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Candidate Profile: Jeff Hansen (R)

Township committee candidate Jeff Hansen discusses West Deptford's debt, his plans for economic development and why voters should elect him.

Editor’s note: Jeff Hansen and Denice DiCarlo to learn more about their platforms and plans should they win election on Nov. 6. 

Name: Jeff Hansen
Party: Republican
Years lived in West Deptford: 20
Education: Gloucester County College, associate’s degree in marketing; Glassboro State College, bachelor’s degree in marketing/business
Occupation: Sales manager at Diener Brick Co.
Family: Married to Judy with four children—Jeff, Andrew, Justin and Bryce (deceased)
Previous elected positions: None. Appointed to the RiverWinds Advisory Board in February

What’s the top issue facing West Deptford right now?

I have three of them. Obviously, it’s our $130 million debt, but that’s already done. It is what it is right now. We have some issues in-house with our management. We have to do a top-down efficiency study of our government and straighten that out. We have to put some policies and procedures in place.

Then our next biggest thing is creating revenue—bringing in financially stable businesses. I emphasize that because our past administration dealt with businesses that weren’t financially stable, like the golf course.

What are your plans for economic development in town?

We have to highlight our assets in town, like the I-295 corridor, the RiverWinds waterfront, the two industrial parks and the nearby ports. That’s going to make our town valuable to some developers. We need to create a competitive market and we’ll be able to get someone who will invest in our town. When they invest in our town, it’s going to stabilize our taxes and increase the value of our homes.

I deal with developers all the time and consult with them for my business. There are developers who will come down and look and have a vision of how the waterfront or 295 corridor should be.

Is there a model from another town you have in mind for what the riverfront might look like?

It would be unique. There are some up in North Jersey, like in Hoboken, but there are high rises there. We’d concentrate on being responsible and not putting high rises in. We need a hub or hometown center. RiverWinds is a great location for that. We have the amphitheater, we have the community center.

The original concept of RiverWinds is great—it just got lost. Nobody paid attention to it after it went up. We have to enhance it. We can do a top-down marketing study of not just RiverWinds, but the whole town, to look for ways to generate revenue.

RiverWinds has a lot to offer, not just to residents but businesses. We have to make those things work. We have to highlight our assets, create demand and try to avoid PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) programs. We have to be responsible and not guarantee a loan for anybody. It was so irresponsible that that happened.

Back to your point on the town management: What’s the issue you see there?

Obviously, there are problems. We have a water department that’s being investigated by the attorney general—there are issues. There are some kinks in the works that have to be ironed out.

We have to bring someone in to see how things can be done more efficiently. We have to cross-train some employees that can go from one department to another, which would help save. If we have to combine some departments, then what’s what we do. But we have to make sure we don’t affect our central services. If anything, we enhance them.

West Deptford’s debt attracted Gov. Chris Christie’s attention. Is there a plan to reduce it and to avoid getting into this kind of hole again?

The debt is what is it. It’s going to be more next year with the Sunoco settlement. We’re going to have $160 million in debt. Our old debt is going to be reducing as the new debt is coming in. The way (Committeeman) Sam Cianfarini put together the financing, one’s going to be going down, the other will be going up, so it’s not really going to affect our taxes.

The way we combat debt is looking for revenue in the future and attracting big businesses to town, but doing it responsibly. Like I said earlier, we can’t just put up big buildings.

I think a lot of people are responsible for the hole we’re in, more so our previous administration. There was neglect and mismanagement on their part that got us in the whole, but everyone has to take a little responsibility—we elected those officials. Everyone has to be involved. Five, 10 years ago, everything was going great and people weren’t paying attention. All of the sudden, the economy changes a little bit and we’re hit. We have to be more responsible citizens and stay involved in our government.

How do you feel about the Eagle Point settlement?

I think it’s way overdue. It should have been settled years and years ago. The money we spent to keep it in litigation is ridiculous and then not preparing for if we did lose or did have to settle. We need to be prepared for the future—there should have been money set aside in case we did lose.

What would you like to see at Eagle Point?

Since I’m not on the committee, I don’t know the inner workings of everything that’s happening. I’ve never met with the owners of Sunoco, but I understand they’re investing a lot of money in Marcus Hook (an ex-refinery in Delaware County, PA). It’d be nice for them to do that here, but do it responsibly. We have to be good business partners. We can’t expect to put all of the burden on our businesses in town, but we should expect to be fairly treated as well.

So much of this campaign seems marked by why voters shouldn’t elect the opponent. Leaving Denice DiCarlo out of it, why should voters elect you?

We’re at a pivotal point right now in West Deptford. We have to look to development. My background is in construction and management—I’m going to be a good team member for the committee, being able to spearhead some of this development. I consult for developers and architects all the time, and it’s a big asset I can bring to the township.

I’ve also been involved with the town and our sports programs for past 20 years. We have great programs and I think we can enhance them even more. Being involved in the programs and with RiverWinds, there are ways to improve—it’s a no-brainer for me, these are things I know I can do.

We’ll end on an easy one—what’s the thing you like best about West Deptford?

It’s a great town. We first moved to Forest Creek Apartments and that’s how we got exposed to West Deptford. We thought it was a great place to raise a family. A couple years later we bought the house in town. The best thing town is the people who live here. It’s really a close-knit community and so friendly, especially for what my wife and I went through when our son (Bryce) had the brain tumor. There was an outpouring of support from everyone in town. It just made us appreciate West Deptford even more.

Robert Bastow November 02, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Jeff, a couple quick questions: 1) Are you suggesting you would bring in your friends and business partners that are developers to finish RiverWinds? Dont you see a potential conflict with that arrangement? 2) Why would you not offer business's PILOT programs to entice re-development. They can be set up anyway the town would liek and have been proven to attract growth. Why would you be against that?
Another voice November 02, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Because PILOT programs give little back to the entire community.
Robert Bastow November 02, 2012 at 01:10 PM
That is totally not true and just shows your lack of understanding on the issue. Maybe if we had an experienced re-devevelopment attorney and not a partisan hack he could explain that so you could understand. PILOTS are an effective tool to attrack business. Maybe that is why this new administration has yet to bring in any new business.
Another voice November 02, 2012 at 01:54 PM
No, sir, I have a good understanding of the issue. And your own partisanship is showing! Why don't you just copy and paste Denice's candidate profile since that seems to be the crux of your input on this page....
Another voice November 02, 2012 at 01:55 PM
In fact, why don't you re-read Denice's own admission about the problems with using PILOTs?
Occupant November 02, 2012 at 02:39 PM
God, I hate it when they don't use spell check. "liek" www.internetslang.com/LIEK-meaning-definition.asp 70+ items – The slang word / acronym / abbreviation LIEK means... . Internet ... Person who likes smoking pot BCE Before Common Era (like BC) "attrack" code.google.com/p/attrack/ Feb 22, 2009 – Released the 1.3.8 . here below the 1.3.8 docs. http://attrack.googlecode.com/files/Attrack_description_V1038.pdf - A remote control is now ...
Robert Bastow November 02, 2012 at 03:03 PM
They seemed to have worked jsut fine with LS Power to the tune of $107 million
Another voice November 02, 2012 at 03:35 PM
$0 of which go to the schools. Yeah, just fine.
Another voice November 02, 2012 at 03:45 PM
It did NOT work out so fine with Rivercove (which is exactly what Denice was alluding to in her profile). By the way the county gets some of that money. And that's 30 (THIRTY!!!) years of used space in WD with no taxes going to the schools for this business. How does this benefit the entire community over the long run?
Occupant November 02, 2012 at 05:39 PM
There you go again Mr. Bastow "jsut" ?
redneckwillie3 November 02, 2012 at 05:54 PM
West Deptford was on the brink of finacial ruin with the democrats in office. But thanks to the republicans and the addition of Jeff Hansen it is slowly beginning to progress in the right direction. With the onslaught of corruption and Fraud the dems had mustered in the past 20 years and the republicans bringing it to the attention of us taxpayers,there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. VOTE JEFF HANSEN NOV 6TH THE RIGHT THING TO DO
Bill Whipkin November 02, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Does LS Power have any impact on the cost of education by sending any kids to school? The answer is no. Also, the town can pass a resolution to give money to the schools if they so choose but I think the better option would be to use the money to pay down township debt. They just added another 40 million in debt this year alone.
Wayne Klotz November 02, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Jeff; just one question for you; why are you afraid to debate ms.dicarlo for?do not know all the facts about west Deptford do you?if you did you would debate her tonite! What are you hiding? Maybe we should ask Sam or Brandon umba,etc.!!
Wayne Klotz November 02, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Oh by the way, you were to late at the meeting last nite! Afraid?!
daisy duke November 02, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Dicarlo didn't want to debate because the dem machine were afraid that she would slip and use the 4 letter word that she uses a lot at soccer games and in front of her kids.
ThomasJefferson November 02, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Daisy you are so silly, Denice likes to meet and talk to the townspeople. That's why she knocked on over 3000 voters homes this fall and offered to answer any voter questions. She knocked on mine and won our vote. Jeff lives in my neighborhood, he never came to our house, just a few doors from his. Denice is not afraid of any public forum.
Wayne Klotz November 02, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Daisy duke; get a life. Ask Jeff why he will not debate ms. diicarlo!
Duchess November 03, 2012 at 01:16 AM
So Wayne, where was Denise tonight??? Obviously very late!! or too afraid to show up. So what are you hiding Denise, afraid of more of your lies being exposed, I am sure they will be soon. Thank you Jeff Hansen for answering some very interesting and important quesions tonight. As for those four letter words Daisy Duke, I have heard them too and in front of my kids, disgusting!
Another voice November 03, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Yes, of course the LS power deal has a huge opportunity cost to the schools, by limiting the ratables!! Do you really not see that? That means more of the money comes from the individual taxpayers rather than businesses. If schools were only meant to be funded by individual taxpayers, why not just charge everyone for private schools, per child?! Don't give me that ridiculous nonsense that they added 40 million in debt this year. This debt burden has been 20 years in a holding pattern and you know it.
Dave November 03, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Klutz Possibly Hansen has a life and a job kids and bills he pays. Typo by design occupant.
Wayne Klotz November 03, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Dave; he had all 2(two) months to agree to a debate date! Why didn't he agree to a date? Sounds like being scared, Dave's baby!!!
Wayne Klotz November 03, 2012 at 08:19 PM
I read the literature from Hansen and I really had to laugh, cry or go to the bathroom! what a liar!!!
Duchess November 04, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Wayne did you miss something, Denice didn't show, Jeff was there and what a great, informative evening it was, thank goodness we have such a great HONEST guy running. West Deptford residents are sooooo fed up and there are many, many Dems that I speak to that won't be voting for Denice. The truth hurts Wayne, goodbye Denice.
Lauren Burgoon November 05, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Readers, Comments have been shut down on political stories until after the polls close on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

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