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Democratic Council Candidates Lay Out Agenda

The candidates for Moorestown Township Council discuss plans to revitalize Main Street, guide open space spending and court public opinion early and often.

Democratic candidates Greg Newcomer, Brian Sattinger and Mark Hines have plenty of ideas for what they’d like to accomplish if elected to council—a finished town hall, a revitalized Main Street, a township TV channel—but their core message is simple.

Their primary mission, Hines said, is to find out “What does the community want, and really work hard to make sure we understand. So if I walk down the street and I said, ‘What do you expect out of Moorestown?,’ and you walk down and talk to another person and ask, ‘What do you expect out of Moorestown?,’ we’d start really putting it together and synthesize it into a vision.”

The candidates peppered words like “discussion,” “dialogue,” and “consensus” throughout their conversation about their goals and plans as would-be council members. Though strategically attempting to avoid criticism of the current council, the Democrats said they feel as though Moorestown’s elected representatives have been lacking the aforementioned qualities the last few years.

“We’re all motivated because we want to represent the community and work for the citizens, not dictate what’s going to happen to the community,” said Hines, a 17-year resident who went after a council seat in 2008. “And that’s not a set of words; it’s a process we have to live to if elected.”

As such, their very first order of business would be reinstating the “Residents Requests and Presentations” portion of the council agenda to give residents a chance to have their voice heard without making them wait until the end of the meeting or imposing a strict time limit. This practice disappeared from the agenda about a year and a half ago, Hines said, and though it “may seem small … it’s taking away the voice of the citizen.”

Priority number one, they said, is . Township council has said they expect groundbreaking to take place this summer, so it may be a moot point by the time new council members are sworn in in January. But the candidates believe there hasn’t been enough public participation in the discussion surrounding the project, which is why they say they’re not sure exactly where it currently stands.

“The town hall resolution is not yet clear,” said Newcomer. “If we decide to build a building and have a court over here and a police over here, we’ve removed ourselves from the town center idea. Is that something we want to do without a discussion?”

Besides their spirit of inclusiveness, Newcomer believes the Dems are fielding a strong ticket because they each bring unique strengths to the table.

Sattinger, who’s spent his whole career in finance and is currently CFO at a financial investment advisory firm, is the numbers guy. Hines, a research and development manager for a specialty chemical company, is adept at management and research. And Newcomer, a 27-year resident with experience serving on multiple township committees and boards (and a past Citizen of the Year), said he’s “pretty knowledgeable about many sides of the way things work in town.”

The candidates didn’t have much to say about —other than that they’re people “of good will”—and shrugged off the notion that party politics plays a role in local government.

“I would hope, Democrats and Republicans, Moorestown comes first,” said Sattinger.

There are plenty of other important issues, besides the town hall complex, facing Moorestown at the moment. Here’s where the Democratic candidates stand on some of them:

Economic development

Economic development would, of course, also be a primary focus, the candidates said, and they’d seek creative strategies to , as well as the other retail districts in town (Young Avenue, Lenola Road, the mall).

Hines outlined a strategy, which would include reinvesting into hiring a Main Street/downtown manager to take care of marketing and development of the business community.

Newcomer said this would be “done through creative funding, not an impact on the taxpayer,” possibly involving contributions from local businesses.

He also said he’d like to create a brochure to attract tenants for the industrial buildings in town.

“If we had more of those industrial users, we might increase the tax base,” Newcomer said. “There’d be more people coming into town, more people working. It would be something that would be of real value to us.”

Open space

Hines, who with his wife, Elizabeth Endres, acknowledged the current will likely be a non-issue come election time, but the candidates said the ongoing discussion of how to spend the Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund will continue to be an issue.

“What it comes down to (is), how does the community want that money spent?” Hines said. “And if recreation’s part of it and part of the community wants that, that’s something to consider … So far I’m not seeing the sentiment for (that).”

to restrict spending from the trust fund, but to no avail.

The three candidates, who are all personally opposed to using money from the trust fund for active recreation, said they’d be open to a referendum “if we couldn’t get the community’s viewpoint any other way,” said Sattinger. “I would hope we could find a consensus without that. It doesn’t seem like we’ve been able to.”

Other projects

Sattinger said he’d like to resurrect the idea of a Moorestown television channel to air informative programming for residents. The township, school board and any group or nonprofit could secure airtime, he said.

The concept gained some traction when Sattinger served on the township telecommunications and technology committee, he said—with Comcast even providing a $50,000 or $75,000 contribution for the initial capital cost—but ultimately went nowhere.

Sattinger said he’d push for a township channel if elected “so we can communicate amongst ourselves through the medium we all have the most access to.”

Hines would like to boost Main Street’s aesthetic appeal—without using tax dollars—by bringing back flowers and the addition of the .

Newcomer said he’d like the township to take a more forward-thinking approach to a number of elements of its infrastructure—primarily buildings, transportation, energy and information technology—and mentioned the addition of electronic vehicle charging stations (for township vehicles) as one example.

“If we have (the stations) wherever township vehicles are, we’re going to be on the edge of making ourselves more sustainable and affordable,” he said. “There are really important areas we haven’t focused on because we’re on these (other) problems. We need to look forward.”

John K May 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM
It's nice to hear about candidates running for Council who have ideas that make sense, who would bring valuable skills and experience to the job, and who sound like they want to provide leadership to Moorestown government in a way that encourages and responds to community input.
Cup of Joe May 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Interesting how a liberal minded response makes it sound so peachy eh?
L Raines May 11, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Wow! What a breath of fresh air! I think its great that they are committed to listening to the residents.
Chris Welch May 11, 2012 at 01:26 PM
“What it comes down to (is), how does the community want that money spent?” Hines said. “And if recreation’s part of it and part of the community wants that, that’s something to consider … So far I’m not seeing the sentiment for (that).” He hasn't seen any sentiment from people in town that they want money from the fund spent on recreation? Does he read this blog ? So much for listening to what Moorestown residents want,.
Townie May 11, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Who cares who wins the election since everything will be started or done by January? They were against KIDS, but will do it if it'll get them elected (sorry...if that's what people want). They want to use liquor license money to promote private enterprise through a manager and advertising for corporate space. It's a nice idea, but tell us how you're going to measure and report the value to us. With spending come accountability (at least it should)...let's see proof it worked, or learn from our mistake and move on with additional insight. Tell us how you measure success before spending the money. Thanksgiving can't get here fast enough.
Tax Playa May 11, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Hilarious. $1.1 MM pledged by the residents for Recreation and "There is no sentiment?" What does Hines think about eliminating the rec department and funding the fields with the savings from that? How about listening to the residents? 1. No town hall- complete waste of $27MM for what 40 people? 2. Rec fields- Fix them and maintain them- eliminate the wasteful overhead of the recreation department and invest it in fixed assets that we all can use. "We will listen to the people" - what a cop out- What is your platform and what do you stand for so we can make a decision? Response?
fyathyrio May 11, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Playa, How much is the town mahal goin to cost me and my parents in new taxes?
Cup of Joe May 11, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Does anyone have a long term plan for our fields and parks ? The kids initiative is a start but not a long term plan just a sort term plan. Even if the entire plan went through in 2012, are we doing this all over again in 2018?
HD May 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM
I am agree with plan to attract tenants for our business parks. This could create more jobs for our residents and bring new customers for our local small business and help our tax base. As for accountability a lot of this can be tracked and measured. Besides it must be done to grow the business community. I believe the democratic candidates are committed and have the know how and the drive to make it happen for our town!!
Wifi May 12, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Yawn yawn by the dem candidates. Two of them ran before and seem to have the same boring message. Safe bet to vote republican!
The Newcomer Sattinger Hines Team November 06, 2012 at 10:42 AM
To the citizens of Moorestown - our closing argument: Dear Fellow Moorestown citizen: On Tuesday, we will be going to the polls to participate in important elections, locally and nationally. We ask that you give us serious consideration in your vote for Moorestown Council. We have learned from our experiences in Moorestown is that resident’s expectations of their elected officials are rather simple. They want their elected officials to work hard, with honesty and integrity. Foremost, they want leaders to be fiscally responsible with their hard earned tax dollars and to drive for results. Each of us is a long-time resident of Moorestown, and each of us has served on township advisory committees and/or township boards. We have all coached youth sports, are family men, and are active in our houses of worship. Our list of activities that we have participated in is extensive, and it continues with our spouses and families. Greg brings considerable experience in Moorestown organizations, and construction and facilities management experience. Brian is a financial professional and will bring considerable financial acumen to the council. Mark is a scientist, works as a R&D manager, and will bring analytical and problem-solving skills and managerial skills to council. We all have accomplishments and achievements in Moorestown organizations, working with others in the community to deliver results and to contribute to the well-being of Moorestown.
The Newcomer Sattinger Hines Team November 06, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Moorestown has had issues in the past few years, and each of us is running to make a difference, to effect the needed change. We have a town hall project that has been mismanaged, costing taxpayers millions of dollars in the process. We have had strong-handed efforts to deplete the Open Space fund. We fought that, and helped to bring the township to fund the athletic fields project by appropriate funding. We will bring a balance to the Moorestown council and work to do what is best for the community, not our political party.
The Newcomer Sattinger Hines Team November 06, 2012 at 10:43 AM
What we will do: 1. Complete the town hall project, in a fiscally responsible manner. 2. Protect the Open Space fund. 3. Make needed investments in recreational facilities. 4. Restore the citizens’ voice to Moorestown government. 5. Act in creating economic development for Moorestown. 6. Represent all neighborhoods in Moorestown. As we have walked the neighborhoods of Moorestown, and talked to countless residents, we know that there is a desire to do better in Moorestown. We are challenging the status quo, and will focus on restoring the citizens’ voice, and driving for results. On November 6, we ask for your vote. We will serve you, not our party, nor other interests. Greg Newcomer, Brian Sattinger, and Mark Hines

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