Mayoral Candidate Taylor Brings Farm Experience to Chamber Meeting
First of three events to introduce November field
The meeting was held at The Cabin and before the day started Taylor shared a salad made with vegetables straight from her farm. She also gave each member in attendance what she called "seeds of change," which was a packet of sunflower seeds for them to plant in their own garden.
After starting her professional life in embroidery and silk screening, Taylor said she turned her attention to farming while still keeping an eye on the business world. "I've always been an entrepreneur," she said. "I've always thought about business and how to survive in this economy. That's what being in business is about for people and we want to thrive."
As part of her presentation on Wednesday Taylor provided ideas about what she would like to see done to increase business in the town. She said she would support a website that would provide residents with a listing of businesses of all sizes in Howell. "Give them that opportunity and then get the word out to the community at large that they need to shop local and that they can find whatever they need and want on that website," she said.
Taylor said she hoped that website would in some way link back to the Chamber's website. "I think it would be good because there are tumultuous times coming I feel and we're in them right now," she said.
She also said she would like something similar to the recent Grow Monmouth program held on the local level as well as for the county. "If we could do something like that in Howell where everybody that makes something gathers it would encourage the business people to come out and share what they're doing," she said. "We have to get behind all the business people to let everybody know who we are and what we have to offer. That will get business growing from within."
One topic of conversation at the meeting was sewers in the township. Chamber President Corey Wingerter asked Taylor what her stand was as far as development. In response Taylor said, "It's time."
Even though she said she is wary of the dangers of development, Taylor said it is an important issue for the township. "I think we have enough houses, but we do need a little more commerce and we need to develop certain areas of Howell," she added. "We need to have a little bit of structure so it doesn't go haywire."
Wingerter, who owns the Chapter House in town said the addition of what he called "white collar" businesses would benefit the restaurants with the new employees having somewhere to go for lunch. "A lot of the office complexes are closing down, but we just need to attract somehow in this economy more white collar industries."
Mayor Robert Walsh, who attended this meeting and is not running for another term said spots like Route 33 would be the perfect location for medical facilities. "Jersey Shore, Monmouth Medical and CentraState would compete for clientele," he said. "But without water, it's not happening."
The Mayor also said that while water and sewer on Route 9 and Route 33 is a good idea, it is not a simple one to implement. "The flip side is everyone wants water, but I haven't heard anybody say they want to pay for it," he said. "It's going to cost a lot of money."
Saying that water and sewer service are needed "for the viability of commerce in Howell Township in the long run," Walsh added, "The rubber's going to meet the road like it met the road the last time sewers got put down in southern Howell." At that time he said there was support for the program until residents got the bills for how much the project was going to cost them. They wanted the value of the property to go up because the water and the sewers were there now, but they didn't want to pay their fair share."
Taylor was one of the residents to speak at a recent meeting after many residents saw their taxes increase in the township. She was asked what steps she would take to see the tax rate drop and help the residents. Taylor said she believed it was important for the township to work with the school district and find more avenues for shared services among other steps. "I really would prefer having a moratorium on spending for a while," she added. "Keep it at a bare bones minimum."
Councilman Robert Nicastro was also at Wednesday's meeting and said he was glad to see people like Taylor get involved. "It's always commendable when people want to step up and serve their community," he said. "I just want to say thank you because a lot of people don't want to step up and serve the community. A lot of people want to step up and complain and not be involved."
Taylor said after the meeting it was a good experience as her campaign continues to take shape. "It feels really good to share all of these ideas," she said.
George Krebs, who serves as the chairman of the Chamber's Business Development Committee said events like the one on Wednesday are important for residents and members of the business community. "Rather than wait until after the fact and say I wish I knew more about that person we decided to have them in ahead of time so we can learn a little more about them and cast an informed vote," he said.
Krebs added that the events are not being held with the goal of finding a candidate for the chamber or the committee to back for November. "We're here to familiarize ourselves with them and get them more familiar with us," he added."