BRIDGEWATER, NJ - He has a strong desire to improve Bridgewater, and now resident John Arcoleo is using that drive to run for one of two open seats on the Bridgewater Township Council.
Arcoleo is running on the Democratic ticket for a spot on the council.
“The spirit of volunteerism in town is something I believe in, and the desire to make Bridgewater better through citizen involvement strongly resonates with me,” Arcoleo said.
With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University and a PhD from Columbia, Arcoleo said he was a published research scientist in chemistry, biochemistry and cancer research.
“But I didn’t have the passion for it,” he said.
Now, Arcoleo is retired after running a computer support company with five employees for 30 years.
Locally, Arcoleo was the environmental trustee of Sunset Lake Club, and got to see the effects of improper road repairs, and failing or absent storm drains that led to excessive amounts of silt contaminated with asphalt byproducts in Sunset Lake.
In addition, Arcoleo was Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus Council 5959 in 2014.
“Being a Bridgewater resident since 1991, I am proud of our excellent school system, the active community-based organizations like Sunset Lake, as well as the many other summertime swim clubs throughout the town,” he said.
A longtime resident of Bridgewater, Arcoleo said that when it comes to development, quality is more important than quantity.
“Additional retail outlets do not provide high paying jobs for Bridgewater residents, but invite crime which can over-burden our police, and increase traffic with all the out-of-town shoppers and employees,” he said.
Most importantly, Arcoleo said, recent development in the Chimney Rock area has exacerbated existing flooding in the Finderne area.
“The Cuckold’s Brook routinely overflows its antiquated stream embankments, inundating roads and basements as acres and acres of trees are replaced with hundreds and hundreds of parking spots,” he said.
In addition to development, Arcoleo said, residents are frustrated with delays of road repairs.
“There is a list of road and storm drains to be repaired at the public works department, which contains hundreds of street addresses hidden behind the town’s lack of transparency to the public,” he said.
Arcoleo said his opponents talk about making a list and prioritizing road building, while also asking for reductions in the budget.
“Budget reductions are unrealistic and misleading if this issue is to be remedied,” he said.
On the issue of the budget, Arcoleo said he knows that any type of debt should be for long term capital items, like buildings and land, not road repairs.
“Bridgewater’s budget has been stable for seven years, not only cutting fat, but decimating the meat and bones,” he said. “Our debt is unsustainable, increasing from $857 per person to a current excess of $1,500 per person.”
Arcoleo said his business experience and history in town will help him be successful on the council.
“My business experiences support my ability to focus on our municipal government in my active retirement years,” he said. “If elected as councilman, I will be faced with a dual mandate from the citizens of Bridgewater. First, hold government accountable by ending the lack of transparency which has left the voters believing town government is not accountable to them and their needs. Secondly, make tough budget priorities regarding spending and assumption of additional debt; seek consensus on the board; and provide decorum and transparency in government deliberations, which has been sorely lacking.”