Three incumbent candidates on the Loch Arbour Board of Commissioners are unchallenged in the upcoming nonpartisan May 10 election.
Mayor Paul V. Fernicola, Deputy Mayor Alfred J. Cheswick and Commissioner Denis D’Angelo are seeking the three, four-terms on the governing body.
All three candidates said they initially got on the governing body to try and deal with the village’s high school tax rate, adding that issue still remains a priority with them.
“The high school tax rate is still an issue and I would still like to explore ways to address that,” Fernicola said.
Fernicola, who has been the mayor for the Last four years, is a 51-year-old attorney and has lived in Loch Arbour since 2003.
“I think we have done a good job managing the village for the past four years and I find it rewarding to give back to the community,” he said.
Cheswick, 53, said that moving forward on the school tax issue remains his “number one priority.”
“I want to maintain the continuity required during this process,” he said.
Cheswick, who has lived in the village for 25 years, owns a fiber option manufacturing company.
D’Angelo, 53, agrees that all three governing body members were elected four years ago to address the school tax issue.
“We are still in the middle of a process to address the school tax issue and I am running again to try and see that through. We have tried consolidation (with neighboring towns) and now we are pursuing another route,” he said.
D’Angelo has lived in Loch Arbour since 2010 and is a radiologist.
The Board of Commissioners recently appropriated $40,000 to hire a private law firm to examine alternatives to solve the village’s high school tax rate problem.
Fernicola said that the appropriation is for payment of legal fees over potential litigation pertaining to Loch Arbour’s affiliation with the Ocean Township school district.
Recent attempts to merge the village with neighboring Allenhurst and Interlaken were unsuccessful.
Loch Arbour property owners saw their annual school tax rise by $1.3 million, or to $1.6 million, about six years ago after the state Legislature enacted the School Funding Reform Act.
The village’s school tax bill, now based on property valuation, has risen to about $2 million annually and had increased village residents taxes by about $15,000 a year on the average home.
Previously, Loch Arbour paid a maximum of $300,000 a year to send its children to Ocean Township schools and the recent school tax is affecting some resident’s ability to continue to live in the home, especially people on fixed incomes.
It was recently costing about $98,000 to educate each of the village’s students in Ocean Township schools whereas the actual per-pupil cost in the district is close to $15,000.
All three candidates said that beach replenishment and acquiring additional beachfront from a private owner at no cost to the taxpayers are also past accomplishments.