There are three candidates for two seats on the Montville Township Committee in the Nov. 5 election. TAPinto Montville recently asked them five questions. We will be running their answers individually as part of a series; the order of the candidates’ responses was chosen at random.

MONTVILLE, NJ – TAPinto Montville recently asked township committee candidate Richard Conklin five questions. Here are his responses.

Tell us a little about yourself.

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I am a lifelong resident of Montville Township and my family roots go several generations deep. I have been married to my wife Rose for 43 years, and we have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. I earned a degree in business from County College of Morris and a certificate in Construction management from Rutgers. I completed a career in the construction management industry as a Senior Associate, Senior Projects manager with a prominent international construction management firm.

Residents often complain about the condition of the roads in town, saying they pay a lot in taxes yet the roads are in horrible condition. What would you tell them to answer their complaints, and what do you feel is the proper amount of miles to repave: the seven miles many municipalities have recommended be done, more, or less?

When I first took office Montville was repaving approximately 9,800 linier feet of road per year (less than 2 miles) and approx. $500,000.00. Recognizing the need, we have significantly increased the footage each year, with this years (2019) footage being approx. 29,040 linier feet (about 5.5 miles) and approx. $3.3 million. However, it should also be noted that several of our current paving projects have also included other capital improvements including added sidewalks, drainage, and curbing where required. In past years the Township had used in-house staff to evaluate and prioritize future paving projects. We now, in conjunction with in-house staff, use an independent consultant to help evaluate and prioritize future paving projects. Due to administrations competitive bidding process, our projected 2019 program was completed with a budget surplus remaining, so we are currently able to pave additional streets prior to years end.

Arguably, the best way to get ratables is to have development in town, yet residents seem to oppose development. Where is the balance struck? How does Montville get more ratables while not increasing traffic and/or noise?

I have never been a proponent of development, and have always worked to preserve the character and heritage of Montville Township.  I have children and grandchildren living in Montville Township and I will do everything in my power to insure they enjoy the same quality of life I have experienced. I will never seek development of open land just to gain retables, but would prefer to support the redevelopment of some existing blighted commercial areas that have been neglected and are in substandard condition.

The Townships Master Plan, and current Master Plan reevaluation is instrumental to the future of our Township. The best way to preserve and protect our quality of life, and control development, is to stay involved, attend public hearings, and voice your opinions when the revised Master Plan is presented to the Township Committee for consideration.

Should green space be purchased solely to prevent it from being developed? Should it only be purchased if it has use for recreation?

I believe there are many reasons to purchase property for open space. Curbing development is only one issue. Green buffer zones and quality of life are also important to any community. Montville Township, to date, has purchased in excess of 1000 acres for open space. We recently contracted with the Land Conservancy of NJ to inventory and prioritize, for possible purchase, the remaining open space in Montville Twp. We are currently working with the open space committee in reviewing and considering several partials. Contiguous properties are always preferred, but not a prerequisite for purchase.

Why do you feel you are uniquely qualified to be a township committee member?

I have spent the best part of the last 50 years serving our Township. I served 12 years with the Towaco Vol. Fire Department, Was elected to, and served 3 terms as a Fire Commissioner for fire district #2, Towaco.

I was elected to the Townships Charter Study Commission in 2005 and served for the full one year term of its existence. (More importantly, I strive to this day to maintain the recommendations made by that study commission)

I have served on numerous Boards and Commissions over the years including the environmental commission, Open Space Committee (chair 2 years), Planning Board, and the honor of currently serving as Montville Townships Mayor.

Most Importantly, I have never viewed our Townships residents as Democrats or Republicans. I have always viewed them as friends, and neighbors who face the same problems and issues, and recognizing we have the ability to solve them together, with compassion and mutual respect.

Respectfully,

Richard D. Conklin

Editor’s note: It is TAPinto policy to not edit candidates’ responses.

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