Manchester Patch asked each of the four candidates vying for three Township Council seats this November to complete a questionnaire addressing some of the issues affecting residents. One candidate will be featured each day this week.
The final profile is of Charles Frattini, an 84-year-old retired New York Daily News photojournalist. Frattini, who once served in China with the U.S. Marine Corps, has lived in Leisure Village West for 15 years and is running under the Continued Good Government banner.
Q: What do you see as the biggest issue facing Manchester and what do you plan to do to address it? Taxes have steadily increased over the years — what plans, if any, do you have to reduced spending and stabilize tax rates?
A: At present our obligation to those who retired is great, and the cost is great. We must in future union negotiations consider the downside of bountiful settlements. We must also find ways to reduce our spending. Payroll spending must somehow be kept at a reasonable rate. School taxes for our residents have increased at a dramatic rate. This is beyond the Town's control.
Q: Safety on Route 70 through the township has been a big problem, with serious and sometimes deadly crashes becoming almost the norm. The Township Council has asked for state help with improving safety but hasn't received much response — how would you address the issue?
A: Safety on Route 70 is an increasing problem. Traffic has increased to a point where it is unsustainable for traffic using it. Saying this, we know it is a problem for the State Department of Transportation who so far has not addressed the problem. The Township has many solutions, which so far have been ignored by the State.
Q: Township officials have said that it is difficult to draw new business into Manchester because of various environmental regulations. What ideas do you have that could help grow business in town?
A: Local realtors must join forces with other community business leaders, along with local government officials to brainstorm ideas to bring a new vitality to Manchester. Tax considerations might be used as an incentive for new business to come into our community.
Q: Is there a way to rehabilitate Pine Lake, and if so, could it be done in a way that would not be burdensome to taxpayers?
A: Pine Lake presents a challenge to Manchester, considering the acreage involved. We must press the State for environmental assistance. The Township on its own is unable to fund the entire operation. The State and possibly the County must give us aid.
Q: Though scheduled to be completed soon, construction on Route 530 in Whiting has been ongoing for longer than Ocean County officials anticipated and has become a nuisance to some residents. Going forward, how would you work with county officials to ensure other projects are completed on time and without much impact to residents?
A: Our Town Council must become directly involved with accelerating the completion of this project. The County and State must be prodded to become more cognizant of the problems being created for residents of this area.
Q: Manchester's police department, along with township officials, worked on a plan to bolster the force without greatly impacting the budget. Do you feel the township's police force is now staffed at an adequate level?
A: The Mayor and the Police Department work in close conjunction with each other. The Police Department is satisfied with the number of police hired and is satisfied with their new contract. The Mayor has restored some reductions that were made in the past to compensate for the vast increase in calls.
Q: Manchester is unique in that the township is home to a sizeable senior population as well as many younger families. How do you plan to address the needs of both of these groups?
A: Seniors and younger families have the same basic problems — finances, keeping taxes as low as possible, keeping recreation facilities available for families and children, maintaining and keeping the fine senior services viable and available, and basically keeping Manchester a great and safe community live in.