243 Hedgerow Road
1) Increasing municipal debt accrued by Bridgewater Township. I ran a small business for 30+ years. Any type of debt should be for long term capital items like building and land, and not road repair. The budget has stayed at $42 M for seven years. What has been cut is not only fat, but also the meat and bones. Debt has roughly doubled form $857 per person to over $1,500 per person and it is not sustainable.
2) Planning board grants too many variances especially on overages of impervious surfaces and replacement shrubs. This will lead to more flooding in the flood prone areas of Bridgewater. It is a matter of quality over quantity. Another retail mall does not bring in high-paying jobs allowing employees to live in town. It brings crime overburdening our police, more traffic and most importantly, more flooding as stands of trees are replaced with parking lots. I was environmental trustee of Sunset Lake Community Club and got to see first-hand the effects of improper road repair and storm drain design on the composition and excessive amounts of silt flowing into Sunset Lake during heavy rain events.
I have been impressed by other New Jersey municipalities that have passed Heritage Tree ordinances. Assessing the impact of developers’ plans to cut down trees is one of the initial steps of the planning process, not one of the last steps addressed before the bulldozers arrive on a site.
Outgoing Mayor Dan Hayes acted quickly in hiring three Class III police officers for the township schools to supplement the existing school resource officers. I look forward to reviewing the effectiveness of the program to see if it needs to be expanded.
25 Danberry Lane
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
As part of a passion for public service, I have been involved in politics and government for 25 years. Over the last 12 years living in Bridgewater I have been particularly active-- currently as Vice Chairman of the Zoning Board or Adjustment and with the local Republican Party as Municipal Chairman. Prior to moving to Bridgewater, my family lived in Green Brook where I served on the Township Committee for three years, including one year as Deputy Mayor.
The most important action our Township Council takes is adoption of the annual budget because of its direct impact on your wallet and the desirability of our community as a place to live. On Council, I will continue our proud fiscally conservative history of providing needed services in a cost-effective manner. Bridgewater’s government will live within its means and where needed will make tough priority decisions-- just like the ones made at kitchen tables in every home in town. I am a problem solver with a strong history of generating effective solutions to tough challenges.
While a principal focus will continue to be each year’s budget, Mayor and Council should also adopt a long-range spending framework of at least three years to avoid expensive surprises and proactively plan for changes in the community. An important component of our spending over the next several years will be identification and execution of a comprehensive road repair plan, starting with a public report of current conditions within 90 days of taking office.
Bridgewater is nearly at complete build-out. A slow, traffic-choked drive on our main roads at peak times tells this challenging story in a more alarming way-- the residential character of our community is under attack along with our collective quality of life. We must be exceedingly careful about the real and full impacts of any new development. Projects that look pretty on paper, promise new tax ratables, and make money for out-of-town developers but leave us with the long-term mess simply cannot happen.
Bridgewater needs a thorough and overdue update of its Master Plan to account for current conditions and anticipated future needs. Moving forward, any approvals for new development should protect us by including time limits and other reasonable restrictions, rather than being open-ended. While Bridgewater hugely values the employment opportunities and tax contributions of our vibrant commercial sector and will remain “Open for Business”, we must require that any new project place Bridgewater First. The Mayor and Council must work collaboratively here to shape the face of Bridgewater for years to come.
The much-publicized Center of Excellence project is a disaster that should go back to the drawing board to better reflect our community’s current needs. Promised and required traffic improvements along 202/206, the North-South spine of Bridgewater, remain elusive. Over the several years since planning for this project began, more questions have arisen than have been answered. The need for the proposed hotel seems to be very different now given all the other hotel projects within areas that are already zoned for this use. On Council, I will work collaboratively with the Mayor and fellow colleagues to appoint land use board members (Planning and Zoning) who strike the critical balance that complex projects require, and are never automatic, rubber stamp Yes votes.
Among the most important traits of an effective Councilperson are vision, ability to listen, sound judgment, willingness to work toward the common good, and an understanding of the impact today’s actions have on the future. My track record illustrates these qualities.
I work as a marketing and business development professional. I earned a B.A. from Brown University and M.B.A. from Rutgers University.
I am proud to be running on a ticket with Matthew Moench for Mayor and Timothy Ring for Council as the team committed to preserving the residential character of our community and implementing strong, fiscally conservative budget principles. Within my professional life and other activities, I subscribe to the values of the historic Athenian Oath, “We will transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better, and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”
I welcome discussion with anyone interested in helping to advance our community. Please contact me at email@example.com or (908) 722-9240.
Whether accomplished by ordinance, resolution, or policy document there are several high focus areas to address beyond the budget, road repairs, and land use issues noted in the answer to the first question. To improve transparency, Township Council needs to quickly identify ways to make key Council, Planning Board, and Zoning Board documents available electronically to the public. We must also consider appropriate monitors, projection screens, or other equipment for our public meeting room that allow audience members to see documents as they are being discussed.
Bridgewater also needs clear policies on management of the Township website and various social media accounts to prevent turning government assets into political mouthpieces. Another priority of mine will be lobbying county and state officials to improve the safety and efficiency of some of Bridgewater’s most challenging roads and intersections. We all know where they are and our Police Department frequently cleans up the accidents. It’s time to start making tangible improvements.
Finally, our Mayor and five Council members should set an example for the rest of the community by advocating meaningful causes that improve Bridgewater. For me, the first will be encouraging personal financial support for the Somerset Regional Animal Shelter or other similar organizations, particularly by families seeking to extend the love they have for their own pets by helping other, less fortunate animals. Second, I will be an unwavering voice that strengthens our rich cultural and religious tapestry and helps prevent vulnerabilities from arising by clearly expressing, in any available forum, that bigotry, hate, and intolerance have no place in Bridgewater.
Community safety, and the critical subset of school safety, is everyone’s responsibility. Bridgewater’s municipal government must continue and enhance its productive relationship with the Board of Education. On Council, I will work proactively with my colleagues, the Mayor, and the Police Chief to ensure that our collective knowledge and execution of best practices remains current within a changing landscape of threats. This includes effective use of School Resource and Special Law Enforcement Officers plus uniformed Police, as needed. Exchange of timely and accurate information with the public is critical. Proactive relationship building also applies to cultural and faith-based organizations and local businesses to keep all citizens safe.
Before one can talk about addressing challenges in Bridgewater, it is important to understand what Bridgewater what it is. I have lived in Bridgewater my entire life. I grew up in the Martinsville Section of town and have lived with my wife and daughters in the Green Knoll section of Bridgewater for the past 24 hours. I have been serving my community as a First Responder for the past 32 years. I have seen what makes Bridgewater the great town that it is. While Bridgewater is a great town, there are some challenges facing us - 1) Development and 2) Planning.
As one that has born and raised in Bridgewater, I have experienced the growth of Bridgewater first hand. We have limited space left for new development and it is critical that the Township’s Master Plan represents that. For those not familiar with the Master Plan, it is what defines the zoning throughout the township and what type of buildings are allowed to be built were. While we cannot completely eliminate development, we need to make sure that all new development is for the better of Bridgewater, and built in such a way that is consistent with the local neighborhood. The impact to our roads, the School System and burden on township services (police, EMS, fire, etc.) have to be considered. In order to accomplish this, we need to make sure that our master plan is updated to reflect the limited space left for development within Bridgewater. Our Planning Board (appointed solely by the Mayor) and the Board of Adjustment (appointed by the Township Council) carefully review any and all development applications to ensure that they are consistent with the intent of the Master Plan and that our Master Plan and Zoning laws are strictly enforced.
During a recent Planning Board meeting I attended, there was some discussion about the type of material that would be used on the exterior of a proposed hotel. A member of the Planning Board was concerned that the material was not appropriate for Bridgewater. The developer responded that the hotel company required the use of those materials. I find this unacceptable. We have no shortage of hotel companies looking to develop in Bridgewater. Developers looking to build in Bridgewater should not be dictating to us how they build- we must tell them the requirements to build in Bridgewater and if those requirements do not align with their business plan, than they will have to look for alternative locations to build in another town.
Regarding Planning, we need to start developing long term plans for the township. We need a road improvement plan, that looks several years out. The Administration needs to develop a list of roads and the current condition. Residents should be able to give input as well.
We must also change the way spending plans are prepared. Each year the Township prepares a budget for that year. There is little, if any review of three to five years out financial forecast. When the administration presents a budget to the council, it should include projections of capital purchases over the next 3-5 years, along with forecasts about number of employees that may retire and number of employees that the town may have to hire. There should be a schedule of which roads are slotted for re-pavement each year. We must also look at debt payments each year. The township should carefully review the costs of borrowing versus ‘paying cash’ for capital purchases and road improvements. We must work to reduce our dependency on borrowing money. With a long term plan to pay down debt and properly forecaster out expenses, we should be able to ensure a stable tax rate.
Currently, there are no new ordinances that should be a priority for the council. Rather the priority should be to review and update the existing Master Plan for the township, as well as review all existing ordinances to ensure that they are still applicable.
Yes, Municipal Government has a role in keeping our schools safe.
While the School Board is ultimately responsible for School Safety, it must be a partnership with local government and emergency responders. Law Enforcement, EMS, Fire and Emergency Management must all partner with the School District in conducting Hazard Assessments, to identify potential hazards within our schools. School District must then work to minimize those hazards. This may involve the need to invest in enhanced safety and security measures, updating student policies, changing procedures or other steps.
Lastly, local government must partner with school district to ensure that there is all well aligned plan for response to incidents on school properties.
243 hedgerow road
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
The biggest challenges facing our municipality is overdevelopment, poor conditions of our roads, and transparency. I plan to bring my expertise in capital construction to make sure development is implementing better traffic plans, control flooding, protecting trees and soliciting the community for input to make sure that we are bringing in businesses that continue to grow our town that also benefits the community. I also want to make sure that our roads are not only fixed but to use my background make sure they are fixed the right way the first time. Finally, it is time to bring our municipality into the 21st century and better transparency by live-streaming town council and planning board meetings.
I would like to revisit the master plan to include more environmental and sustainability for our township. This would include updating the tree ordinance, more LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Engineering Design) buildings, improving open space areas to include walking trails, community gardens and a dog park.
I would also implement a system to evaluate contractors so that the township get the quality work it deserves.
I believe municipal government has a role in keeping students safe as they are part of the responding services wether it be an active shooter, chemical or fire hazard, weather related disasters, and etc. In order to be able to provide the best emergency service we can to our students, we must ensure that we have adequately staffed police officers, firefighters, and emergency personnel and they are ready at all times. They also need to be trained properly to make sure they can handle and respond in the appropriate manner depending on the situation.
I want to make sure as a member of the township council that we are working as team to make sure our children are in a safe and nurturing environment.