GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — The race for three spots on the Township Council comes down to how well residents feel the current administration has handled the municipality’s finances.

Mayor Anthony J. Coppola Jr. and his fellow Republicans running for reelection — Deputy Mayor Rich Clute, 44, and Tony DiPietro, 47 — say they decreased property taxes while reducing municipal debt and slowly increasing services.

The three Democrats — Walead Abdrabouh, Elizabeth Egan and John O’Kane — believe residents are paying too much in taxes for the services they receive. They think new blood and ideas are needed.

Republicans control the council with a 4-3 majority. Each of the three competitive seats carries a four-year term.

Coppola, 52, said a lot has been accomplished during the past 10 years, and a good team has been built to make it happen.

“We all have our strong points, every single one of us,” said Coppola, who has been a councilman for nine years.

One of the things Coppola takes credit for is applying business principles to the running of the township.

For instance, when Coppola joined the council, $250,000 had to be borrowed to buy a new loader to replace one the township was still using from the 1980s.

Now, he said, items such as police cars and fire equipment are on a replacement schedule and paid for out of the budget.

“I am not going to gamble taxpayer dollars on something that will not bear fruit,” Coppola said.

For the amount of money residents pay in taxes, Democrat Abdrabouh, 42, said he’s not seeing the return on investment on the streets that he sees in other municipalities.

Abdrabouh, a technology director, ran unsuccessfully for the council in 2017.

Retiree Egan, 69, said communication, openness and trust could be improved between residents and the council.

“Residents do not feel they are being dealt with honestly and with transparency in government,” the first-time candidate said.

O’Kane, 37 — a special education teacher and coach in the township who covers high school wrestling for The Press of Atlantic City — said the township needs to do more to attract new businesses.

“Basically, I think the town needs new ideas and changes in leadership. It’s been the same group,” said O’Kane, who also is running for elected office for the first time.

Contact: 609-272-7202


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