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 Venancio L. Fuentes five questions. Here are his responses.

Tell us a little about yourself.

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Hello, my name is Venancio L. Fuentes and I am running as a candidate for Montville’s township committee. I am a faculty member at County College of Morris, where I teach courses in electrical engineering, technology and computer networking. In addition to teaching I also serve as the department head for the Engineering Technology and Science Department, and also the Criminal Justice Department.   I am a registered Professional Engineer in the state of New Jersey. I have served as a volunteer in the Office of Emergency in Denville, serving on their Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and also as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) on the Morris Minute Men FAS. I would be bringing my administrative, professional and service experience to this position, if I were elected.

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?

I would agree that the roads are in horrible shape and something needs to be done.  All of the gas main construction that has been taking place in town has only made the situation that much worst. We need the gas company to repave the roads that were dug up to lay new pipe. Concerning the remaining roads, a prioritization of those remaining roads that need to be paved needs to be established, and the worst once that are heavily travelled need to be repaved.   

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?

Montville has lost its identity as a rural town, and instead has turned into a town that seems to have lost its way as it tries to increase its tax base. We need to bring in the right type of businesses and try to use the existing structures that we have already.  Breaking ground on a new storage facility when we already have one in town, seems to me to be the wrong approach. We having empty buildings along route 46 that need to be reoccupied, and revitalized. We need to be smart about how the town is developed because the wrong type of development will leave us with paved over lands that once supported trees and grass, and vacant structures that are doing no one any good.

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

Green space funds were made available to towns to preserve spaces for future generations. I think it’s sad to tell our kids, and grandchildren that Montville was once open meadows, forests and farms, and not have single area in town where any of that was preserved. Green space funds should be used to preserve that history, and not to buy isolated pockets of land just to stop development, nor should it be used to purchase recreational facilities. Using the funds to purchase lighting for recreational areas that were purchased with green space funds is setting a bad precedence.  More of us need to be involved and be able to voice our opinion as to how these funds should be spent, and I am one that would love to hear from others before making a decision. 

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

In my role as a department head, I manage a budget and am familiar with the processes, such as purchasing, that have to be followed in a public institution. I have worked with others, to solve problems in a financially responsible and equitable way.  As a member of township committee I would like to bring more recognization of the volunteers that we rely on every day in times of emergency. Last item, is I want to bring the sense of community into our town governance.  I believe the lack of communication and division amongst the different areas has lead to a dysfunction that needs to be addressed.  I will have to work with others to get this done, and I know that I am only stronger when I work in a group that has a common mission; Montville is a great town, and it’s my mission to make sure that that doesn’t change.  

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

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