Meet the Township Committee Candidates: Don Brauckmann
Mayor Don Brauckmann and newcomer John McCarthy are running uncontested for two open seats on township committee.
Incumbent Mayor Don Brauckmann and newcomer John McCarthy are running under the Republican ticket for the two open seats on Cinnaminson Township Committee this year.
Committeeman John Rooney is not seeking another term.
No other candidates have filed.
Even though the race is uncontested, we asked Brauckmann and McCarthy to fill out a biography with questions asked by Cinnaminson Patch.
Name: Donald Brauckmann
Years of residency in Cinnaminson: 19
Job: Moorestown Township police officer
Education: Burlington County College, Holy Cross High School, Burlington County Police Academy Graduate, United States Marine Corps.
Family: Married 19 years to lifelong Cinnaminson resident Michelle Burk. Two children who attend Cinnaminson High School: son Dalton (17) and daughter Alyssa (15)
Volunteer Experience: Head Coach, Cinnaminson Girls Under 12 Travel Softball Team; Assistant Coach, Cinnaminson Girls Under 13 Indoor Soccer Team; Board Member and Travel Director, Girls Softball; Board Member and Assistant Coach, Cinnaminson Athletic Association Pop Warner Football; Coach, Cinnaminson Baseball; Assistant Coach, Cinnaminson Indoor Soccer; Member, Parks & Recreation Advisory Board; Member of American Legion, Fraternal Order of Police, Knights of Columbus, Cinnaminson AOH Mike Doyle Div. 4; Parishioner, Sacred Heart Church; Helped lead successful volunteer efforts to clean up our parks, organize township’s annual Memorial Day festivities saluting our nation’s veterans, coordinate summer park concerts and annual Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, and coordinate with Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts to implement community service projects.
Have you ever held a public elected office? If yes, please name the governing body and years of service. Member, Cinnaminson Board of Education (2006-2009); Member, Cinnaminson Township Committee (2010-present)
Why are you running for Cinnaminson Township Committee? I love Cinnaminson. We are regarded as one of South Jersey’s top family communities, and I want to fight to make it even better. Public service is a noble calling and I will never lose sight of the importance of integrity, trust and utilizing my God-given talents to helping people. As a fiscal conservative, I’m also committed to keeping taxes as low as possible for residents.
Why do you feel you are qualified to serve as a member of the Cinnaminson Township Committee? My extensive public service background, matched with my passion for helping others, makes me uniquely qualified to serve as a member of our township committee. My extensive volunteer participation in our township’s sports, recreation and civic groups helps give me a "finger on the pulse" of what our community wants and needs.
As director of parks and recreation, I’ve helped Cinnaminson land several grants for park improvements, and I’m eager to continue winning grant monies to spur additional enhancements. I’ll always do what is in the best interest of the township as a whole, not special interests.
What are the three biggest issues facing Cinnaminson right now? How do you feel these issues should be addressed by Township Committee? (1) While I support the state’s lid on property tax increases, it’s an enormous challenge to continue providing municipal services that our residents are accustomed to receiving within the state-mandated 2-percent spending cap. We have reduced staffing levels to an absolute minimum. We also implemented zero-based budgeting to justify each and every expenditure. Cinnaminson is one of the "leanest" towns in the area. We constantly strive to do more with less. To become even more efficient, we ordered and conducted a feasibility study to redirect staff to the most appropriate places. These adjustments are a necessary step to maximize our resources. We will continue to leave no stone unturned when it comes to spending restraint.
(2) Due to the decline of the housing market and its drastic effect on home values, Cinnaminson witnessed massive numbers of costly tax assessment appeals. The result was a $300,000 revenue loss which had to be borne solely by the municipal budget. To remedy this in the fairest possible way, we authorized a re-evaluation to obtain fair market values on our real estate values to occur in 2013 and be effective in 2014. To ensure future fairness and avoidance of costly litigation, I have asked that we factor in a plan to adjust market values annually so that assessed values stay current with true market values.
(3) During this national recession, it has been a real struggle to attract new industrial and commercial ratables to relieve the tax burden on the homeowner. Fortunately, our aggressive efforts in marketing Cinnaminson to the business community have paid off as we have seen several major redevelopment projects implemented. This is an ongoing endeavor that must receive maximum attention from township officials, or we will lose out to other towns. Having previously served as director of economic development, I am committed to the revitalization of Route 130. Furthermore, the redevelopment of industrial sites is vital, such as our successful efforts to retain Sea Box and have it build its new world headquarters here in Cinnaminson.
Economic development is a big issue in Cinnaminson. How do you think the Rt. 130 corridor can be improved? An essential component of making Cinnaminson more desirable to businesses, investors, and developers is to revisit how the township manages the process for prospective business interest. My goal is to make Cinnaminson the most business-friendly community in our region. With this in mind, I have proposed consolidating many of our municipal functions into an office of community development which will streamline the process and create a more integrated, professional experience for potential applicants.
If implemented, this proposal would not involve any new spending, but would reorganize existing operations and staff to improve the experience for the customer. Also, our township’s recently re-energized economic development committee will continue to be a catalyst for attracting new businesses.
What do you feel is Cinnaminson's biggest asset at this time? How would you exploit that asset to the township's benefit? Our residents are our greatest asset. By listening to residents and acting on their ideas I have helped make our township become even better. I will continue to make myself accessible to all our residents so that issues and concerns can get promptly addressed.
How do you plan to balance spending and revenue in tough economic times? The first step is to build a team of superbly competent professionals to operate our township in the cost-efficient manner possible. To this end, I have devoted much time to recruiting and hiring a top notch CFO, administrator and public safety director. We are now blessed to have the best.
Our staff members are always striving to find new ways to achieve cost-savings and stretch every tax dollar. It also helps to have a diverse and experienced group of township committee members who share my commitment to fiscal conservatism. We truly spend every dollar as if it were our own. As a result, Cinnaminson’s per capita spending rate and debt ratio are among the lowest in the region.
Your Call—A final response to the people of Cinnaminson: My entire adult life has been about community service and helping others. From JROTC in high school, to active duty in the United States Marine Corps during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, to working for a U.S. Congressman on military and veterans issues, to becoming a police officer and implementing innovative community policing initiatives, to volunteering in youth sports and community groups, to serving on our board of education, to serving on township committee and becoming Cinnaminson’s 152nd mayor, I truly believe the greatest thing we can do in life is help others.
The most common question I get from friends and residents is "Why do you do all this?" The answer is always the same. My life has been about public service, not self-service. If given the honor of continuing to serve, I will work as hard as possible to preserve Cinnaminson as a great family community which we are very proud to call home.