Anything but Andes in Denville is Crazy.

-Top downtown shopping district

-Outstanding credit rating & low debt

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-Great property values and school system

-A river and lake community which no longer floods

-Robust recreation programs, fields and playgrounds

All of these things about Denville are not coincidence and many of these statements would be debatable before Tom Andes became mayor.

TOP DOWNTOWN

As Mayor, Tom Andes has helped lead a downtown revival. When Tom took office as Mayor, the downtown was ruined from flooding, store vacancies were rampant and the streetscape was sad. Since then we have formed a downtown business district, a refurbished streetscape and continued improvements through massive grant application which saves Denville residents from paying. We are continuously ranked one of the best downtown destinations in Morris County and beyond.

FINANCES ARE GREAT

I first started working with Tom as a councilman. When I was elected, the town had been spending a lot of money. While lending rates were good and improvements needed, debt has piled up from previous administrations. Just before leaving the Council – I, and others, had expressed concern about the continued debt. Mayor Andes has taken that to task and we are now on an aggressive debt reduction schedule while still keeping tax rates low. Our credit score remains outstanding.

NO FLOODING

Before Tom as Mayor, we struggled with continued flooding as well as being hit with the massive destruction of Hurricane Irene. Since then, we are fortunate to have barely had water issues. This is not just luck of the weather. Regular river maintenance, grant applications, continued dredging and de-silting, improved valve systems, systematic studies and improvements. None of which was accomplished to this extent before Tom Andes became Mayor.

SO MANY OTHER THINGS

Tom championed a great relationship with our Board of Education who now share space in Town Hall, a great example of shared services. The turf field (with no additional cost to residents) added to Veteran’s Park at Zeek Road was championed by Tom. It’s not easy getting a dozen different sports organizations to agree on the logistics. Tom did it where others were unable too. We now pave roads based on a formula not just subjective opinions from township engineers and/or a council person who lobby for them. Mayor Tom Andes has been one of the most influential and productive Mayor’s in Denville’s history.

BUT WHAT ABOUT TOM ANDES’ OPPONENTS?

Ellen Sandman is an outstanding person and has done much for Denville. She is a pleasure to know. However, I am so terribly disappointed she chose to run for Mayor against such an outstanding incumbent like Tom Andes. Ellen was the town’s administrator for many years and has also worked in government for several other towns. The office of Mayor represents all of Denville’s residents and should not just be about employees of a township’s administration. To me, the lines are too blurry and we need an objective voice to balance running town hall and the needs of the residents. Ellen once ran for Mayor and lost, many of her supporters recall the impact. Tom Andes then stepped up and won the office of Mayor bringing Denville back from difficult times. He has been exemplary since. Ellen is jeopardizing our town once again by potentially taking votes away from a great Mayor seeking re-election. Especially because Ellen will not provide more productivity than Tom is providing other than some nostalgia for a few.

Andrea Zeydelis seems lovely and so many people have complimented her character. I admire her passion and interest in getting involved. I did that 9 years ago and was elected to the council, so I can relate. However, the office of Mayor requires extensive knowledge and experience. There are many other ways to help besides the office of Mayor. I hope she’ll continue to seek nominations to township boards, committees or perhaps even seek the township council. That job of Mayor is not an experiment to “get involved” politically. While many may cringe at the partisanship and embarrassment of national politics, don’t let our town be the victim of that frustration. We have real issues ahead. Ellen Sandman’s “independent” run risks splitting votes and enabling an inexperienced candidate, Andrea, to take a very important office. While I don’t like to dwell on party politics, the Democratic party in NJ has been a brutal opponent to maintaining Denville’s character by the support of the affordable housing lobbyist groups looking to expand massive development throughout all of the state. Denville cannot sustain more development and housing, we don’t have the space, school system or resources to support it. Despite what we may think of either party, we cannot risk inexperience in the Mayoral office while that threat remains.

Keep the good things happening in Denville, and vote for Tom Andes. He has always been about Denville first, before political party, before personal aspirations or before any other interests. He is best for Denville.

Gene Fitzpatrick

Former Denville Councilman