LETTER: Alessi, Tilton, Schlachter dedicated to North Caldwell

September 22, 2022

New Jersey Hills

TO THE EDITOR: We write this letter in support of Mayor Joe Alessi, Councilman Ken Tilton and Lara Schlachter. These are three outstanding residents who are dedicated to continuing to make North Caldwell a great place to live and raise a family.

Mayor Joe Alessi has devoted the past 20 years of his life to the residents of North Caldwell, serving our community unselfishly. For those residents who recently moved to North Caldwell, the reasons you found North Caldwell such a desirable place to move to is directly related to the work attributed to Mayor Joe.

For those residents who have lived in North Caldwell for many years, the reasons you chose to stay and enjoy our great community are directly attributed to the hard work of Mayor Joe. His accomplishments over the years are many, such as improved safety traffic measures, the enhancement of our recreational facilities, the improvements in our drainage, and his track record of working with the council to continue North Caldwell’s sound financial rating based on the town’s low debt ratio.

Mayor Joe’s most significant contribution to North Caldwell has been leading the initiative to save Walker’s Pond from development. Walkers Pond’s is a 17-acre tract located in the heart of our community. Mayor Joe led the efforts to preserve Walker’s Pond as open space for a public park that all residents can enjoy well into the future. If the Borough of North Caldwell did not purchase this property, the owner would have sold this parcel to a developer. The development could have included high-density housing, such as condominiums, apartments or single-family houses.

In March 2016, five of six council members voted in favor of acquiring the Walker’s Pond property to save it as open space. In November 2019, North Caldwell residents approved an open-space referendum, which levied an open-space tax to preserve the 17 acres.

In stark contrast, the record shows that one council member, Josh Raymond, voted against North Caldwell acquiring the Walker’s Pond property in March 2016. This lone vote not to purchase the property is concerning because if the other five council members voted in concert with Raymond, we certainly would have further development in North Caldwell.

Thankfully for North Caldwell, this property will be preserved for years to come for all to enjoy and not be subject to development. This is the plan for Walker’s Park and always has been the plan for Walker’s Park.

In his first term on the council, Ken Tilton has showed exemplary leadership working with our police and fire departments in an effort to continue to make North Caldwell one of the safest towns to live in across New Jersey.

Councilman Tilton, through the North Caldwell Police Foundation, has helped fund automated license plate readers and adaptive technologies to curtail and deter motor vehicle thefts and other crimes. In addition, the fundraising activities he has initiated have funded active shooter training for our police department, allowing them to use actual service revolvers in training.

Ken has instituted these changes to reduce crime at no expense to North Caldwell residents. Furthermore, Ken has established a rapport with the Essex County Sheriff’s Department to have them assist with the recent rise of motor vehicle thefts. He also initiated a townwide campaign alerting our residents of the urgency to not leave key fobs in unattended cars and to insure cars are locked while not in use.

Presently, Ken is working with our county leadership to obtain a traffic light at Mountain Avenue and Gould Avenue. Regarding school safety, Ken has been instrumental in forming meetings with both boards of education where they have been able to discuss public safety issues. With the help of Mayor Alessi and through these meetings, we are happy to say the West Essex Board of Education has moved forward with placing a Class III officer in the middle and high schools.

Since moving to North Caldwell in the past few years, Lara has been an active member of our community. She immediately volunteered to be an organizer for Grandview Elementary’s Pre-K program. Lara also became involved in the Books & Beyond program while volunteering as a class parent.

She continues to stay involved and contributing to North Caldwell while teaching piano lessons and directing plays through The Performing Arts Project NJ. Lara’s desire to become involved from the onset of her residency in North Caldwell speaks volumes of her drive to continue to make our community a great place to raise a family.

What greater representation can you ask for than Joe, Ken and Lara! They are three loyal residents, true to their word and to the residents of North Caldwell, who will work in the best interest of our community. They are the people we need leading our community. We ask for your support in voting for Mayor Joe, Councilman Ken Tilton and Lara Schlachter in this coming election.

Thank you for your consideration.

Colony Drive

Maywood Court

Grandview Place

Grandview Place

Acorn Place

Brookside Terrace

Editor’s note: All of these residents live in North Caldwell. The statements expressed in this letter are Wojtowicz’s personal opinion as a private citizen and not as a member or on behalf of the West Essex Board of Education.