WILDWOOD CREST - Borough voters will choose their next commissioners in just three weeks, a switch from the May elections that had been in place for decades.

Like many New Jersey towns, the borough opted to switch the quadrennial elections, passing an ordinance in 2012.

The move was designed to save money - the last May election in 2009 cost $20,000 - and increase voter turnout.

In Wildwood Crest voter turnout reached 57.5 percent in May 2005, a year with a hotly contested race, and just 27.4 percent in May 2009.

The borough's general elections in 2009 and 2010 drew more consistent figures, with a turnout of 49.7 percent and 46.3 percent, respectively.

This year, the three incumbents - Mayor Carl Groon and Commissioners Joyce Gould and Don Cabrera - are seeking re-election to the three-member commissioner. No other candidates filed to run.

Cabrera, 48, has lived in the borough since 1989 and was first elected in 2001.

He oversees Public Works and owns his own real estate and property management businesses.

Cabrera said he wants to continue to serve on the commission to work on projects that improve the quality of life.

"We've done a lot of improvements to our infrastructure," he said, pointing to projects such as the addition of beach walkways, the preservation of the fishing pier and the reconstruction of numerous streets.

Cabrera said that while he likes to see people run for office, the fact that no one else is running except for the incumbents suggests "people are generally happy with the way things are."

Gould, 70, was first elected to the commission in 1989 and since then has served as mayor, commissioner of Revenue and Finance, commissioner of Public Safety and commissioner of Public Works.

Gould supported the move to November elections, but wanted the nonpartisan elections to have their own line on the ballot apart from the partisan races.

"In little towns (nonpartisan elections) are very helpful, otherwise people vote straight party lines," Gould said.

She said she has welcomed the chance to take part in or develop a number of additions that residents see and use regularly, such as the annual borough calendar, produced with the help of a grant.

Gould, a resident here since 1965, also pointed to every thing from the memorial bench program to the addition of dog waste collection bags in town as programs that residents make use of regularly.

"I really care about the people that live in the community," she said. "They're not just a lot and block number."

Groon, 63, joined the Borough Commission eight years ago.

"I don't think it's anything like I expected," he said of the education he's gained about municipal government. "It's gotten a lot more complicated over the years, thanks to state and federal government."

The lifelong resident said he spends between 15 and 20 hours a week working on borough business.

Serving on commission, he said, is "a way to give back a little."

"I do enjoy the work, and it is work," he said.

He said highlights of his time in office include multiple infrastructure projects, such as the replacement of Seaview Avenue and the return of a local construction office.

"Financially we're also in a really solid position," Groon said, adding that the borough is looking to reduce its debt.

He added that the borough is also hosting more events.

"We're offering more than we did (eight years ago) with less staff," he said.

Contact Trudi Gilfillian:



The next Wildwood Crest Borough Commission election is on Nov. 5, the date of the general election.

The last day to register to vote is today, Oct. 15.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Load comments