Lacey Township Candidates Talk Oyster Creek, Taxes

Township of Lacey Municipal Building (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

LACEY – Oyster Creek Generating Station’s impending closure is casting a shadow over the Township Committee race.

Incumbent Nick Juliano, a Republican, and newcomer Jesse Ehrnstrom, a Democrat, are two candidates competing for a three-year term.

Jesse Ehrnstrom

Ehrnstrom is a self-employed computer technician. He does not yet have any experience in public office or civic groups.

“Taxes are already on the rise and the power plant hasn’t even stopped producing energy yet,” he said.

One way to stem the rising taxes is to pressure the school board into finding a university partner like how Central Regional works with Georgian Court, in order to bring in more funding.

“I’m also a huge advocate for bringing in renewable energy,” he said. “I would like to see at least one wind turbine up before the end of 2019.” This might help with the closure of Oyster Creek.

While township meetings are recorded for television, he said he’d want to see them broadcast on Facebook Live as soon as possible for more people to access them.

“The opioid crisis is out of control. The Blue HART program is an excellent step forward. However, we can do more,” he said.

Juliano is a manager for a real estate development and property management company. He has served one term on the Township Committee and six years as a commissioner on the Lacey Municipal Utilities Authority. He has been a part of the Lacey Little League, the Bob Court Youth Athletic Association, Chamber of Commerce, and the Municipal Alliance.

Nick Juliano

“If re-elected, I will continue to lobby for a new power plant on the Oyster Creek site to ensure the stabilization of our tax base,” he said.

However, Oyster Creek is not the only commercial issue.

“Over the last three years on the Township Committee, my focus has been to attract new commercial tax rateables to the Township,” he said. “We have updated our zoning ordinances to provide for mixed use development along the commercial corridors on Lacey Road and Route 9. We have been working with the state Planning Commission and in the next twelve months hope to receive Plan Endorsement approval. Plan Endorsement will provide for increased utilization of commercial property and provide the township additional tax rateables.”

Another goal is to use public property to build a senior community center that would also house the Veterans Commission.

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Chris Lundy is News Editor at Micromedia. He has covered Ocean County news and features in various publications since 2003. Lundy worked for Gannett with articles in The Beacon, Observer and Asbury Park Press. He's also written for the Community Connection, Patch and ShoreBeat.