Boyne and Fried

Mayor Dave Fried, an 8-year incumbent, faces a challenge from councilman David Boyne for a new 4-year term as the chief executive of Robbinsville Township government.

The Robbinsville Advance asked both candidates to analyze the state of the township, and explain why he thinks he’d be the best person to lead the township forward. Their responses follow:

David Boyne

Years Lived in Robbinsville: 22

Previous Office Held: Township council (7 years)

Occupation: CFO/COO

Community groups: former member, Robbinsville Municipal Utilities Authority

What is the state of Robbinsville? Why are you the best person to lead the township?

There are many reasons Robbinsville residents should be proud to live in our town. Robbinsville has great parks and recreation programs, a first-class school system, low crime rate and dedicated township employees who do a fantastic job.

While residents are well aware of our high taxes, the reasons behind these assessments are less known. For example, over the last eight years township spending has increased 96 percent, while our debt has grown from $18 million to over $37 million. The interest on this debt has increased from $639,000 to over $1.3 million; this amount is nearly 10 percent of our tax revenue. The expense of several failed or stalled projects has only added to this debt, including the redevelopment of Gateway South and Town Center South and countless legal suits and judgments. Ultimately, Robbinsville has some serious issues it needs to address, which collectively stem from failed leadership.

Throughout my last eight years of service, I have noticed a tendency of the current mayor to hide mistakes and take credit for the actions of others. I will not do that; my answers to questions will be direct and to the point. For example, look at the mayor’s failed attempt to convert the Mercer Mobile Park to affordable housing. According to the mayor, there were many parties interested in purchasing the park for that purpose. Where are these eager individuals two years later?

The mayor has also boasted about cutting taxes this year. However, taxes were merely increased last year in anticipation of lowering them during the election year. I will never raise taxes for political purposes.

Robbinsville’s challenges are not a result of a revenue problem, but rather a spending problem. I promise to stop the current Mayor’s spending, which includes frivolous legal actions and pet projects that go nowhere.

Dave Fried

Years Lived in Robbinsville: 20

Previous Office Held: Mayor (2006-2013), Robbinsville Township Committeeman

Occupation: CEO, TriCore

Community groups: Robbinsville Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse (R-MAPSA); Youth Little League & Soccer coach

What is the state of Robbinsville? Why are you the best person to lead the township?

The state of our township is strong. Our tax rate is stable and this year we were one of the only towns in New Jersey that has actually been able to lower taxes. At the same time, we have been able to reduce our debt.

Because of our partnership with Amazon we are able to provide more than 1,400 full-time jobs and long-term financing for our budget by generating $22 million in revenue over the next 20 years. We continue to manage our expenses very well and maintain a great relationship with our employees.

I continue to foresee holding the line on taxes in the coming years and paying down our debt without compromising the valuable services that our residents have come to expect. Compared to where we were eight years ago the township is in significantly better shape. We had one of the fastest growing tax rates in Mercer County. Now we have the most stable rates and have dramatically reduced the rate of residential development to take some of the burden off of our schools.

We set out eight years ago to stabilize taxes, limit residential development and preserve as much open space as we can. But we also needed to change the perception of Robbinsville. I firmly believe we have accomplished those goals.

People really need to see whether you can do what you say you are going to do. If you set goals and accomplish them, people should support you. If you don’t, then you should be replaced. I think we have done a very good job of fulfilling our promises. We have a long and proud history of being willing to stand up for our residents even when it has not been politically expedient; and in most of those cases we were told we couldn’t win. Yet, we did.

We can’t win every battle, but we have proven we are willing to fight.