ESTELL MANOR — Residents have had to wait months, but the mayor's race ended Tuesday with Independent Conservative Leadership candidate Joe Venezia defeating the incumbent Republican Mayor Stephen J. Teasenfitz.
"I'm very happy for the residents of our town. They won this race, not me," Venezia said.
The Venezia-Teasenfitz race ended in a draw in November, which led to a special election being held Tuesday.
“I believe this was the only race in NJ that ended in a draw, and the longest ongoing election in NJ that ... finally reached the marathon finish line,” he said in a written statement.
Venezia plans to recover $200,500 of PILOT funding that was lost annually over the last four years, as well as obtain any grants available for resurfacing municipal streets.
His biggest goal, he said, is to make Estell Manor the first Pinelands town to achieve the final closing its landfill, the result of an initiative he started more than a decade ago when he first was mayor. In addition, he wants to explore contracting services to save tax money following the lead of Linwood and other towns.
“If other towns are saving money and doing more with less, then so should Estell Manor, which is why the voters elected me,” he said.
Venezia received 337 votes versus Teasenfitz's 334 votes, according to the office of Edward P. McGettigan, Atlantic County clerk. Absentee ballots and provisional ballots both went to Venezia, 49 to 32 and 5 to 1, respectively.