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: Lisa Crate
Current Age: 44
I have both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Education from Georgian Court University as well as 30 additional graduate credits for supervisory and media related certifications. My husband Will and I both grew up in Ocean County and have lived here our entire lives. I moved to Brick in 1995 shortly after my graduation from college. Will is a motor broom operator with the public works department in Point Pleasant Beach where he’s been employed since 1995. We have two children, William 10 and Colleen 9. They both attend school at Midstreams Elementary.
I have been a teacher with the Jackson Township School District since 1993 where I have taught at both the elementary and middle school levels. I received Teacher of the Year honors in both the year 2000 and 2015 when I was named Educational Services Professional of the Year for the Jackson School District. I work closely with the Legislative Action Team of the Ocean County Council of Educators’ Association and serve as the Professional Development Liaison for Ocean County with the NJEA. These positions have offered me the opportunity to work closely with not only teachers and administrators, but the public as well.
Do you currently receive any public salary compensation? If so, from what public agency?
Yes, from the Jackson Township School District where I work as a teacher.
Have you ever previously held an elected office in Brick or elsewhere?
Although I have not held public office before, I feel that the experience and knowledge I’ve garnered throughout my career offers me a chance to truly be a voice for the people.
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 already have health benefits.
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?
My husband and I are raising our children in Brick, and I would like to see greater recreational opportunities for the kids. In my view, Foodtown is the perfect site for a recreation center that could be used by children, families and seniors. I support Mayor Ducey’s vision to have any recreation at the site to be developed, managed and operated by the private sector, without the use of public funds. We have already spent too much public money on real estate ventures, and we certainly don’t need another boondoggle like Trader’s Cove, where the Acropolis administration spent $22 million of our taxpayer money. The Foodtown site needs to be put back on the tax rolls, but any use must be beneficial to our taxpayers and residents. We absolutely do not need any more residential development in the middle of our town. I would never support any condos or apartments on the site. I also like the idea of setting aside space for public access to Forge Pond, which is another underappreciated treasure in our town.
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?
The real problem in Brick is construction of new apartments and condo complexes. Our traffic is bad enough already. I have found that all of the current construction was approved years ago, either by the municipal government or forced on us by the State. I was pleased to see the efforts taken by the current Township Council to limit and prevent new developments in town, from blocking the condo development at the Foodtown site to changing the zoning to prevent new school construction. I was also glad to see that Mayor Ducey has authorized the filing of a lawsuit to prevent any affordable housing developments in our town. I will support that direction when elected to Council. I will look for new tools to stop development, and I am looking forward to joining a Mayor and Council that already has the same mindset.
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?
One of the primary reasons I decided to run for a seat on the Township Council was because I wanted to keep Brick affordable for everyone, including families like mine. Under the previously administration, taxes were out of control. The last four years Mayor Ducey and his team have kept them stable. He has done this by several specific policies, which I support and will continue to support. These include elimination of unneeded, high salary patronage jobs, reducing overtime, curtailing unneeded capital spending and reducing debt and thus reducing interest cost.
I also support our business community- we need to support existing businesses and attract new ones in order to grow our ratables and reduce the burden on the residents of Brick.
I will not support the return of the red light cameras, which my opponent praised for the money they brought in to Brick. The red light cameras are a back door tax that cost the residents of Brick almost two million dollars. Adding new taxes is not the answer to reducing the property tax burden.
My intention is to work with the Council to find more ways to reduce spending and grow ratables so that we can continue to keep our taxes stable and everyone can continue to live, grow, and prosper in Brick.
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?
I support Mayor Ducey’s expansion of the police department from 125 to 132 officers. The police department is always the first line of defense against crime. We need to keep our children, families and seniors safe, first and foremost. I was also glad to see that he reinstated the Gang Task Force, with its specific focus on gangs and drug-related crimes, after it was eliminated under the prior administration.
With 2 children in our school system, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program is especially important to me, as education of our children at an early age is critical. The DARE program is fully funded by the township, and provides for two police officers to be in schools on a full-time basis to educate the students about drug and alcohol issues. I appreciate that the DARE program also lets our children view the police officers as friendly and approachable. The newly installed Lead and Seed program, which was just implemented last year, reinforces the messages of the DARE program, through direct student-led programs. The program is led by students in Brick’s two middle schools who will advocate, promote and participate in various activities designed to combat the misuse of opioids and prescription medications. The students will “lead” their peers and “seed” the message to their schools communities. I hope to continue the progress made by Mayor Ducey and the Township Council on this important aspect of drug awareness, which will ultimately be a critical tool in the fight against the drug. A strong partnership between the schools and the township is an important part of an overall approach to reducing crime, in our high crime neighborhoods as well as elsewhere. Neighborhood watches are another tool we can use to help our neighborhoods fight back against crime, and they should be encouraged.