Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Berkeley Heights Township Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Berkeley Heights Township Council is the governing body of the municipality and is comprised of elected officials. They establish the laws and policies for the Township. An elected Council member serves a three year term.A Candidates Forum will be held on Thursday, October 19th at 7:30 pm in the Gov. Livingston High School Auditorium
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Candidate picture

    Jeanne Kingsley (Rep) Finance Executive/CPA

  • Edmund (Tom) Maciejewski (I)

  • Candidate picture

    Alvaro Medeiros (Dem) Sales Center Assistant Vice President

  • Candidate picture

    Susan Poage (Dem) Teacher

  • Candidate picture

    John Sincaglia (Rep) Retired

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

What do you feel is the biggest concern facing the residents of Berkeley Heights? What would you do about it if elected?

Council members make many decisions which affect the residents of the town (quality of life, taxes, etc.). Prior to making these decisions, what would you do to gauge the support of the residents?

What steps would you take, if elected, to work towards revitalizing the shopping area on Springfield Avenue?

People are attracted to Berkeley Heights because of its small-town feel, access to NY metro, safety record and outstanding school system. As I speak to residents, I hear their concerns about the impact that the state-mandated affordable housing laws could have on the exceptional quality of life in our community. Towns across NJ have been required by the courts to allow developers to build projects that include affordable housing units--that means development at higher densities than we are used to. The current Town Council has been laser focused on this issue, and successfully fought to allow far fewer units than developers sought to impose on us to maximize their profits. I want to see this issue through and ensure that the developers live up to the terms of their settlements so that we can continue to preserve and enhance the character and security of our wonderful “small” town.
My belief as a Council member has always been that a well- informed public is in everyone’s best interest. We have developed a significant number of information-related tools in an attempt to help our residents stay informed despite their busy lives. (These tools are outlined in detail on my election website https://www.kingsleysincaglia2017.com) We also have recently established a “BH Be Heard” program which will periodically reach out to local residents via online surveys and other initiatives to gauge their interests and inform them about emerging Town issues. Ensuring that our residents are well informed about Town issues and Town Council initiatives is essential to the success of Berkeley Heights. I have worked tirelessly on improving and enhancing communication since joining the Town Council in 2012 and I commit to you that I will continue to encourage and seek new avenues to get your input and disseminate important information to you.
Berkeley Heights has a special small town feel that we are all determined to preserve. Here are just some of our more significant accomplishments to date: Veterans Memorial Park, the clock at Peppertown Park, upgrades to the Springfield Avenue streetscape, and seasonal street banners. Plans are well under way to create a more vibrant, pedestrian-friendly downtown. In the works are privately-funded upgrades to Peppertown Park and the Sherman Avenue streetscape and a modernized Municipal Complex which includes a new library. I’ve worked hard with my fellow residents laying the ground for this vision. As for the new Municipal Complex, there is no question in my mind that it will become the heart and center of our town–studies also show that municipal centers located in downtowns bring increased activity to local businesses and service providers, adding to the local economy. I am strongly committed to continuing that partnership with you in order to find new ways to enhance our Town.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
Candidate has not yet responded.
We believe the biggest concern for residents is a lack of communication and transparency from town government. We’d like to see more proactive communications and not the approach we have now where the only source is the town website - not exactly a place where busy families spend a lot of time. We used to receive a Township newsletter that was an easy way to understand what was going on. Community forums on Facebook are often crowded with more vitriol than fact. As an alternative, we would like to see a Berkeley Heights Township social media engagement plan where facts and information could prevail. The township needs an electronic billboard like those used by the High School to communicate events and activities. We should hold quarterly meetings on weekend afternoons to update residents on all issues, and get their feedback at a convenient time for them. We should also restore relations with the GL TV studio and bring back their news coverage of Township events.
Along with better communication, we ought to give townspeople a better way to provide their input and feedback. There are many applications that enable surveys and should be included in proactive town council communications. We recently received an example of an application that is designed specifically for municipalities to address this very need. Another, more traditional method is to get out and meet people (not wait for them to show up at the town council meetings). Town council members attend many events today which is a positive step though lacking in structure that would facilitate and encourage dialogue with council members. Overall, the town council members should be more approachable for discussion with community members and, wherever possible/appropriate have a Town Council tent at events where one or two members could be available for discussion (as was done at the street fair). Finally, quarterly weekend afternoon meetings could become a forum for feedback on all issues.
Towns nearby have made strides towards revitalizing their downtowns. Ours remains stagnant without a long-term plan for the changes we all want to make. We need better outreach to local businesses and property owners with the express intent of a public/private partnership aimed at improving the downtown. Susan and I want to launch a Downtown Redevelopment Taskforce to conduct research, engage the community, and propose a clear set of proposals for revitalizing the downtown. We recently met with two business owners who have never been approached by the Township leadership and had specific needs they articulated. We have heard from them and from township residents that crossing Springfield Avenue is risky and crosswalks are often ignored. New Providence has taken aggressive steps to make cross walks safer and we should too. There is much more that residents and business owners have had to say; we should take their ideas seriously and adopt strategies to solve their problems.
We believe the biggest concern for residents is a lack of communication and transparency from town government. We’d like to see more proactive communications and not the approach we have now where the only source is the town website - not exactly a place where busy families spend a lot of time. We used to receive a Township newsletter that was an easy way to understand what was going on. Community forums on Facebook are often crowded with more vitriol than fact. We would like to see a Berkeley Heights Township social media engagement plan where facts and information could prevail. The township needs an electronic billboard like those used by the High School to communicate events and activities. We should hold quarterly meetings on weekend afternoons to update residents on all issues, and get their feedback at a convenient time for them. We should also restore relations with the GL TV studio and bring back their news coverage of Township events.
Along with better communication, we ought to give townspeople a better way to provide their input and feedback. There are many applications that enable surveys and should be included in proactive town council communications. We recently received an example of an application that is designed specifically for municipalities to address this very need. Another, more traditional method is to get out and meet people (not wait for them to show up at the town council meetings). Town council members attend many events today which is a positive step though lacking in structure that would facilitate and encourage dialogue with council members. Overall, the town council members should be more approachable for discussion with community members and, wherever possible/appropriate have a Town Council tent at events where one or two members could be available for discussion (as was done at the street fair). Finally, quarterly weekend afternoon meetings could become a forum for feedback on all issues.  
Towns nearby have made strides towards revitalizing their downtowns. Ours remains stagnant without a long-term plan for the changes we all want to make. We need better outreach to local businesses and property owners with the express intent of a public/private partnership aimed at improving the downtown. Susan and I want to launch a Downtown Redevelopment Taskforce to conduct research, engage the community, and propose a clear set of proposals for revitalizing the downtown. We recently met with two business owners who have never been approached by the Township leadership and had specific needs they articulated.  We have heard from them and from township residents that crossing Springfield Avenue is risky and crosswalks are often ignored. New Providence has taken aggressive steps to make cross walks safer and we should too. There is much more that residents and business owners have had to say; we should take their ideas seriously and adopt strategies to solve their problems.
The residents of Berkeley Heights desire to maintain the basic character of what is a great community. They want to keep the small town feel that has existed for generations. The mandates of the NJ Supreme Court that will necessitate additional housing units in our township need to be monitored to insure that, to the extent possible, they don't result in dramatic changes. As a Council member, I would endeavor to see that whatever development takes place is in accordance with our Master Plan as well as complying with the mandates of the courts.
It is incumbent upon the municipal government to make every effort to see that the residents are informed of issues that have an impact on them. Major issues such as the annual budget, capital expenditures, significant ordinances such as parking requirements, traffic control, and other major agenda items should be well publicized beyond simply listing those items on an agenda. There are communication tools available now (Swift Alert and ENews) that can enhance the public's ability to be informed. There should be an effort made to reach out to persons not on these systems to join them. One way of doing this would be to include this information on an info card that could be inserted into everyone's annual property tax notice. Using TAP and the Township's Facebook page are other means to help inform the public. It is important that we give the public the opportunity to let us know their opinions so we are in a better position to make the decisions that we are elected to do.
There have been a number of improvements made to the downtown area in the past few years such as street lighting, sidewalk pavers, and banners. It has become much more attractive. We need to be sure that there are not existing impediments to potential and current business owners that impacts their ability to attract more customers. Obviously the sustainability of the business and the economy will be the main factors in whether a business will thrive or not, but whatever the town can do to enhance their ability to succeed needs to be explored. Town-wide promotions such as the recent Restaurant Week and the annual Tree Lighting/Winter Walk are good examples of low cost incentives that can benefit our local vendors.

VOTE411.org logo

Disclaimer:

All statements and videos are posted directly by the candidate, unedited by the League of Women Voters and do not express the views of the League. The League never supports or opposes candidates or political parties.