Fair Haven Council Selects New Mayor
FAIR HAVEN — The Borough Council elected Benjamin Lucarelli Monday night from three nominees submitted by the local Republican committee to replace Michael Halfacre as mayor.
The council voted unanimously after Council President Jonathan Peters took himself out of the running because of professional commitments. Councilman Robert K. Marchese nominated Lucarelli.
Peters, a professor of finance at the College of Staten Island who studies toll agency financing, said that his professional life would prevent him from making time for some of the ceremonial functions that require the mayor’s presence.
“I was satisfied and felt good about the fact that we have someone who can devote the time that the people of Fair Haven desire,” Peters said of Lucarelli’s nomination. “If we didn’t have a good candidate, I would have come forward.”
Lucarelli’s wife, Francoise, and his son Enzo held the Bible as he was sworn in. Lucarelli was elected to the council in 2009 and is completing his first term. He would have to run for the full term as mayor later this year.
“We discussed it beforehand on the council level,” Lucarelli said of Peters’ decision not to be considered. “His career as a professor and lecturer has been popular as of late.”
Lucarelli said his agenda is to continue the fiscal responsibility of the Halfacre administration, which included stable and reduced municipal tax rates.
“The biggest challenge will be to maintain the momentum that Mike Halfacre and Jon Peters created,” he said. “Our agenda is to maintain the spending cuts and savings measures.”
Tree ordinance to be reviewed
Lucarelli said the council also will look at some ordinances that need simplification and said the controversial tree ordinance will be one of them. Lucarelli said he would like to enlist arborists to look at the strengths and deficiencies of the current ordinance with an eye to preventing wholesale clear-cutting but to make it easier for a resident to remove a fallen or diseased tree.
The stalled purchase of beachfront land for a passive park at the end of DeNormandie Avenue also will continue pending the resolution of title issues on the property, he said.
“It’s not a lost cause, and I don’t want it to be a lost cause,” Lucarelli said. “Our master plan, the states and the counties all urge (riverfront) towns to acquire waterfront property, and we should.”
The Republican municipal committee had submitted the names of three mayoral candidates to the council — Peters, Lucarelli and Andrew Troccha, a former GOP committee chairman — to replace Halfacre, who resigned on Jan. 26 after he was nominated to head the state Division of Alcohol Beverages by Gov. Chris Christie. Halfacre is currently serving as acting director until his nomination is confirmed by the state Senate.