City of Vineland Candidates for Mayor

 

Anthony R. Fanucci (incumbent)

I am a lifelong resident of Vineland, and attended St. Augustine Prep, Cumberland County College, and St. Peter’s University. I own and operate A.R. Fanucci Insurance and A.R. Fanucci Real Estate. I have served as Mayor since 2017, and previously served on City Council, and the Board of Education.

I volunteer as a mentor, support local athletics through sponsorship and coaching, and am a committed parishioner at St. Padre Pio. My wife Stacey and I have three beautiful children, Vincenzo, Giavanna, and Adrianna.

In your opinion, what are the three biggest issues facing Vineland/Cumberland County?

In our current operating environment, everything revolves around effectively managing the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the dedicated individuals who work in city government, and I am proud we have been able to maintain critical city services without interruption. Importantly, this has allowed us to proceed with planned economic development projects, which will bring hundreds of new jobs and tax rateables to the city.

Many New Jersey municipalities are facing budget shortfalls and layoffs, but because of reforms we instituted when taking office, Vineland’s financial condition is solid. As a result, we have been able to proceed with critical road and water infrastructure projects, upgrading public facilities, and supporting our first responders with the tools they need to keep residents safe.

As COVID-19 challenged Vineland’s small businesses, my administration deployed available resources to support their needs. However, it requires the federal and state government to take the lead in providing large-scale relief. Fortunately, the working relationships we have built and the personal contacts we have developed with all levels of government put Vineland in a good position to get our share. This advantage only comes with experience on-the-job.

How do you plan to address these issues?

If re-elected, I will continue the successful policies that have moved Vineland forward over the past four years based around three overarching strategies: Job growth and development; infrastructure improvements; and beautification, sustainability, and citizen engagement.

It is a pleasure to work with a council that is committed to a shared vision of how municipal operations can operate better for everyone. Working Together – We have engaged with the community to address issues which have been ignored in the past, break-down barriers, and allow Vineland to aggressively move forward. We have helped to make city government more responsive, efficient, open, and fair, while providing solid stewardship of taxpayer dollars. We have developed regional partnerships and focused on ways to make ideas possible, rather than to find reasons to say they are not.

Four years ago, I suggested “The only way to know what kind of leader a person will be is by looking at who they have been, what they have done, and how they have done it.” By practicing a governing philosophy rooted in respect, accountability, and teamwork, we have proven much could be accomplished. I hope you will again examine these factors as you make your decision this year.

Please provide a closing statement:

The next Mayor will face difficult challenges, and maintaining the current momentum will not be easy. I am proud of my Council running mates, and the team we have brought to city hall. Re-elect Team Fanucci because now, more than ever, continuity in leadership is critical to navigating the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and emerging on the other side stronger than ever.

 

Jeffrey Riggione

I am a fifth-generation Vinelander. I’m 50 years old and have been married for 24 years. We have two sons, 15 and 20. I am a retired police sergeant for the City of Vineland and continue to work part-time as a civilian for the department. After working for the city for nearly 30 years, I’ve had an opportunity to witness all aspects of its operations. I’ve also had the pleasure to interact with a large sector of our community and believe I have an understanding of what’s important to them and what they expect from their leadership.

In your opinion, what are the three biggest issues facing Vineland/Cumberland County?

1. Vineland’s ballooning municipal budget: The Vineland 2020 budget of $70.86 million dollars is nearly 8 percent over the 2019 budget. Municipal budgets and taxes are a continued topic of conversation for most Vineland residents.With Vineland having a median household income of only $55,000 for an average family of three, it is easy to see the concern.

2. City infrastructure, including road, water and sewer systems: The conditions of our city roads tend to be the major topic among most residents that I have spoken with. Neglected roads in poor condition create significant safety and liability issues for the city. Concern for the capacity and sustainability of the city’s water and sewer systems are a major consideration when contemplating future residential and commercial growth.

3. Cumberland County and Vineland’s unemployment rate continues to be one of the highest in the state: As of July, the estimated unemployment rate was approximately 14 percent. This rate is obviously inflated due to COVID-19 layoffs and furloughs. Our average rate over the past few years has been hovering around 6 percent. Rates generally above 6 percent are indicative of a weak local economy which Cumberland County has always struggled with. Unemployment is especially detrimental for Vineland residents whose median household income is already more than 30 percent below the New Jersey average.

How do you plan to address these issues?

1. Tightening of discretionary spending, and reduction of no-bid contracts would be beneficial to reducing the budget. Putting an end to the practice of the creation of unnecessary jobs, having the duplication of titles or lack of job responsibilities is a must. Nearly $1.5 million dollars in new supervisory level jobs have been created by this administration since 2019, against the recommendations of some department heads.

2. Continued assessment of our roadways is essential to create a comprehensive plan for repairs. Our roads need maintaining on a priority level based on safety and traffic volume. Grant funding will be a priority in financing these projects. A cooperative plan for the water utility and the LSA to work together to upgrade their infrastructure simultaneously could save time and money. These capital improvements are necessary to stay ahead of the City’s growth.

3. During these trying times our focus needs to be helping our established business getting back to full capacity and staffing. Local promotion of our small business community most often creates local jobs. While the relocation of existing commercial industry may create some positions, the development of new industry has the ability to bring significantly more jobs to Vineland.

Please provide a closing statement:

At the end of the day the people of Vineland deserve a mayor with no personal business interests that conflict with the office, someone who’s only interest is the prosperity of the city. My entire adult life has been about public service and I wish to continue that as mayor.

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