Nursing a grudge with Democratic incumbent Mayor Ray Kimble, independent Michael A. Melham, a former Belleville Councilman, 2000-2004, last night formally declared his candidacy for Mayor in Belleville’s non-partisan, May 2018 municipal elections.
Melham, 42, runs AlphaDog, which holds 20+ government contracts for municipal communications, and builds campaign and election software. The mayoral candidate also travels as a public speaker at national conferences including the National Association of Government Web Professionals. With multiple real estate holdings throughout the Township, Melham at the mic openly discussed one particular issue that re-ignited his interest in public office; his 6,000 sq/ft commercial building, adjacent to Town Hall, located in the heart of Belleville’s main thoroughfare, Washington Avenue. The building remains unfinished and deteriorating, which Melham called a clear cut case of political retaliation.
In 2015, Melham filed a federal lawsuit against the Township, which, in part, alleged the Township Manager was holding his position illegally. As a result of the evidence presented, multiple government agencies immediately stepped in and asked for the Manager’s reluctantly provided resignation.
“They say you can’t fight City Hall. I not only fought City Hall, but took on the Township Manager, Township Attorney and several members of the governing body at the same time, and so far, I’ve won,” the mayoral candidate said. “I plan on using that same vigor to fight for every taxpayer and resident who feels they don’t have a voice. I will stand up for them, the same way I stood up for myself.”
Melham said he wants to revitalize Washington Avenue.
“My building is literally a microcosm of everything wrong with Belleville. From the lack of leadership and vision, to old-school mindsets, to the way current elected officials use their positions to settle personal and political vendettas. It’s over. I believe in a Better Belleville, that’s why I want to be Mayor,” Melham said.