LAKE COMO, NJ — Democratic incumbents Douglas Witte and Hawley Scull are seeking new three-year terms to the Lake Como Council. Both candidates are running unopposed in the November 5 general election, as Witte is up for re-election to a 10th term and Scull to a third term.

TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como asked the candidates questions on their qualifications, important issues facing the borough and their top priorities if re-elected.

DOUGLAS WITTE

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Douglas Witte, 65, of Redmond Avenue has lived in Lake Como for 54 years. He is assistant manager of the central distribution center for Atlantic Health System.

Witte has three children: April Claudio, Gayle Asfor and Douglas Witte Jr.

Service to Lake Como

During his 27-year tenure as a Lake Como councilman, Witte has served as council president for 13 years — a role he currently fills. He heads the council’s public safety committee, which includes overseeing police, fire and first aid functions, is a member of the finance meeting and serves as council liaison to the Community Policing Program.

Witte also has been a Planning Board member for more than 20 years, and was previously a member of the Lake Como Board of Education for five years. A 45-year member of the former South Belmar Fire Co, he served as fire chief for six years.

What are the most-important issues facing the borough (up to five)? And if you're re-elected, how do you plan to address those issues?

■  What to do with borough-own vacated building (former firehouse and police headquarters on Main Street). We need to look at all options, some of which include renting out the building and to do a redevelopment of the property between Redmond and 18th Avenues. The council will need to look these options, plus any other ones that will come up and make a decision for what is the best for the borough.

■ Continue to hold the line on taxes and continue to look for ways to increase town revenue and control spending.

■ I would like to get more residents involved with the new Community Policing Program. I feel that this program will benefit both the residents and the town if more residents were involved. I plan on have future meetings with an effort to get more residents involved.

HAWLEY SCULL

Hawley Scull, 42, is a 17th Avenue resident, who has lived in Lake Como for nine years. She is a stay-at-home mom, and she and her husband, Jeff, have three children: Fischer, Chase and Maisie.

Service to Lake Como

A council member since 2015, Scull previously served on the Planning Board and Environmental Commission. She currently is a member of the Tourism Commission, playing an instrumental role in the planning of Lake Como Day.

What are your qualifications for elected office?

Not only have I already served Lake Como as a councilwoman for almost five years, but I’m a concerned citizen and resident who wants to make a difference in my community. 

What are the most-important issues facing the borough (up to five)? And if you're re-elected, how do you plan to address those issues?

As always, providing excellent services to our residents while keeping taxes as low as possible remains at the forefront of issues we as a town need to tackle. Those familiar with the events of the past few years will recall that I was part of the team that had to make difficult but necessary decisions regarding shared services. Partnering with Belmar for police service was a hard choice, and certainly there were bumps in the road. But on balance this has been an unmitigated success and has saved a tremendous amount off our tax burden. 

We have reached the time when investigating additional shared services is both feasible and necessary, and I invite my colleagues from our neighboring towns to meet and discuss ways we can utilize economies of scale to continue to lower taxes and maintain gold standard service for our residents.

As a team with the mayor and council, we have had a lot of success in building a better Lake Como, but the very reason we have government is because that job is never done. I would like to focus on several things this term.

First, I want to increase our focus on supporting local businesses. Making Lake Como even more of a destination will improve home values and bring foot traffic to our local business. We will do this by finishing the electric vehicle charging station project, which will put Lake Como on the map for these drivers.
Additionally, I will continue to work with a strong Tourism Commission and enhance the wonderful projects we already take on, like Lake Como Day, and find new ways to bring tourism into town.

I love Lake Como and our community. We are a small town with a big heart.

 

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