Al, Jay and Diane are practical, solutions-oriented business and community leaders, who aim to bring a private sector mindset to how our community is governed. They want to use their experience to ensure our town is fiscally responsible and disciplined, to help revitalize our downtown and community, and to upgrade our borough's infrastructure and emergency preparedness.
Moving Fiscal Discipline Forward
Al, Jay and Diane will be laser-focused on keeping taxes low, ensuring government is smart and sensible, and long-term planning for our community. Our belief is that we must spend the limited resources we have wisely and be as disciplined on spending public money as we would our own (because as taxpayers, it is all of our money after all!). Our plan will reduce our debt, optimize spending and revenue to ensure taxes can be kept flat or lowered, and ensure we are getting our money’s worth in services from the county:
• Reduce our Debt - our bond issues have created millions in debt which we will be paying into the next decade. We must continue to smartly manage this burden so we have the ability to fund future investments.
• Optimize spending and revenue – we will apply private sector principles to cut cost and share services with neighboring towns, and diversify our income sources.
• Accountability - we will hold our elected officials and administrators accountable for their commitments, as well as continually evaluate what we are prioritizing in government.
• Demand our fair return from the County – Bernardsville sends a significant amount to the county in terms of tax dollars, but we typically do not see a return in services, which needs to change. We pay for a county 911 system we cannot utilize, and county roads connecting our neighborhoods are deemed by the county to be unsafe for pedestrians, yet they won’t help us build sidewalks on these roads.
Moving Community Revitalization Forward
Bernardsville is a special place. But we compete with other towns to attract businesses and residents. To remain competitive, we need strong coordination among our civil leaders. We support and congratulate the work done to revitalize the downtown. Al, Jay and Diane would build on this to ensure our Borough is attracting businesses, improving the lives of residents, and increasing value. Our plan:
• Support and implement the Borough’s Master Plan - We support the efforts of our Mayor, Republican Councilmembers, and other civic leaders. Through smart strategic planning we can increase the value of homes and businesses, and reverse the trend of declining property values.
• Ensure development coordination - Our town master plan, downtown redevelopment plan, and our recreation plan are the three pillars of ensuring a sustainable strategy for long term development and value. They need to be well coordinated.
• Community conveniences - We will expand sidewalks, walkways, and access points to open space. We will support efforts to increase curb appeal and charm in our town.
• Attract new events - Encouraging new festivals, events such as charity walks, tournaments and food trucks will not only attract residents, but will support our businesses and diversify revenue streams.
• Improvement and Strategic acquisition of open spaces - Not all of our open space is being fully utilized. Implementing a recreation plan will improve livability and our town’s value, such as making our facilities more ADA accessible, expand access and connectivity of our open space, as well as improve amenities. Additionally, should desirable spaces come available we should carefully weigh the cost benefit of acquisition
• Encourage volunteerism - We will get more residents involved in government and encourage more civic engagement, and utilize single-issue committees
• Preserve our town’s character - Bernardsville’s brand is family, and we will always make decisions with that key fact in mind.
Moving Our Infrastructure Forward
The challenges we faced in 2020 demonstrated the resiliency of our community. Whether it was supporting small businesses, ordering takeout from local restaurants, or just being there for our neighbors, the worst of years have brought out the best of Bernardsville. But we need to be prepared for the next event. Too many residents lose power during minor storms, and remain without it for days. In addition, whether it is downtown or just down our streets, maintenance has fallen off and there is overgrowth - and in the case of trees and branches, this can result in power outages. Finally, we have let key amenities deteriorate, such as our community pool. We will find ways to improve our infrastructure through out plan:
• Road improvement plans – For residents and visitors quality of roads say a lot about a town and we will ensure there is a 10-year plan to continually upgrade our roads and transportation infrastructure.
• Be prepared for the next storm emergency - Work with the Department of Public Works to ensure they have the resources they need.
• Demand a more reliable power infrastructure - Bernardsville residents lose power longer than other nearby communities. We will keep pressure and accountability on the agencies and companies responsible for our grid like JCP&L.
• Analyze and optimize - We will conduct a study to find out what gaps there are in our grid to help residents sustain power through our storms, and then implement solutions.
• Clean and maintain our Borough - Hold borough staff accountable for maintaining our downtown, cleaning debris and clearing the overgrowth of trees and branches throughout the Borough.
• Planning for continuous improvement - Lack of investment in amenities like our pool or key pieces of infrastructure like sidewalks has left them in dire need of repairs. We will put a plan in place to ensure we have dedicated maintenance every year, so we do not have issues pile or costly emergency repairs arise.