ENGLISHTOWN, NJ - Two seats are up for grabs on the Englishtown Borough Council in 2020, according to the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office. Republicans Cindy Robilotti and Eric Mann are running for reelection while Democrat newcomers Arun Swami and Steven M. Bloom are seeking to challenge the incumbents.
Swami is a 15-year Monmouth County resident who moved to Englishtown in 2019. “I strongly believe in giving back to my community in Englishtown, where I plan to spend the rest of my life,” Swami tells Patch.
Swami is a sales manager and a father of two students at Manalapan-Englishtown Public Schools. His wife of 16 years, Subashini Swami, works in the healthcare industry. The Englishtown Borough Council candidate holds an MBA Marketing and a master’s degree in International Business from Seton Hall University.
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Why are you seeking elective office?
My education and professional background qualifies me to think globally and act locally. One party having control of the Town Council (for the last 20+ years) does not provide for an open discussion of ideas. I seek to provide a different point of view to further the interests of all the residents of our town.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking
Most of the fellow residents I spoke to have not heard from their council members of the actions taken especially during these tough times. When elected I will strive to increase transparency and make sure the residents will view borough council as a source to improve their quality of life and not just as a place to where their tax dollars go.
If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)?
Firstly, I appreciate all members of the council for what they have contributed to our community. This council is represented by a single party for the past 20 years which has resulted in lack of fresh ideas. I think it is time for a change and new voice and ideas. The main areas I think needs improvement are:
1. Small Business Programs for recovery and survival during these tough times.
2. Enhance Sanford Park and town pond - We need to work on popularizing and maintaining our parks, lake to promote local attraction.
3. Enhanced communication platform for residents.
Lack of Communication between Borough and residents:
As a resident of this community I hear from my fellow residents that they are not aware of the actions taken by the council members during the pandemic. I hope to change that by designing a standard operating procedure and develop a communication platform to reach out to our residents during hours of need and leverage on this platform to enhance two way communication between residents and elected officials.
Small Business Closure:
We have seen small business suffer and unable to operate during the current Pandemic and we need strong leadership to assist them. I bring 15 years of business development experience to the table. I deal with small business in my daily professional life and understand the challenges. My number one goal is to support small business and create programs to promote local business in Englishtown.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform?
Enhance Englishtown residents’ representation: One party having complete control of the Town Council (for the last 20+ years) does not provide for an open discussion of ideas. Evidence is furthered by decision not to publish or record meetings online or on TV for last 10 years (restarted only in light of COVID-19 meeting attendance restrictions). We seek to provide a different point of view to further the interests of ALL the residents of our town.
Town Identity: Improve downtown business district (clearing all red tape for small businesses to operate). Provide open lines of communication with businesses to allow them to thrive. Demand improved services provided by our utility providers at all times (leveraging our franchise agreements when applicable). Voice traffic concerns with County and Police Department to ensure traffic bottlenecks are managed throughout the year.
Maximize our tax dollars: 26% of your tax dollars goes to our municipal budget and we need to maximize its impact on your community. Promote increased shared services (where it makes sense), enhance town services around garbage collection and snow removal, showcase our town parks and town events, and ensuring our emergency service squads have the resources they need). Focus on budget impact to each resident not just the tax rate(e.g. Property values increase, so taxes go up even if rate stays same).
• (No) Communication: We must improve town communication leveraging all available forums. Information on impact of COVID-19, natural disasters, traffic, and town events need to be regularly communicated to residents through online portals, text messaging, e-mail, etc. We cannot rely purely on Facebook or the marquee in front of Borough Hall since not everyone uses/visits both.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle
I have worked on various committees during my master's and have a great track record delivering excellent results to businesses I have been associated with.
The best advice ever shared with me was:
“Meaning of community is not just about living in the same geographical area. It is about feeling connected and contributing continuously towards better tomorrow.”
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I am a proud supporter of local small business and traditionally Englishtown is known as a vibrant business community and I will forever stand with them and strive to promote the rich history of our town.
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