NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — Meet Kenneth Tilton, 10-year resident of North Caldwell running for borough council in the upcoming election on Nov. 5.
Kenneth Tilton, chief operating officer at Schumacher Chevrolet, graduated from Montclair Kimberley Academy in 1998 and Boston College in 2002. He and his wife, Laura Tilton nee Burns, have two children attending the local public school system: Sienna Tilton, a seventh grader at West Essex Middle School, and Estella Tilton, a fourth grader at Gould Elementary School.
Q: In what other ways are you involved in the community?
A: I always strive to volunteer my time within the community. Donating to special events or supporting local sports teams is always a top priority. Give The Kids Hope, CASA, and the North Caldwell Recreation Foundation are just some of the local organizations that I help and contribute to. Moreover, I’m a founding member of the North Caldwell Police Foundation and current Co-President. Through the foundation, we have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars which goes directly back to the police department for equipment, training and services they need to effectively do their job. Furthermore, I have coached my daughter’s recreational basketball team for the past few years. It is for these very reasons that I decided to further extend my time to the Borough as a candidate for council.
Q: What do you believe is the most important issue in this local election? How would you change it?
A: I don’t think there is much to change about the town. It’s one of the most fiscally responsible towns in the State of New Jersey. The Council has done a phenomenal job keeping our taxes in line and debt levels low. This is due to in part to a Council that works very well together. Why foster change merely for the sake of change? We can always strive to do better, but the reality is in the fiscal data. Don’t change what’s not broken.
Q: Why are you running for borough council?
A: I care deeply about North Caldwell and my family loves it here. I have very strong ties to the Borough. I grew up working on Matarazzo’s farm when I was younger. My grandfather was on the town council back in the early 1970’s. I moved to North Caldwell because it was always fiscally responsible and has one of the best school systems in the state. Moreover, it has a country feel in a metropolitan area. These arew the very reasons why residents’ children continue to move back to town. I would like to help preserve these values.
Q: Do you believe North Caldwell can benefit from more shared services with surrounding communities? If so, what would you propose?
A: North Caldwell has been a leader in shared services and if elected, this is going to continue. For many years now, North Caldwell has shared services with Essex Fells, including sharing its police dispatch services and a municipal court system. In addition, North Caldwell benefits by outsourcing services such as some animal control services and leaf collection. North Caldwell has been asked recently by other local municipalities to consider having them join our court system and other municipalities have asked our town leaders to consider consolidating other services all of which are being explored by reviewing reports of experts concerning the benefits of such potential partnerships. Only if such shared services would benefit the budget and not in any way impact the services North Caldwell residents expect, would I support them and I will explore other such services to protect the bottom line and keep taxes stable.
Q: What is the number one question you have received from residents during your campaign? How did you respond?
A: I thought it was interesting how satisfied most residents were with the town. However, two things seemed to be most on their minds. The first is that they expressed concern over keeping taxes stable, although they recognized how fiscally responsible the town has been in the past. The second was their concern with controlling development in the town. I explained to them that while all develpment cannot be legally stopped completely, my research into what development has gone on to date reveals that the type, nature, number and density of current and possible future development could have been dramatically worse but for the prudent decisions of North Caldwell. I explained that many of the surrounding local towns have allowed high density development unlike anything we have here in our town. It seems to be the result of careful planning. I intend to continue that type of oversight and hope to keep any new developments as lean as we can legally regulate.