In a tight election requiring officials to count provisional ballots, the Monmouth County Clerk’s office determined on Monday that Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo lost his bid for re-election to his Republican challenger.
The campaign focused on the redevelopment of the former Fort Monmouth on New Jersey’s Atlantic coast, with winning candidate Dennis Connelly criticizing both the plan and pace of redevelopment, reported NJ.com. Tarantolo is a member of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority board. Connelly, a council member, said many residents oppose efforts to develop Eatontown’s portion of the post into a town center with restaurants and stores as the borough’s downtown already is plagued with empty retail space.
Connelly also criticized Tarantolo for not bringing any development to the borough more than three years after the installation was shuttered.
“We’re the only host town [that] doesn’t even have a parcel that’s been sold or even under contract,” Connelly said. The project’s other two host towns — Tinton Falls and Oceanport — have seen contracts for new businesses in their parcels of the 1,128-acre former military base.
Tarantolo, who has served as mayor for the past 16 years, said the type and schedule of development is out of his control.
“That was beyond my influence,” he said. “The Fort Monmouth plan had already been defined. When you’re dealing with the federal government, there are a lot of intricacies that occur that are beyond my control.”
Tarantolo has until Nov. 19 to ask for a recount, according to the story.