Militello is the second declared candidate. Leonard Kantor also is running. Incumbent Mayor Joseph Doria has yet to declare.
In recent weeks, Militello has stepped to the podium at city council meetings to urge the city to begin thinking of the people who pay the bills: the taxpayers.
This urgency for tax relief and fiscal responsibility is nothing new to his run for mayor. He raised similar issues when running for state Senate in 2003.
"Our state legislators cannot agree on how to lift the burden on New Jersey property owners," he said. "In Bayonne, residents keep receiving exorbitant tax statements."
In running for mayor, Militello said he is very concerned with how the city is spending money.
"The politicians running this city want many things, but we can't have everything," he said. "Times are tough. And Bayonne is going $20 million deeper into debt every year."
City officials, of course, contend that the $20 million bond that is taken out each year is part of a plan to cover costs until development of the former Military Ocean Terminal generates revenues, and that the debt incurred as a result of the $20 million each year will be paid back from the sale of the land.
"But that doesn't solve the problem year in and year out," Militello said. "We are spending too much and we're borrowing to pay for it, when we should look to cut spending."
Militello said the development proposal is a gamble on future revenues, while the city is failing to address what he sees as core problems.
"Why are we spending that $20 million a year," he said. "Why are we not looking to reduce spending?"
Militello said politicians at all levels of government tend to shift blame for the problems with rising property taxes.
"Everybody blames somebody else," he said. "The municipality blames the state, the state blames the feds," he said. "But these things are all connected. Look at the new sign program (Wayfinding). We're told they cost a half a million dollars. But they really cost more. They have to go through various agencies and each of those checks cost money that we never see."
The signage program is designed to help strangers get to key places within Bayonne. City officials said this was a competitive grant that Bayonne won.
"City officials tell us that if we didn't take the money someone else would," Militello said. "But where does that money come from? Mars? We pay taxes to the state. If it is a foolish program than our state officials should stop it in Trenton."
Militello said the money should be used to support education, cut taxes or hire more cops, not for signs most people won't need.
"How many meals for students could that money pay for? How many protective vests for cops? This is a bad program. Most people know where city hall is, and if they don't know, they can stop and ask directions," he said.
Programs like this also have other hidden costs more directly affecting the municipal budget.
"Who maintains the signs?" he said. "While we're closing fire houses, we're spending millions on signs. That doesn't make sense."
Militello dreamed of public service
Militello, 40, was born and raised in Bayonne, where after attending public elementary schools, he graduated from St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, and later Providence College in Rhode Island, and eventually law school at Seton Hall University.
Militello is the son of Vincent Militello, a Bayonne businessman and former long-serving president of Bayonne's Chamber of Commerce, and Maryann Militello, a retired public school teacher.
Although he has not served any previous elected or appointed board, Militello believes his experience as a former assistant Hudson County prosecutor and U.S. Marine Corps captain has provided him with leadership experience. Militello served as an assistant prosecutor from 1996 to 2001, and previously served in active service in the Marine Corps from 1988 to 1992.
"The first thing they teach you as a Marine officer is how to get the job done, to think out of the box when confronting an issue," he said during a previous interview. "You have to learn how to solve problems in your own way and often under a lot of stress."
Between his undergraduate and legal studies, Militello served with distinction in the U.S. Marine Corps, achieving the rank of captain before being honorably discharged. During his service, Militello led a Marine infantry platoon in Japan and the Philippines while his comrades were engaged in equally difficult duty during Operation Desert Shield and Storm.
After law school, Militello dedicated himself again to public service. He joined the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office in 1996. Militello even had a brief involvement in international affairs when two American children were abducted by their grandfather and taken to Egypt. He negotiated for their safe return.
Militello once said he aspired to public service since he was a child, but couldn't serve because of his work with the prosecutor's office. Now in private practice, he can achieve that childhood dream.
Other people apparently believe in his ability - his campaign has brought in more than $58,000 in his first quarter of active fund-raising, with none of this coming from power brokers in Southern New Jersey.
This significant amount, Militello believes, demonstrates that he will have the resources necessary to run a very effective campaign. It also demonstrates that many Bayonne people are supporting Militello's platform.
"The politicians and political bosses will no longer be able to hold Bayonne citizens hostage to their tax, spend and borrow ways," Militello said. "Bayonne wants change and that time is coming."
Militello plans to build on the success of this initial fund-raising. He has many more fund-raisers to come and fully expects to raise much more.
He said he believes the people of Bayonne are looking to him for leadership and to solve the challenges facing a great city.