Editor's Note: Each of the eight candidates running for a seat on the township council responded to a questionnaire sent by Brick Patch. Their answers to our questions will be published on our site verbatim. Two candidate profiles per day – one Republican and one Democrat – in alphabetical order according to last name, will appear this week until all have been published. 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: James "Jim" Fozman
Current Age: 57
Highest level of education achieved (feel free to list your high school, college, and the nature of any degrees you have earned):
I graduated from Franklin Township High School in 1972. I am constantly attending seminars and furthering my education on my trade.
Occupation: For the last 15 years, I have owned and operated Tradewinds Heating, Cooling & Refrigeration, LLC/Tradewinds Heating & Cooling, in Brick, which serves both residential and commercial clients
Do you currently receive any public salary compensation? If so, from what public agency?
Have you ever previously held an elected office in Brick or elsewhere?
No I have not.
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 to Brick Council, I will not take taxpayer funded medical benefits. I have a private medical plan through my company and I am trying to save Brick taxpayers money, not spend it.
Like those in most New Jersey communities, property taxes are, perhaps, the primary concern of most township residents in this election cycle. Regardless of the impact of state policies on our property tax bills, summarize some specific ideas you have to stabilize or reduce the property tax burden for Brick residents.
My running mates and I will work to turn around the fiscal disaster that the Acropolis/DeLuca team has dumped on our town, which resulted in the 24% increase in municipal property taxes in the past year. The Republicans oppose our plan, but if all four of us are elected, we will be able to implement it despite their opposition. We will begin, on day one, to put in place our 6-point plan to address property taxes, which consists of these action items:
- Eliminate unnecessary political jobs.
- Eliminate overpriced no-bid contracts to campaign contributors.
- Eliminate Cadillac benefits for MUA appointees.
- Implement a plan for regular maintenance of our roads and infrastructure.
- Conduct an operational audit to identify more cost savings.
- No more full-time pay for part-time work.
For me, the most outrageous abuse is the full-time pay being collected by our elected officials for part-time work. Mayor Acropolis takes a $56,000 salary for his full-time job as mayor, and another $94,000 salary for his second, full-time job as executive director of the Toms River MUA. Half of the members on the current Township Council also collect a second public paycheck. If we are elected to Council, we will demand that Acropolis either quit his second full-time appointment at the Toms River MUA or we will cut his pay as mayor to an amount that is appropriate for a part-time position. I feel it’s about time we as taxpayers and residents get a fair shake in Brick. Our team of Ducey, Lydecker, Fozman and Moore looks forward to implementing our property tax plan when we take office in January.
Though it held relatively stable in the recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, crime in Brick has been trending upward in recent years. Compounding matters, our police department, due to budgetary constraints, also recently had to disband its Selective Enforcement Team (SET Team), a specialized anti-crime unit. Please describe your plan, including specifics, to maintain and promote public safety in Brick.
One of the biggest criminal problems now is the influx of con artists who prey on our senior’s by way of the internet, mailing scams and telephone scams. The senior citizens in Ocean County (inclusive of Brick Twp) have had millions of dollars stolen by these scammers. The Ocean County Prosecutor has set up a Senior Scam Task Force that provides seminars and presentations on ways to prevent and avoid these scams, at no cost to our taxpayers. I will take the lead in coordinating those seminars. I believe that a direct approach like that, with a focus on awareness, education and prevention of fraud, would reap great benefits and would help keep our community, especially our seniors, safe and secure.
Please describe your vision for the former Foodtown site on Route 70, and how you would favor executing that vision and bringing it to fruition.
As a small business owner, I believe that commercial properties, and the businesses run on those sites, belong in the private sector, where they can be properly run, and generate clean property tax revenue. Our government officials should not be real estate developers. Mayor Acropolis and the Township Council have taken the town in the wrong direction by keeping the Foodtown site and by trying to buy other commercial properties with our tax dollars, like the Ocean Ice Palace. My vision is to return the Foodtown site to the private sector and manage its development through proper zoning regulations and building and traffic codes. We should also reserve a portion of the site for a community/senior center for all of our residents. All development on the site must be guided by our master plan, which our team will work together to achieve.
Brick has more frontage on Barnegat Bay that any other community in Ocean County. In all, it boasts 53 miles of waterfront. Keeping in mind that many of these waterfront lands are privately owned, what is your plan to promote public access to natural areas and maintain other recreational facilities for Brick residents?
All residents of Brick are entitled to enjoy our waterways. Having enjoyed navigating our beautiful Rivers, Barnegat Bay, Inlets, Canals, Creeks, and Intracoastal waterways with my family for years, I have educated myself about the storm-water and fertilizer pollution which have been identified as the main source of the nitrogen and phosphorous compounds, causing the continuous algae growth invading our waterways. I intend to work with our team to address this issue. I am opposed, however, to the township spending more than $8 million of our money to own and operate a marina, which Mayor Acropolis and the Township Council have done on the old Traders Cove site. We should leave private businesses, like a marina and bait shop, to the private sector. Access to our natural resources and waterways is important, but spending millions of our taxpayer dollars so that the mayor can hire people to manage a dock is just plain wrong. If this administration had adopted proper zoning and planning regulations, we could have managed the development on that site in a way that would have assured access and an environmentally friendly use, but would not have cost our taxpayers millions of dollars. These kinds of decisions have resulted in the 24% tax increase this past year. Our team of Ducey, Lydecker, Fozman and Moore will change the direction of our town.