By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONGPORT – The borough’s three incumbent commissioners are planning to run in the Nov. 3 municipal election for a fourth consecutive term on the Board of Commissioners. All three commissioners, Nicholas Russo, James Leeds Sr. and Dan Lawler, were first elected to the board in 2008. Russo, who serves as mayor, made the announcement in a statement to Downbeach.com.
“I believe our current administration has amply met the basic requirement of good, sound, fiscally responsible municipal government,” he said.
Longport is one of only 30 municipalities in New Jersey that are organized under the Walsh Act’s commission form of government. There are three at-large seats that carry four-year terms up for grabs on Nov. 3.
The borough’s previous non-partisan elections were held in May. However, when the opportunity to move the election to November became available in 2016, the board voted to change the date to save on the cost of the election. The move also extended their terms by six months.
Russo said the team would revive their “We Love Longport” theme. He said they have provided residents with “the highest level of services, while utilizing the most cost-efficient means. Our record is indicative that we have truly prioritized the health, welfare and safety of each and every Longport resident and visitor,” he said.
He pointed to the borough’s last six municipal budgets which kept taxes stable, and in 2019 reduced the tax rate by one-half cent. Additionally, the borough has the lowest utility rate on Absecon Island, he said.
“We are running our campaign on maintaining our underground infrastructure, our drainage projects, our bulkheads, our revetment walls and jetties, our self-sustained drinking water system and our entire shorefront and beach protection program. We commit to maintain our quality of life and ensure the investment value of our homes and the safety of our residents and children,” he stated.
The borough’s AA+ bond rating has allowed the governing body to fund capital projects without having to raise taxes, he said.
Russo is a retired state environmental investigator and a former Atlantic City Police officer.
Leeds is retired from the construction business. He previously served on the borough’s Planning and Zoning Board.
Lawler is a sales executive with Penn Jersey Paper and Equipment Company.
At this time, it is uncertain if the commissioners will be opposed.
According to Borough Clerk Monica Kyle, four other individuals have picked up nominating petitions, but none of them have been returned.
The deadline to file a nominating petition to run in the Nov. 3 Board of Commissioners election is 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31.
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