Editor’s note: Each of the nine candidates running for a seat on the Brick Township Council were sent a questionnaire by Brick Shorebeat. Their answers to our questions will be published on our site verbatim. We have disabled comments on profile articles to ensure the candidates’ statements speak for themselves and readers can decide, without additional, potentially anonymous commentary, their view on those running for office.
Full Name: Andrea L. Zapcic
Current Age: 58
I graduated eighth in my class from Wall Township High School in 1975 and attended what was then Monmouth College, graduating in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications and Theatre. I have completed extensive coursework in drug and alcohol prevention and hold certificates in Using the Arts in Prevention, Human Services Management, and Volunteer Management from Rutgers School of Social Work as well as a certificate in Parks Maintenance from Cook College. I have also been certified as a Recreation Administrator by the NJ Board of Recreation Examiners. I am a Certified Personal Trainer and a graduate of Leadership Shore Class of 2001.
Current Occupation: I have worked for the City of Rahway as Director of Parks and Recreation since May 2009. I oversee programming, special events and management of the 32,000 sq. ft Rahway Recreation Center, as well as the City’s parks and sports fields. I am the Co-Chair the Rahway Municipal Alliance and co-author and Project Director for the City’s Drug Free Communities Grant. Prior to my job in Rahway, I served as Coordinator of the Brick Municipal Alliance for six years, before being promoted to Superintendent of Recreation.
Do you currently receive any public salary compensation? If so, from what public agency?
Yes, from my full-time position with the City of Rahway only. I do not accept any compensation whatsoever for my Council service in Brick.
Have you ever previously held an elected office in Brick or elsewhere?
I am currently serving on the Brick Township Council as a first-time elected official.
If elected or re-elected to council, will you choose to receive taxpayer-funded health benefits from your elected position? Why or why not?
No, I will not. My job pays me adequately and provides access to health care coverage for myself and my family.
For the better part of the last decade, one of the top questions on the minds of Brick Township residents has been the redevelopment of the former Foodtown site on Route 70. How would you like to see the site redeveloped – commercial, residential Should future proposals set aside space for public to access Forge Pond?
I am in favor of setting aside space for public access to Forge Pond. One of the great benefits of living in Brick is the opportunity to enjoy outdoor water activities, like swimming, fishing and boating. I would like to see a kayak and canoe launch area next to Forge Pond so that our residents can always have access to the waterways.
Regarding the overall development of the Foodtown property, I was proud to have voted against residential development on that site. As part of the Township Council, I voted for the zoning ordinance earlier this year to ban all residential development on the site. I also supported the termination of the contract with the redeveloper who wanted to put 192 condos on the site, which the prior administration signed. We do not need more condos in the middle of our town.
As a Parks and Recreation professional, while there is nothing more I’d like to see at the Foodtown site than a long over-due community center for Brick residents, I am well acquainted with the costs to build and operate a community recreation facility. And while Traders Cover Marina and Park is a lovely site, the $22 million dollar price tag will be carried by the Brick taxpayers for decades to come. For that reason, I cannot in all good conscience saddle Brick residents with another massive debt.
By getting residential development off the table, we can now explore options with independent companies to develop the site for broad use by the community that will get all or part of the parcel back on the tax rolls while preserving the integrity and natural beauty of the land.
The concept of perceived “overdevelopment” in Brick has generated a great deal of concern by township residents in recent years, especially given the construction of hundreds of new residential housing units that is currently underway. How should Brick Township manage what land remains undeveloped, and what zoning and land use limitations – if any – should be put on continued residential development in town?
Traffic and overdevelopment have been a problem in Brick for years. The problem was compounded by the last administration when they installed “red light cameras,” which they said were for safety, but turned out to be another tax on our residents. I applaud Mayor Ducey for keeping his word and eliminating them right after his election. They will not come back as long as the Township Council supports Mayor Ducey and his policies.
As part of the Township Council, I am proud to have taken clear steps to limit residential development. I have already mentioned that we blocked the construction of 192 condos on the Foodtown site, which would have been a disaster in the middle of our town. We also changed the zoning ordinances to essentially eliminate the construction of new schools in our town. Some of our neighboring towns have approved large numbers of new schools, which have been accompanied by runaway development of condos, apartments and multi-family housing. We don’t need that in Brick and I will continue to oppose it.
We recognize that state policies and judicial decisions have accounted for a significant share of New Jersey residents’ highest-in-the-nation property tax burden, but local policies often have the most direct – and immediate – effect on tax bills. Please share any specific policies you favor through which the cost of municipal government would be reduced or revenue could be generated to offset the property tax burden. Should the township’s workforce be increased or reduced in certain departments or divisions, with the aim of saving money by either bringing services in-house or, conversely, looking to the private sector?
There are two elements to sound fiscal management – controlling spending and keeping up with infrastructure improvements. Elimination of no-show patronage jobs and a strong anti-nepotism policy are a good first step toward controlling costs. And while we still need to pave roads, replace aging equipment such as garbage trucks and snow plows, borrowed money is not free money, so a debt reduction plan that places a hard cap on all new borrowing is also essential. This Council has done both of those things, saving the taxpayers close to a million dollars per year in salaries and benefits and a net reduction in the Township debt of almost $8 million in the last two years.
Sustaining the ratable base by attracting new businesses to Brick with innovative initiatives like the Storefront Revitalization Program and then supporting the businesses with a loyalty program like Buy in Brick, benefits the taxpayers in multiple ways. Also, because local government cannot generate revenue in the way private industry can, we are using every tool at our disposal – technology, green initiatives, recycling and resource recovery to name a few – to provide as much relief as possible.
Finally, discretionary spending has been curtailed and replaced with a culture of leveraging existing resources as well as aggressively seeking grants and creative, renewable funding streams to support quality of life initiatives.
The result – we have stabilized municipal taxes for the first time in many years. I know that we were able to accomplish these cost savings measures because a majority of the Council has worked with Mayor Ducey on his initiatives. I hope that the residents of Brick will continue to keep the town going in this direction and avoid the political squabbling that we have seen in the past.