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: Frank Pannucci Jr.
Current Age: 36
Brick Memorial High School Class of 1998
B.A. in Political Science, Seton Hall University
Master’s Degree in Public Administration M.P.A., Seton Hall University
Current Occupation: Business Administrator, Point Pleasant Borough
Do you currently receive any public salary compensation? If so, from what public agency?
Yes, Point Pleasant Borough.
Have you ever previously held an elected office in Brick or elsewhere?
Yes, I’ve served on the Board of Education since 2013 where we’ve had two straight years of 0% tax increases on our budget.
If elected or re-elected to council, will you choose to receive taxpayer-funded health benefits from your elected position? Why or why not?
If elected, will you choose to receive taxpayer-funded health benefits? No, I will not take health benefits nor will I take a health benefit buy out.
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?
We need to let the private sector return it to our tax rolls. Both political parties have handled this poorly over the last decade using it as a political football for one reason or another.
I would want to sell this as fast as possible at public auction to an entity who will bring a conforming use for the site before our planning board for consideration in accordance with our master plan. The one use I am completely against though is residential of any kind. It needs to be a low impact use, a destination place.
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?
Our Master Plan in town needs to be reviewed. The Democratic majority in town appoints the members of the planning and zoning boards that control what and how a development is built in Brick Township. My team would appoint individuals who understand Brick Township’s needs and what it can handle and not handle. Our township simply rolled over when the age restriction was lifted on developments, specifically the new development being built between Hooper Avenue and Brick Boulevard, a move that will cost us dearly.
Brick Township can not handle any more developments. Additionally, the new hotel proposal near Brick Hospital with proposed residential units will be crammed in between Route 88 West and Jack Martin Boulevard choking the adjacent neighborhoods. I am certain that despite the politics involved, we can locate a suitable hotel to operate and thrive on the Foodtown site, a lower impact use that would benefit the entire community.
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?
While the Democrats have controlled the council the last four years, local property taxes have risen every year. They campaigned against the referendum but then kept the money, stored $10 million in surplus and still raised taxes on top of that. Our opponents say they have cut jobs, but they fail to mention the ones they created in their stead. In contrast, while serving on the Board of Education, we have had two straight years of zero budget increases. In spite of no tax increases for two years in a row, we have still managed to do major capital improvements to our facilities. Local property taxes have risen every year the Democrats have been in control of our Brick Township Council.
One idea to re-invigorate jobs and increase tax revenue is to re-assign (not hire a new person) an existing employee as our Township Economic Director. The sole responsibility of this person would be to attract new businesses by guiding them to empty store fronts in a concerted and orchestrated way. This individual would also serve as a direct liaison to town hall. With guidance from the Township Economic Director, the Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders, potential businesses would stand a better chance of surviving and thriving in their chosen location.
Another way to save tax dollars is shared services. For years the school district, town hall and the utilities authority have operated independently of each other often times duplicating services. As councilmen, my teammates and I would look to better utilize and share resources between the three entities in a cooperative effort, saving tax dollars and man power making simple things like IT services, road improvements and various maintenance issues more efficient for both the entities and citizens.
In 2014, Brick enacted a “Rental Responsibility” ordinance aimed at holding absentee landlords responsible for leasing their properties to tenants who commit crimes. What other specific proposals do you favor to reduce crime in “troubled” rental communities and neighborhoods where crime issues are recognized as being a heightened concern compared to the remainder of the township?
The current administration has had four years to address this. My teammates and I have a plan to address these issues that the Democratic Council has remained silent on, insisting there isn’t a real problem.
- Strengthen our Police Department’s Selective Enforcement team which is still rebuilding from previous budget cuts.
- Partner with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office to leverage resources, technology and manpower.
- Create a “Drug-Free Brick Advisory Commission” to enhance communications and responsiveness between our community, government and police.
- Create police substations in strategic areas of town.
- Continue to supply resources to the DARE program and Lead and Seed Programs, which where expanded into our Middle Schools for the first time this year.