NEWTON, NJ - The race for Newton Township Council is coming to the finish line. Registered voters will be able to cast their votes on Tuesday, May 10. Four candidates are running for two four-year seats: Margaret Baldini, Daniel Flynn, Anwar Qarmout and Helen Le Frois.
The candidates were asked to submit a brief biography a comment about their reason for seeking the position. The candidates’ responses are below in the order they will appear on the ballot, along with their ballot statement.
The four candidates are running individually. Only Flynn is an incumbent. Councilwoman Kristen Becker, whose term expires in June, is not seeking another term.
Helen Le Frois – “Experienced and Trusted Leader” A resident of Newton for 18 years, Le Frois is the director of Development for Jersey Battered Women’s Service, Inc. She attended the University of Southern California as Political Science major.
Her top three issues are:
Ratables, non-ratable properties account for one third of total properties. The biggest opportunity to reduce taxes is to increase the number of ratable properties by streamlining the processes for establishing or expanding businesses, adjust ordinances and proactively seek businesses to invest in Newton.
Perception of Public Safety- Despite the perception that some areas of town are not safe, statistics show crime rates are actually down. There has been increased police presence, surveillance cameras and improved lighting. The perception needs to be changed to be more positive through a partnership with the highly trained and dedicated police, fire and emergency responders
Customer Service has been improving with adjustments to municipal business hours, improved communication and increasing amounts of information available online. These improvements need continue, encouraging residents and business owners to get involved with their input.
Previous experience includes a term on Newton Town Council from 2008-2012 where she served as Deputy Mayor and Mayor and liaison to the Newton Fire Department. She was the Chair of Newton’s Historic Preservation Advisory Commission, member of the Main Street Newton and Newton’s Plan Endorsement Committee. Le Frois serves on Newton Planning Board, Newton Fire Department Auxiliary and Chair of Sussex County Community College Foundation Board of Trustees.
Le Frois is married to Gregory LeFrois and they have three children, Jordan 20 years-old, Madelyn 18 years-old and Kathryn 18 years-old.
Anwar Qarmout – “A Better Community for All” A resident of Newton for 34 years, Garmout is a real estate investor, builder and property manager. He attended Newton public schools and graduated from Rhema Bible College and Victory Bible Institute.
His top three issues are:
Tax exemption properties- With a third of the town exempt from taxes would focus on creating development and generating new revenue to reduce the burden on Newton residents.
Create collaboration among all agencies, organizations and churches to serve the community and increase the standard of living. Creating a bridge between the schools, businesses and government to assure stability.
Continued use of technology and modern practices to reduce expenses and increase efficiency. Advancing Newton to the digital age will assure a competitive advantage.
His relevant previous experience Qarmout has owned and operated several businesses in Newton. He has purchased and renovated dilapidated buildings in Newton and volunteered on committees geared towards improving the downtown and recruiting new businesses. Qarmout is involved in community outreach and other programs.
Qarmout is married to Suhair and they have four children, Mouna 20 years-old, Lisa 17 years-old, Jacob 11 years-old and Marya 7 years-old.
Margaret ‘Peggy’ Baldini – “Former Miss Newton for Lower Taxes” A resident of Newton for 40 years Baldini is employed in sales and marketing at an ophthalmic surgical instruments company. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from East Stroudsburg University
Her top three issues are
Taxes Baldini believes the tax burden on the homeowner is too high and there is a need to encourage local business. Baldini also believes Newton should regionalize with other local fire departments and the firehouse needs to be renovated.
Business District Baldini feels the town is anti-business, that there are a lot of obstacles for small business owners and that policies need to be reviewed and updated for the business district.
Roadways and Signage Baldini thinks there should be large visible signage directing traffic to Spring Street since it was made into a one-way street.
Baldini is a former Miss Newton and thinks that residents need to be treated with respect and dignity, that the tax burden on homeowners is too high and businesses need to be encouraged. She has been attending town council meetings since she was a little girl and has a vast knowledge of town history.
She is not married but has a dog named Cookie-Wookie.
Daniel Flynn - “For a Prosperous Newton” A resident of Newton for six years Flynn is employed as a professional engineer for Stormwater Compliance Solutions in Chester. He attended Lenape Valley Regional High School and has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
His top three issues are:
Ratables Flynn believes the town needs to continue to build the ratable base, concerned by the third of the properties having tax exempt status. He considers Newton’s downtown shopping and commercial districts, neighborhoods and parks and water and sewer infrastructure to be assets on which growth can be built.
Preservation of Town Assets Flynn considers the fire, police and First Aid Squad to be assets that need to be preserved and supported so generations of families to come can sleep at night knowing their town is safe.
Infrastructure enhancement and maintenance Aging water and sewer systems need to be kept in good working order to maintain service without large unforeseen expenditures, including retrofitting, replacement and maintenance of water lines, sewers, pump stations and treatment components.
Flynn is currently serving as Newton’s Mayor. He has also serves on Sussex County Planning Board, Sussex County Water Quality Management Policy Advisory Committee, Sussex County College 2020 Committee and Newton Planning Board.
Flynn is planning to get married and have children.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. The successful candidates will be sworn in at the annual Reorganization meeting on July 1 according to the municipal web site.
- District 1 and 2 Newton Fire House – 22 Mill Street
- District 3 and 5 Newton Municipal Building – 39 Trinity Place New Location
- District 4 NFSA Building - 8 Sussex Street
- District 6 First United Methodist Church – 111 Ryerson Avenue