MONTVILLE, NJ – TAPinto Montville asked the four candidates for Montville Township Committee to answer five questions about themselves. The answers are being published in a random order. These are the answers that incumbent Committee Member June Witty gave.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up on my family’s apple orchard in Towaco and have lived in the community for the greater part of 50 years. At the age of 14, I began as a hospital volunteer at the old Chilton Memorial Hospital. I thoroughly enjoyed helping people, especially those in need, and this became my passion. When I was old enough to drive, I started to volunteer at the Montville Township First Aid Squad. And so it began with giving back to my community, from teaching Sunday School, Chilton Community Advisory Board, Montville Township Women’s Club, Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Response Team, Montville Drug Awareness Council, Eleventh Hour Rescue, Morris County Stigma Free & Opiate Task Force, Montville Township Relay For Life, are just a few of the organizations I have volunteered in. I married my high school sweetheart and after a year of marriage and a baby on the way, he was killed in a car accident. With the help of my family, a loving supportive community, my faith, all helped me to heel and eventually find love again by marrying my husband Craig. Together we have raised our two children, Karl and Michele, here and are proud that Montville Township has always been home to our family. I worked for the District of Paterson as a School Nurse for 5 years and then was hired to be the School Nurse at Montville High School Township for 21 years, retiring in 2014. I had also worked for Saint Clare’s Hospital for close to 30 years ending in 2010. I started as a volunteer advocate for victims of sexual assault and then was asked to become a Forensic Nurse Examiner. Currently I consult in cases of Sex Crimes and Domestic Violence. When I have down time, I also love many outdoor recreation activities such as swimming, kayaking, fishing, boating, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

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We pay so much in taxes. Why are the roads in such bad shape and always being cut into?

For every $100 a Montville Township property taxpayer pays in property taxes, $67.30 goes to the Montville Township Board of Education. The remaining $32.70 gets divided up between Morris County, Morris County Open Space, Montville Township, Montville Township Open Space, Montville Township Free Public Library, the 3 Fire Districts including Montville, Pine Brook, and Towaco. Montville Township’s percentage of the $32.70 is actually $17.88. For the record, over the last 3 years, Montville Township has adopted, on average, some of the lowest tax levy increases in the past 2 decades.

To address your comments about why it appears many of our roads are “in such bad shape and always being cut into,” we would like to offer the following response:

For many years (prior to the present Township Committee members), prior Township Committees, trying in earnest to keep taxes to a minimum, appropriated insufficient funds to address our aging roads and infrastructure. However, under the current administration, they have continued to support a recently created road improvement methodology which has outlined a 15-year plan that requires at least $1,000,000 per year in capital spending to systematically repave all of our approximately 215 lane miles of roads.

The question about our roads being constantly dug up is a multi-faceted one; however, the 2 main drivers resulting in this are the NJNG company has been systematically expanding gas lines into areas of town that never had such infrastructure (fortunately, under this administration, we have both passed a road moratorium ordinance which better controls how and when our streets are dug up and, additionally, we have negotiated with NJNG that they will pay for the milling and paving for their part of the roads dug up and the Township will pay for the other). This measure has resulted in getting more roadways repaved as well as saving Montville Township taxpayers. The second major reason is that Montville Township, over the past 2 decades, has witnessed a significant amount of new development which has resulted in many roads being dug up for the new infrastructure to be installed.

What do you believe is the most important issue in this local election?

During the first few months of 2020 our country started to feel the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. The Township Committee with Township Administration and the Office of Emergency Management began preparations to assist and protect our front-line workers. Our police officers, fire department volunteers, and First-Aid volunteers, came together and had their first meeting in last week in February to ensure that all first responders would have plenty of PPE available and in stock. Matt Kayne and I both utilized our healthcare backgrounds to help with assisting in the coordination and the entire township committee were provided with updates on the progression of the virus and ever-changing protocols to help protect our those in our community. The CDC set the standards for prevention and our Health Department worked tirelessly to ensure all protocols were being adhered to. Since the lock down and into the phases of re-opening of the state, the township committee has continued to work with our professionals to make sure that we are keeping the safety of our residents first and foremost.

What other issues are important?

Protecting our environment in the community affects all of us. When I was growing up my parents taught me the importance of how to compost and recycle. When I a student at Montville High School I was a member of the Earth Club. We learned how each of us as individuals can help keep our environment clean and how to we can conserve our natural resources. The environment and keeping our community clean are something that I strive to do every day. I hang my laundry on a close line and use collected rainwater for my garden. As a member of the Township Committee, I organized a plastic bag recycling drive and the community together collected over 2,000 pounds of film plastic. This drive helped to make the community more aware and through recycling we were able to earn two Trex benches that will be placed by the Amphitheater. We have added recycling days to our community calendar which includes paper shredding, electronics and now prescription medication. We were able to provide recycle containers to the community through a grant earned through our recycling programs. When the township switched back to dual stream recycling, which is separation of cans and bottles from paper, I had concerns that un-recyclable items might result in whole collections becoming trash. I decided to create a visual presentation to help residents see exactly what items are recyclable and which are non-recyclable. This presentation was presented to groups and to residents during an afternoon, and on a Saturday morning.

I was also instrumental in de-snagging of the Passaic River between Montville Township and Fairfield by using shared services. Clearing the river not only helped to mitigate flooding but also with mosquito control. By having a free-flowing river our local wildlife is flourishing. As the liaison to Open Space Committee, I noticed a piece of property that would allow access to the river. The township acquired this property at no cost which now provides a gravel driveway for watercrafts to launch. The gravel driveway was laid down by Fairfield services so they could get their equipment to the river to remove any fallen trees. As the liaison to the Rockaway River Water Shed, I have assisted with river clean up and support the educational programs to help assess the rivers status. The Rockaway River was also de-snagged to allow for better waterflow. Serving as liaisons to both committees is very important to me as these are areas that directly helps our keep our environment and community healthy.

The Towaco aquifer is Montville’s main source of water supply. The area encompasses a large section of Towaco and the level of available water is evaluated monthly. This is a treasure of our community and it’s health is our priority. What supply’s the aquifer is surface water, rain and snow, which means that storm water runoff could potentially be a problem. Storm drains are monitored by our efficient DPW , problems can arise when drains are clogged with rubbish, leaves, or other debris. New standards from NJDEP will be implemented where needed to help reduce pollution and flooding.

Why do you feel you are uniquely qualified to be a township committee member?

I genuinely believe that all my years of working within various hospital departments in both urban and suburban areas have provided me with the skills to communicate clearly and calmly. Being involved in the critical care and emergency departments, children’s crisis inpatient center, and now with survivors of sexual assault has developed in me the skills needed to think on my feet. Critical assessment and providing an immediate response in a supportive and clear manner is an invaluable skill needed to communicate in any setting. I have a long standing presence from participation in various community and civic organizations, as well as my past employment as the school nurse at the High School, has provided me with getting to know and work with so many wonderful volunteers and community members in our town.

I have shown that I can stand up and admit to a mistake, move ahead by accepting responsibility, and do what is necessary to make things right. I began knocking on the doors to meet the wonderful residents of our community so that I can represent each of you on the dais. Should I have I missed you during my visit I leave my contact information so residents can feel free to reach out because I care. My life experiences have nurtured the very talent needed for strong leadership, listening skills, empathy, honesty, and the desire to care for others which make me uniquely qualified. I have proven that I am qualified to meet the demands of serving on the Township Committee and together with my colleagues our combined leadership has helped shape Montville Township into one of the top places to live.

The Montville Township Committee members serve for three-year terms.

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