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HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — Mayor John Kurtz, a Republican who is seeking his second three-year term on Township Committee, is facing a challenge from Democrat Dwight Melton in the election Tuesday, Nov. 7.

The Current asked both candidates to provide a biographical profile and answer four questions. The information below was compiled from their responses.

John Kurtz

I was born and raised in Atlantic City and have lived in Atlantic County my entire life. I served in the Army Air Defense Command and trained at Fort Dix, Fort Bliss Texas, then stationed at Homestead Air Force base Florida.

I attended the Army continued education program and studied business administration. I am married to my wife, Jennie, of 49 years, and have two grown children, Brion and Lisa, and five grandchildren, all living and attending school in Mays Landing.

It has been my pleasure to serve the Township of Hamilton for the past 15 years, 12 years on the Planning Board and three years on Township Committee.

I founded the Mays Landing Merchants Association and have been a member of Rotary for 34 years. My wife and I have owned and operated County Seat Florist in Mays Landing for 17 years.

What do you see as the biggest issue(s) facing the township over the next three years?

Maintaining a level municipal tax rate, paying down debt while continuing to provide the best police, fire and ambulance services in the county.

Exempt land vs. taxable land: With the New Jersey DEP's pending purchase of more than 3,000 acres this year, Hamilton Township is quickly approaching a point where it will have more exempt property then it has property paying taxes.

Expanding our code enforcement office to handle the current and ever-growing needs of our township.

How do you propose to balance the ever-present demand for services and steadily increasing costs with the need to stay within the 2 percent cap and keep tax increases under control?

Working to sell more land in our underdeveloped industrial park, focusing on responsible management and budget control, and by not spending our budget surplus down to zero.

What do you feel should take priority regarding commercial and residential development in the township?

A good combination of both is necessary; however, continuing to encourage the many shovel-ready projects that already have Planning Board approval to begin their work.

What do you see as priorities in public safety, i.e., police, fire and rescue?

Always providing them with the equipment, training and support to carry out the great work that they do.

Dwight Melton

I am 59 years old. I was born in Atlantic City hospital but am from Mizpah, where Uncle Dewey’s barbecue is today. I am a graduate of the Oakcrest High School class of '76. I attended what is now Atlantic Cape Community College as well as the Community College of the Air Force. I graduated from USAF Basic Training in 1979 as well as USAF Security Police Technical School in 1979. I attended Security Police Supervisor School, Leadership School, Non-Commissioned Officers Academy, Financial Management School, graduated First Sergeants Academy, graduated from Senior NCO Academy.

I am retired from active duty in the 177th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard. I work for the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District as a substitute teacher and part time for Integrity Transportation. I’ve been involved in the community for over 25 years.

I am the senior pastor of New Harvest Christian Fellowship Church. I have been involved in PAL, I coach girls basketball, I belong to the FOP Fraternal Order of Police, and am on the board of directors at the Alfred Lundy Community Center and the Home Safe Together Committee. I am married to a wonderful woman who is on the Hamilton Township Board of Education, Kim D. Melton, and we have five children. 

What do you see as the biggest issue(s) facing the township over the next three years?

Of course, the biggest issue is taxes and even more so that the county wants to become involved in assessing our taxes. School taxes, which take up a large amount of our taxes, we need to work in conjunction with the school boards to see how we can help in this area. We need to be proactive in developing a program to deal with the high foreclosure rate in our community.

How do you propose to balance the ever-present demand for services, and steadily increasing costs with the need to stay within the 2 percent cap and keep tax increases under control?

First to render services that we are taxed for. Secondly by effectively managing funds that we are responsible for to avoid wasteful spending. Also look for other resources to provide services to all of Hamilton twp.

What do you feel should take priority regarding commercial and residential development in the township?

I feel they have the same priority depending on the situation. We need commercial development to help with ratables to attempt to keep taxes down. But as far as residential development, we first need to take care of all the vacant housing we have within the township.

What do you see as priorities in public safety, i.e., police, fire and rescue?

Our priority is to give our emergency service personnel the equipment needed to accomplish the duties necessary in keeping them and the township safe as well as being able to do the job effectively.

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