MONTVILLE, NJ - Annabel Pierce and June Witty, two of the three Republican candidates running in the June 6 primary election for the two open seats on the Montville Township Committee, attended the Montville Area Tea Party meeting on Thursday, April 27 to explain their platforms.

The two open seats on the Township Committee are available because Mayor James Sandham and Committeewoman Deb Nielson are not seeking re-election.

Annabel Pierce explained that she has a degree in economics from Rutgers University and for 15 years is a small business owner with offices in Pine Brook. She has been married for 17 years and has three children.

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Pierce has volunteered in many community organizations and has met and worked with volunteers. She said that volunteers “are truly the largest asset of our township.”

She is proud of her service to the Montville Republican Club. She started as recording secretary and became club president in 2016.

She was elected to the Montville Republican County Committee seat in her district and was nominated and elected by members to the position of County Committee Chair. She has served there for the past three years.

She is currently serving as the vice president of the Towaco Civic Association, is a member of the Montville Zoning Board of Adjustment, is on the Morris County Planning Board and Morris County Open Space and Preservation Trust Fund Committee, and she is on the County College of Morris Business Advisory Board.

As a business owner, she “understands fully what it takes to maintain quality standards, increase efficiencies, budget for the future and produce revenue.”

Her platform includes keeping property taxes below the state cap while maintaining essential services, open an amicable line of communication with the Montville Township Board of Education, Morris County and other towns to share services and reduce expenses, commit to redevelopment of vacant eyesores in the commercial corridors in order to increase ratables, reduce homeowner taxes, preserve community standards, protect environment and ensure that township roads and infrastructures are well maintained.

June Witty explained that she grew up on her family’s orchard in Towaco and has lived in the community for the greater part of the last 50 years. She and her husband Craig raised two children, Karl and Michele, and are proud that Montville Township has been home to her family.

She worked in the Montville Township School District for 21 years as the high school nurse and currently consults as a forensic nurse for the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.

She continues to volunteer and represent her community by serving in the Women’s Club, Drug Awareness Council-Municipal Alliance, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Post 279, Project Graduation, and Morris County Task Force on Opiates, just to name a few.  

While she has never held public office and would not consider herself a politician, she stated,“I want to turn my passion into practice and serve our community. I feel that I can provide a fresh and unencumbered approach to many aspects of the Township Committee's roles.

I have concerns as to future development of Montville Township and want to make sure that we preserve our heritage and keep our sense of community strong, while being dedicated to improvement.”

Her proposals for new development and re-development take into consideration, not only the impact on residents, but on natural resources as well.

In her platform, she states, “The Pilgrim Pipeline could potentially have long-lasting, devastating effects on our community. Implementing a new ordinance regarding the regulation of pipelines, as opposed to prohibiting pipelines, and hoping for extended delays in Pilgrim Pipeline's filing is not a plan.

I will work to keep our property taxes steady while ensuring we continue to provide top quality essential services.

The ongoing Opiate Epidemic has had devastating effects on our residents. Addressing this issue will require work well beyond the borders of our community. We need to be proactive and work with our county sheriff, elected officials at the state and local levels, local law enforcement and our Drug Awareness Council/Alliance to help end this crisis.

Montville had eight fatal heroin overdoses last year. These losses of neighbors, friends and loved ones are preventable and unacceptable. In working together to create engaging programming in our schools, including our community Youth Center after school services, expand up-to-date information to members of our community, we can build a communal approach to reversing this trend.”

Although not present at the meeting, Republican Matthew Kayne agreed to share his platform with TAP. His principles for leading Montville include strategic planning and effective use of tax dollars to keep Montville Township affordable.

Kayne is currently the President of the Montville Township Board of Education and has spent years on the Board's Facilities and Finance Committee. He has also been directly involved with the Montville Township Schools’ budget. Since 2010, the school district has had to cope with the loss of millions of dollars of state aid. Despite this, each year the school budget was held to an increase of only 2% or less.

Kayne believes in protecting the environment, especially the township’s aquifer, which is its primary source of drinking water, and he is against the Pilgrim Pipeline.

He was a member of the town wide Sustainability Committee and was a member of the opposition to the PSE&G power line project. He also helped bring solar energy projects to our two largest schools at no cost to the taxpayer and a revamped recycling system to schools that ultimately included lower cost-shared services with the Township.

At his recommendation, the school district underwent a no cost Local Government Energy Audit, which was the foundation for energy saving programs utilizing Direct Install, a NJ Clean Energy program that funded 70 percent of project upgrades, resulting in a substantial reduction in energy consumption and annual cost savings.

As for new development, Kayne realizes new development is vital to the town’s growth. He will work to balance development with maintaining the “small-town” tradition that has made Montville Township such a highly-desirable town in which to live.

He also believes in strategic and thoughtful analysis of the township’s infrastructure. Kayne believes “we must continue to maintain our roads, buildings, recreational facilities and over-all appearance of our community, all within reasonable budgetary guidelines.”