With many decades as a business owner and public servant under his belt, Lakewood Township Committeeman Mike D’Elia has been around the block. He is as skeptical as anyone when a candidate for public office offers pie-in-the-sky promises. Which is why he works mightily hard to avoid them.
“Am I going to promise to reduce municipal taxes? No,” Committeeman D’Elia says matter of factly. “But I can tell you what I have actually done and will continue to do.”
One of Committeeman D’Elia’s proudest accomplishments since being elected to his seat in 2014 is the fact that the municipal portion of the property tax rate for Lakewood residents has remained completely flat since he was elected. This is no simple feat, and took a significant concerted effort on the part of Mr. D’Elia and his fellow Township Committeemen. Municipal services such as trash collection, snow plowing, policing, and more, improved, while costs were fully contained.
Not only were taxes not raised, but the Township has a respectable annual budget surplus. Politicians typically love to squander any “extra” taxpayer dollar, but Mike D’Elia has a different philosophy: thinking ahead.
Committeeman D’Elia points to the surroundings of his modest, cozy home near Lake Carasaljo. This is the home in which he was raised in by his parents, and the one in which he raised his two children. A successful business owner – co-founder of D’Elia Funeral Home on Route 70 – Mike could technically afford larger, newer quarters. However, he prefers the knowledge that he and his children have long term financial security for everyday life and the proverbial “rainy day.”
This is the philosophy that Mike is glad to adopt in his work in government. Could Lakewood forfeit the surplus and give taxpayers a modest cut in the municipal tax rate?
Perhaps, but any such cut is likely to be very short-lived. Mike D’Elia believes that the most prudent path on behalf of taxpayers is not to cut now, so as to ensure that taxes won’t need to be raised later – even if there is a crisis or other necessary spike in Township expenses. That is why maintaining respectable budget surplus reserves makes sense.
With Primary Election Day upon us (Tuesday, June 6th), Mike D’Elia and his running mate on the Republican ballot, Mike Berman, are asking Lakewood voters to show up at the polls and give them their vote. “I promise that we will do the best we can and continue accomplishing on behalf of Lakewood,” Mr. D’Elia says.
(D’Elia has been endorsed by the Republican Club, as well as by the Vaad.)