As a member of our Planning Board, I took part in seeing through the application for the Mill project before it was taken over by new developers. As an advocate for the Borough and its residents, I have stayed close to the project and followed the updates from Council and the Redevelopment Committee. The new developers have a larger scope in mind and therefore have begun the process of revising their plans which will go before the Planning Board again by the end of the year. I will continue to work to ensure that any projects undertaken in the borough are done for the benefit of Hightstown and the community at large. This project represents a great opportunity to give our downtown a boost and improve property values in the surrounding area.
My neighbors and I are incredibly excited at the progress that's taken place on the Peddie Lake dam. This project has a long, storied past but the recent progress, due to the efforts of Council and the local volunteers comprising the Bridge Committee, is a gleaming example of what can be accomplished to make our town beautiful, safe, and appealing without adding to our budget. Within a few weeks, the sidewalks and landscaping will be completed and the bridge will be open to the public. With the bridge in place and our greenway complete again, I'd like to ensure that our downtown is recognized for its beauty by continuing to seek opportunities to improve and maintain the natural and historic landmarks that make Historic Hightstown stand out.
Hightstown must continue to pursue opportunities to create efficiencies by partnering with neighboring municipalities. There is a push at the state level toward municipal consolidation in New Jersey, and due to our town’s unique challenges and tax burden, we have been ahead of the curve in taking advantage of shared service opportunities as well as utilizing county and state resources to save the Borough money. Hightstown has also found growth opportunity in applying for grants jointly with nearby municipalities, which can yield enhanced benefits for taxpayers while covering repairs and maintenance on the aging infrastructure that exists throughout the state, but can be difficult for smaller municipalities like ours to absorb on our own.
As someone who lives in Hightstown and works in nearby East Windsor, I am extremely familiar with our locality and spend a lot of time walking and biking our streets and sidewalks. I am deeply committed to Hightstown’s walkability and creating safe ways for children and adults to get where they are going without adding to the physically and environmentally hazardous automotive traffic associated with having a state highway running through our downtown. In my role as Chair of Hightstown’s Complete Streets Committee I have advocated on behalf of Hightstown before state and county planning offices, as well as our regional planning board and that of our neighbors in East Windsor. I have found that in seeking these opportunities for the Borough,
As an Eagle Scout, I live by the philosophy that we should always leave a place better than we found it. This way of thinking has guided me throughout my career and in my personal life as I raise my family. I am committed to being a good neighbor and to limiting my impact on the environment, which means having a pragmatic approach to decision-making that considers all aspects and possible outcomes. As our community grows, we must be mindful of how we proceed to ensure we do so in a way that is sustainable and practical. Being of this mind, I will ensure that Hightstown Borough is resilient, both financially and in terms of its infrastructure and natural resources, and I will encourage the same type of thinking among my colleagues.
My role will be to ensure that the developer understands how crucial the completion of this project is to our residents. I want to see some tangible progress, and will work together with Mayor and Council and the developer to see that this happens as soon as possible. Many of our residents have told me that they have waited decades for this redevelopment. When they see construction started on a large scale, it will help to ease their long term feelings that this project would never happen.
I will work along with members of council, our engineer, the construction companies and members of the public to bring this long awaited bridge project to conclusion on schedule, or ahead of schedule if possible.
I think that there are savings to be found in the Borough budget, which must continuously be scrutinized. I have more than ten years of experience specifically with the Borough budget which will allow me to examine every line to locate savings, and make suggestions to my fellow council members.
We must pursue a developer for the lakefront redevelopment, and examine other areas in town that are in need of redevelopment. There are sites around Hightstown that are in immediate need of redevelopment in the near future, all which have the capability of improving the Borough's overall look, and easing the tax burden on our residents.
The new Borough hall and police building are the two most immediate concerns now and in the long term future.
Both projects will be costly, so we must balance need and fiscal responsibility, while building and renovating to last for many decades.
I have experience with the requirements and rules governed by New Jersey regarding the special needs when constructing a police station, as I was directly involved with a proposed expansion and then a renovation in the old police station on North Main Street.
Major purchases proposed by Department heads must be carefully studied, and they must be able to justify these expenditures over the long term for the betterment of everyone in Hightstown.
I spent 33 years as a member of the Hightstown Police Department; the last 10 years as Chief of Police. I composed, introduced, defended, and had 10 budgets approved, all while ending each year under budget. I also attended and participated in nearly every Council meeting and budget hearing; more than 200 meetings in that period. I have at least the same amount of experience in Borough matters, if not more than some sitting council members. Experience does matter!
I have served for more than a decade as a Commissioner with the Hightstown Housing Authority, now as Chairmen. We also are tasked with a large budget every year, and are answerable to HUD, the State of New Jersey, Mayor and Council, and most importantly, the residents.