SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Ted Ricci is among the six candidates on the ballot for the three available seats on the Spotswood Borough Council. Councilman Ricci is seeking re-election along with Councilman Curtis Stollen on November 6. The pair is running on a ticket together against William Kraemer, Charles Spicuzzo, Dawn Crandall and Marylin Israel. Ricci is a retired police officer and is the owner of the Spotswood Funeral Home on Main Street.
After retiring from law enforcement after 25 years working in Middlesex County and Woodbridge, the long time borough resident started preparing for his second career.
"I began my apprenticeship training in 1998," Ricci explained. "I graduated with highest honors from the Mercer County Community College Mortuary Science program in December 2000 with an Associates Degree in Business and a Funeral Service Certificate and I have been a licensed funeral director since May 2001. In April 2011, I successfully completed all the requirements to earn the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner through the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice. The CFSP designation has strict standards for educational and community service requirements which must be met in order to maintain the highest level of service to the families that we serve."
Ricci and his wife Bernadette live in the lake section of Spotswood, moving into the borough back in 1987. Before his election to the Spotswood Borough Council in 2014, Ricci was a member of the town's planning and zoning board for 16 years.
"In the last 5 years before the zoning board was disbanded, I served as its chairman," Ricci said. "During my time on the planning board, I served as vice chairman for three years. I am a member and an officer of the Immaculate Conception Knights of Columbus Council 4907 and a fourth degree Knight in our Assembly, where I also serve as an officer. I served a two year term on the Immaculate Conception School advisory committee from 2015 to 2017. I am a past president of the Middlesex and Somerset County Funeral Directors Association. During my time as a police officer, I served as PBA president for three years and also served on the PBA's negotiating committee. Prior to settling in Spotswood, I served as a volunteer firefighter in the Keasbey Fire Department, rising to the rank of chief."
"I'm seeking re-election to the council to continue helping my hometown succeed and grow while maintaining that small town quality," Ricci continued. "In my four years, we have instituted some changes that were overdue to better serve our residents. Councilman Stollen and myself donated funds from our 2014 campaign to the borough for video equipment so that council meetings could be broadcast on our YouTube channel for those residents who can not make it out to our meetings."
"I would like to be a part of the continuing improvements to our borough, especially in the areas of infrastructure and water delivery services," Ricci said. "As a business owner, I understand budgeting and quite frankly, running a town is not much different than running a business successfully. Together with our other council members, I have researched keeping EMS vs. outsourcing. While keeping the EMS in-house has been somewhat more expensive, I believe it has been the right choice for our residents. My experience in law enforcement gives me a unique perspective to our police department as its liaison to the council. I fully supported the police departments move towards national accreditation which, when completed, will further professionalize an already outstanding and highly respected police force with a set of standards and directives which have been adopted by thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide."
Ricci feels he has a lot of expertise he can continue to offer the borough council if re-elected, pointing towards his extensive career in law enforcement as well as his experience as a small business owner and his term as borough council president in 2017.
"Fiscal management is paramount in keeping the taxes on residents as low as possible while still delivering service," Ricci said. "Ours is an old town with an equally old infrastructure and the management of the maintaining everything is not going to come cheaply. As a council member, I will look at expenditures, together with our professionals, to decide if we're getting the greatest gain for the dollars spent on projects. Together with my fellow council members, I have listened to what our residents want and have tried to accomplish as much as possible within the means of our budget and I will continue to do that if re-elected."
Ricci enjoys the small town atmosphere in Spotswood, which is quite different from the large community he grew up in, noting how pleasant it is that the borough continues to maintain its close-knit friendliness.
"Presently, one of the most important issues we face in town is our traffic congestion. Much of this traffic is from development in the surrounding towns and I believe that any action we take to fix this has to be from a regional approach," Ricci said when asked what issues he felt currently affect Spotswood. "Our borough simply cannot afford to go it alone. The current East Brunswick project that is approved for Old Stage and Summerhill Roads is of particular concern because of the amount of additional new congestion that it will generate. Our lake is another area that needs regional attention. We have received a 2.5 million dollar grant to try to tackle the problem. Finally, as I've already stated, we have a very old infrastructure that is going to need repairs and we are also working on grants for those projects."
"If re-elected, I will continue to work towards the goals that we have set as a borough to keep our town moving forward and maintaining our quality of life and small town feel," Ricci added. "I will continue to be fiscally responsible in budgeting and expenditures, however, some projects need to be completed and we have no choice but to fund them. In closing I would simply say that I look forward to continuing to serve the people of the borough for another four years and that if re-elected, I will always keep the best interest of our residents in mind during any decision making."
*In the upcoming weeks, Tapinto Milltown/Spotswood will continue with the Meet the Candidate series, expanding to include the candidates running for the Spotswood Board of Education. Each candidate running for the Spotswood Borough Council was asked to participate in the Meet the Borough Candidate series and was given the same questions to answer.