Cranbury is a fantastic town to live in but, as with many things in life, there is room for improvement in some areas. To begin with, we need better communication to aid in our community-wide connection. In the past, I suggested a re-vamped website/online presence as well as dedicated newspaper. Additionally, Cranbury can benefit from more outreach endeavors to further bring our community together and re-ignite civic engagement in more of its residents! The issue of growth in Cranbury is also of concern. We have to make sure that the town grows responsibly and at a rate the follows the master plan. It is imperative that we don't loose sight of our residents needs and infrastructure strains as the town grows.
Cranbury is a unique town that is able to offer its residents a superior quality of life while still keeping its tax rates comparatively lower than its neighbors. Economic shifts, previous leadership choices as well as wisdom that went into devising the master plan are to be applauded for this. Current leadership has offered Cranbury a historic tax rate decrease that should remain stable for a few years to come so I don't anticipate an increase in property taxes in the near future.
The concept of responsible growth in Cranbury takes into consideration the environmental impact of such growth. Collaboration with the environmental experts in implementing "greener endeavors"will be key. Dredging Brainerd Lake would significantly reduce, if not remove the current need for weed killers in the lake to limit plant overgrowth in the water. By bringing an electrical charging station to Cranbury, we could encourage the shift to electrical vehicles. We could encourage the local warehouse trucks to do the same by offering some kick backs for electrifying their fleet. Cranbury could also continue to improve it's system of foot and bike paths to encourage walking instead of driving through the town.
Cranbury township is the bridge between Middlesex and Mercer county. While it's important to nurture the community within Cranbury, it is equally important to foster the ties with neighboring municipalities.
In my opinion, an accomplished township committee is comprised of individuals coming together to govern a town without prejudice or personal gain, but rather a love for its constituents and success of the town. I see no place for party politics in that equation and, if elected, I excitedly look forward to working hand in hand with everyone.
I am the right choice for the position of committeewoman because I am available for the job, willing to do the work and eager to start! My international background, knowledge of multiple languages and world cultures will allow empower my outreach ventures. Outreach is key in building a community and it is currently lacking. Living on a farm raising sheep allows me first hand insight into the experiences our farmers in Cranbury are facing. I intend to be a voice for them in addition to everyone else. I see every resident as equal and I value their concerns.
Major issues facing Cranbury are traffic, the school student body size, and communication. I will provide a fresh perspective for careful planning on these issues. I will work with stakeholders to adopt a Complete Streets Policy for planning, designing and building streets that meet the needs of bikes, pedestrians and motor vehicles. An emphasis on smart growth will maintain a manageable student body size and help continue our current Princeton High School send-receive agreement. Improved communication can start with an overhaul of the township website and reintroduction of the local newsletter, helping residents become more engaged in township decisions. This will naturally lead to improved communication and better governance in our town.
Property taxes should continue to be kept as low as possible through fiscal responsibility and careful budgeting and planning. In my tenure as Chairperson of the Environmental Commission, I have always been able to “do more with less” by, for example, funding projects with grants and coordinating municipal-volunteer partnerships to reduce costs to the township. As a TC member, I will continue to use this strategy during budget discussions. Municipal funds belong to each and every taxpayer and should be spent prudently with a constant eye on fixed and variable costs and debt. I will make maximum use of grants provided by the state and county to complete large capital projects and will work to keep debt low, just as we do in our households.
Every choice we make as a town has an environmental component, so township-wide environmental issues require a holistic approach. For example, as we build warehouses, we need to look at the corresponding traffic and its connection to public health and safety. I am currently working with the TC traffic subcommittee to obtain a grant to conduct a bike and pedestrian audit. This audit will identify traffic issues and help the township create future bike and walking paths. Also, I have made specific recommendations to update the conservation and sustainability chapters for the township’s Master Plan re-exam. These include helping Cranbury to become an electric vehicle friendly town and increasing energy efficiency in our municipal buildings.
As a TC member elected by Cranbury residents, I will serve and make decisions in the best interests of Cranbury. At the same time, it’s important for neighbors to be on good terms and to have positive relationships in case issues arise where we need to collaborate to find solutions. I would open the lines of communication and identify areas where we have common goals, such as clean air and water, safety and the economy. Development on our borders and traffic are issues that face our town, and a dialog at all levels of government is necessary to identify ways we can work together that will benefit Cranbury and also lead to regional solutions. Boundaries can be drawn in many ways, but we are connected with our waterways, air and economy.
I do not believe party affiliation has a major impact on governing at the local level. As a member of the Township Committee, I will work hard to represent all of my constituents, regardless of their party affiliation. Effective local government is about personal relationships with residents and face-to-face communication. I believe these communication skills are a strength of mine, and I look forward to working with other TC members and with township professionals and volunteers as a cohesive team with the common goal of optimizing the quality of life for all Cranbury residents.
I am an inquisitive person with a collaborative leadership style. My PhD in Environmental Science, my science teaching and outreach experience, and my two decades of volunteer commitment to Cranbury will bring a unique perspective to TC discussions and decisions. I started as a Cranbury School lunchtime playground coordinator and moved on to volunteer with the PTO, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and the Parks Commission. I have been EC Chairperson for the past six years, where residents may have seen me building trails, talking about sustainability, leading a stream clean up or constructing a rain garden in Village Park -- it’s my passion. Now I want to move from holding an advisory position with the township government into a policy-making role.
I do not see "major issues' but currently what needs the most attention is:
1. DISTRIBUTION CENTER TRAFFIC
3. MASTER PLAN
1. I would work collaboratively with all stakeholders to devise a long term traffic solution for DISTRIBUTION CENTER TRAFFIC with a staging/waiting area that softens the burden on existing neighbors.
2. I would encourage a multifaceted approach to COMMUNICATION which includes social media, frequent website updates, surveys, and mailings.
3. The MASTER PLAN is critical to maintaining the balance between residential and commercial land use. Thoughtful planning avoids unanticipated enrollment swings for the school district with the benefit of the best possible tax rate.
Property taxes were reduced as part of a long term strategic financial plan. I would work within the current budget to assure the quality of life for residents is maintained while capitalizing on ways to keep our tax rate as low as possible. I relocated to Cranbury twice in the past 20 years.; each time because of the quality of life it affords me and my family. Having served as the Welcome Director for the American School of Paris I understand the need to welcome residents, get them involved in their community, and maintain those intangibles which are unique to Cranbury. It is indeed a special place and I am determined to keep it that way.
With my exposure as a school board member (lead and air quality testing, building energy audits) and my past experience as an Industrial Chemist writing Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), I feel qualified to recognize and identify projects which would be within the Township's scope to drive. In the case of road work I would encourage where applicable exploring the options of "Grasscrete" (cast on site cellular reinforced concrete systems) or Permeable Paving Systems which allow rainwater to either pass through the paving material itself or run off through the joints. Our campaign addressed the inevitable NJ Plastic Bag Bill (S2776) by purchasing reusable bags with a QR code which allows residents a quick link to the website.
Building positive relationships with surrounding municipal neighbors if done in the right climate can be a win win. Specifically I would bring to the table the awareness of township decisions on school districts. I would also consider larger topics that require teaming up to get State support.
I have worked non partisan on committees with three separate boards. I have learned to appreciate all voices and make fact based decisions based on what is best for my constituents. I strive to be inquiry based and stay in front of issues. It is my nature to be welcoming and supportive while protecting the body I have a sworn oath to serve.
Serving 11 yrs. on the Cranbury School Board and the Princeton Board Rep for 9 yrs. plus Liaison to the Library has given me the governance and confidentiality training along with the needed discretion that would make me a strong and qualified committeeman. As a person, I work hard to be a motivator and welcome others. In my tenure as the Princeton Public Schools Rep we approved the Send Receive Agreement. This took an ability to work closely with 2 boards, administrators, 2 communities, and the press. As facilities chair, our committee worked on 3 LRFP's including many HVAC and Roofing projects, the new tennis courts, aeration of the sports fields and clear signage on all entrances. EXPERIENCE, COMMITMENT, & COMMUNITY is what I can offer.
Major Issues facing Cranbury:
1) BRAINERD LAKE DREDGING PROJECT - I propose to use my experience in material handling to ensure the process is as cost effective and as well managed as possible.
2) QUALITY OF ENVIRONMENT - I am committed to assessing each issue with care and concern and to follow the appropriate manner by which they should be addressed.
3) WAREHOUSE TRUCK SOLUTIONS - I would work with the Township Committee to discover long term solutions for the trucks that are waiting to make deliveries and for effective traffic patterns.
Cranbury has the lowest municipal taxes in Middlesex County. I plan to "stay the course." and continue to maintain a sufficient surplus, while keeping the taxes under control.
The NJ Department of Environmental Protection addresses many of these issues. I would support the laws and regulations that govern what is in the best interest of the community and its environment.
Facilitating positive relationships with municipal neighbors requires an understanding of their concerns. One of the challenges to be addressed is public safety, particularly solutions to deal with warehouse traffic.
I am an independent thinker. I believe that each person has a right to exercise their right to do what they believe is best for the community and country. Common sense is the best barometer.
My experiences have prepared me to make a meaningful contribution to the Township Committee. I served on governmental Boards and Committees, such as the Plainsboro Zoning Board and Bureau of Fire Prevention. I was owner/operator of South River Sand Company over 30 years, and National Silica Sand Association Engineering Committee member. For nearly two decades, I was chairman of the First Presbyterian Church Senior Breakfast at which informational speakers were presented, and was elected a Church Elder. I am a US Air Force Veteran, having served as an aircraft electrician instructor. As a person with Parkinson's Disease I have a personal perspective on ADA compliance. A Four Seasons resident, Barbara Wright, Cranbury native is my wife.