: Member of the South Brunswick Board of Education for 12 years: vice president in 2020, chair of Budget and Policy committees, member of the negotiations team; served as a resource member of the New Jersey School Boards Association – Legislative Committee representing the 16th Legislative District; served seven years on the South Brunswick Planning Board and on advisory boards such as the Cable Television Advisory Committee and the mayor’s Charter Study Advisory Committee. 

Robinson said he is running for mayor “to serve as a people-oriented mayor of South Brunswick by providing efficiency and transparency in municipal operations, thus ensuring the enhancements of safe communities, diversity in municipal government (committees, boards and commissions); reducing traffic flow problems by spearheading road improvements to reduce accidents and congestion; interacting with our high-achieving school district for our youth; energizing our tax base with recreational and sport activities for our residents to enjoy; and providing and improving quality of life services for our seniors.”

The three initiatives important to Robinson’s campaign include improving traffic flow along Route 1, enhancing recreational activities and enhancing emergency services.
Regarding traffic, Robinson said three lanes are needed to Finnegans Lane, as are enhancements to the township’s Transportation Master Plan.
He proposes an “SBT Home Yard Garden Initiative” where residents can produce fresh vegetables for the food pantry.
He said plans are underway to minimize flooding on local roads, but a plan for the eastern portion of the township, such as East New Road, Friendship Road, and Broadway Road is needed.
He proposes an SBT Chamber of Commerce Initiative to study an outdoor performing arts area to attract concerts, public events, a theatrical building for plays and opera, and a sports complex.
“We can look at an existing park that has land available for this initiative. Most residents prefer to have a place in town where they can sit down and have a nice dinner and go to a show,” he said.
Also, if elected, Robinson would like to enhance current endeavors to ensure that residents have adequate police, fire and rescue squad services, “thus ensuring peace of mind in times of tough budget cuts and limited resources that we will always put the public safety first.”
Therefore, he proposes an SBT Safe Community Initiative to study current needs and to come up with a plan of action to prioritize those recommendations for implementation.
“For example, South Brunswick has three fire districts, with the Monmouth Junction Fire District covering almost two-thirds of the township. Despite assistance from other neighboring municipal fire districts, is this adequate in fire protection services serving our growing township? That is why we need the SBT Safe Community Initiative.”
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Charlie Carley

Resident for 30 years

Occupation: Civil engineer

Certifications: Professional engineer, professional planner, certified municipal engineer

Community service: Presently an active member of VFW Post 9111 and the Brunswick Moose Lodge; previously coached baseball for South Brunswick Athletic Association and soccer for South Brunswick Soccer Club

Public service: Township Council member since 2005; current mayor

“I am happy to be part of a team that has worked hard and effectively to make South Brunswick a good place to work, raise children and retire.

“We have worked hard to add to those things that add to our quality of life: 3,000 acres of public open space; great services – community policing, municipal roads; great parks; a stable municipal tax rate; a top-notch senior center; and a public library which is a touchstone for the community.

“As much as I reflect on my past service, I would like to finish some important projects – the library is embarking on a significant expansion, we are midstream with significant improvements to Route 1, we are negotiating additional open space purchases, and the town is in a transitionary period. I think I can be of use in those things,” Carley said.

Carley would continue to focus on municipal government, public safety and taxes if re-elected as mayor.

“From our local municipal government perspective, I think we did relatively well in mitigating the worst impacts of COVID. Our population is well-educated and so has acted in a responsible manner over the past two-and-a-half years.

“At the same time, municipal government does a good job at providing timely information, making testing available, and providing regular vaccination opportunities at our wellness center,” he said.

Carley said the police department has been a “true partner” with the community.

“In 2020 and 2021, we provided security for marches and rallies that expressed concern about systemic racism. All went peacefully as our citizenry exercised their right to free speech, as guaranteed by the First Amendment,” he said.

In regard to taxes, Carley said the typical household in South Brunswick pays about $2,000 to $2,500 per year for the municipal purposes portion of their total tax bill.

“In Town Hall we understand we owe it to you to provide value for that, and I think we do. Your family gets great police protection, the roads are plowed and repaired in a timely manner, your solid waste is picked up twice a week, you have street lighting, you own and have access to thousands of acres of parklands.

“You have a senior center, a wellness center, a community center, and a free public library – all of which provide programming that benefits us. In my opinion, your municipal purposes property tax dollars are spent prudently and provide great benefit to our quality of life,” he said.

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Republican Michael J. Havardansky is running under the Middlesex County Republican Organization. He faces no opposition in the June 7 primary.

On the Township Council side, incumbent Democrat Kenneth Bierman will be challenged by Republican John J. Anthony in the November election.

The mayor and council members serve four-year terms in South Brunswick.

The South Brunswick Township Democratic mayoral primary election will be held on June 7. There is early voting from June 3-5.
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