Bayonne Councilman Neil Carroll III is confident that the “well-informed” voters in the 1st Ward will elect him in two weeks, since they see how crucial it is to keep the progress moving forward.
When asked why he thinks he’s the best choice in the four-man special election on November 5th, Carroll said his commitment, character and love for the city separate him from the pack.
“I’m honored every day to be able serve the city that’s given me so much and I want to give a little back,” he said during an interview at his campaign headquarters last week.
Carroll was unanimously appointed to replace Tom Cotter back in November of last year and while he has three challengers gunning for his seat, he has the full backing of the local Democratic organization.
He pushed back on the notion that he hasn’t done much for his constituents in his 11 months seated on the dais, such as improving traffic safety.
” … The proof is in the pudding. We’ve done many things. We’ve improved traffic safety by getting 95 percent of the stop signs Downtown covered with reflective striping,” he began.
“I’ve been the accessible councilman: when my phone rings, I answer it, when someone leaves me a message, I return the phone call. And that has then translated to things being done. I forgot who said it but radicals tend to accomplish one great thing in their life or nothing in their life. But the man who’s willing to go to work every day and work hard, accomplishes a lot.”
Two of the largest issues that have come up in the 1st Ward in recent memory are issues related to flooding and parking.
Carroll III says that he has begun to address both matters at length and went into some detail about both of those plans.
” … We have areas in town that are low and below sea level, but more than that, we’ve had administrations in the past and for the last 30 years it’s been flooding. I’ve met with the constituents, I’ve met with the people,” he explained.
“From the city perspective, we’re gonna hold three meetings for the long-term control plan – something we have to engage in to improve our system over many years.”
For the short term, he recommended that residents check to make sure their catch basins are free of debris prior to inclement weather, cut down on littering and holding Suez Water accountable for cleaning the catch basins on a regular basis.
As far as parking concerns go, the councilman said that he believes there is a lot of untapped land underneath the Bayonne Bridge which could be prime real estate for parking decks.
“There are certain security features and measures we need to take for national and homeland security, but once we undertake those measures, there’s still land available that I think we should turn into parking decks,” Carroll stated.
“So far, the Port Authority has been receptive: we’ve been in talks for a while and I think we can open up a big chunk of parking down there.”
On that note, he also suggested working with the public schools to open up their lots to the whole community, a practice that has been utilized in the past.
Overall, Carroll said he has been given no reason not to trust his constituents at this point, so he’s feeling good two weeks out from Election Day.
“The voter of the 1st Ward is a well-informed individual: I believe they know what they want, I believe they understand that we’re in a crucial moment in this city’s history and we have pulled back from the brink of catastrophe and now is the time to continue to move forward,” he said.
“This council recognizes that we need to include every member of our community and that’s what’s going to happen. So to the voter of the 1st Ward, I look forward to seeing you on Election Day.”
Carroll faces opposition in the form of Peter Franco, John Cupo and Paul Hagdorn.