RARITAN, NJ - At its February meeting, the Raritan Borough Council will be tasked with filling yet another one of its vacant seats following the resignation of Councilman Donald Tozzi in January.
According to municipal sources, after living in Raritan for almost 60 years, Tozzi has relocated to South Carolina.
Tozzi has served Raritan in many capacities over the years.
“As a public servant, I always put the interest of townspeople and businesses ahead of personal interests,” he said. “For example, during Hurricane Sandy, I was the only councilperson to walk downtown to call upon as many businesses as possible to offer assistance.”
Tozzi is a graduate of Bridgewater-Raritan High School West. He was self-employed in start-up businesses for over 34 years, and was the co-founder of the Basilone Memorial Foundation, a non-profit corporation organized exclusively for charitable purposes.
“Don Tozzi was an excellent councilman, whose heart was and is always with Raritan," Mayor Zachary Bray said. "His contributions to charity through the Basilone Memorial Foundation have been admirable to watch. Specifically, the organization of the 5k run on the day before the parade has become a wonderful tradition that I hope continues in the years to come. Don will be missed by the governing body, and the town, but we know he will be back to help with these events.”
Tozzi served on the Raritan Borough Council for one full term from 2011 to 2014 and again from 2018 until he submitted his resignation in January. While on council, he served as council president for three years.
In addition to his time in elected office, Tozzi served on the historic committee, public works committee, grounds & recreation committee, Basilone Parade Committee and the Riverfest committee.
Councilman Nicolas Carra, who has followed Tozzi as council president this year, recalled his contributions.
“It was sad to see Don leave, “ he said. “Don has been a great member of our community. In his first term on council, he was a real leader in the area of community events. He began the Rubber Duck race event that we have at our Riverfest. It was a great idea that raised a lot of money for the Steeplechase Cancer Center at RWJ Somerset and for the Raritan Fire Department. After losing his re-election bid, he co-founded the Basilone Memorial Foundation in 2015, in which he, alongside John Basilone’s niece, Kim Van Note, continued to introduce new events to the town he served and loved, again raising money for good causes. Some of the events include the Manila Madness Sniper Race at Duke Island Park, the Manila Madness 5K Run with USMC veteran Rob Jones."
"My favorite event to witness is the parachute drop at TD Bank ballpark, when the BMF drops toy soldiers out from a helicopter over the baseball field," he added. "When Don rejoined the council in 2018, serving as council president the last two years, we had a new community events committee, in which Don fittingly served as our liaison for the council. He continued to do what he has always done best, bringing back Riverfest and the Duck Race, while continuing his charity work with events run by the foundation he was a part of. Don’s ability to create memorable and unique events to bring the community together, are what I know will be missed and it will be tough to fill his shoes. Don has helped to bring that small town charm to Raritan and give us a greater sense of community.”
Under Raritan’s form of government, the party of the departing officeholder nominates a replacement.
Tozzi’s council seat will be on the November ballot and whoever is elected will finish out the final year of the term, ending on Dec. 31, 2021.