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Bernards Township Committee {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Bernards Township Committee is comprised of five members, elected by the public for three-year terms of office on a staggered schedule, with one or two seats coming up for election each year. All members have equal power and may vote on all issues. Township Committee hold all legislative and executive powers of the Township (except in matters of health). At the annual Reorganization meeting held in January, the Mayor is elected by the committee from among its members.

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  • Candidate picture

    James Baldassare Jr.
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Sophia Chadda
    (Dem)

  • Kathleen M. Grochala
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Jonathan Matthew Sandler
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

What are your short-term and long-term plans to address the budgetary and economic impacts of COVID-19 in our municipality?

Looking ahead to a post-pandemic future, what are we learning from the impact of the COVID-19 public health crisis on municipal operations that will change how municipalities operate in the future?

Campaign Address PO Box 244 Liberty Corner, NJ 07938
Website www.baldassaregorchala.com
BT is fortunate in that it is well positioned to manage taxes and deal with future expenditures. BT’s longstanding debt free and Pay as You Go approach, together with keeping adequate financial reserves, has put BT in an enviable position.

Keeping BT debt free effectively reduces the price of capital assets for Bernards compared to other towns that borrow. Every tax dollar spent on interest is a taxpayer dollar wasted! Maintaining strong reserves (it’s like working capital) helps BT avoid borrowing in anticipation of tax revenue and keeps BT strong and flexible. BT continuously monitors property assessments thereby minimizing expensive tax appeal litigation. Proper budgetary planning through a ten-year lens helps anticipate expenditures and sources of revenue thereby avoiding abrupt changes in the tax levy. BT’s financial strength allowed BT to avoid laying off municipal staff, keeping our police, first responders, and other personnel available to continue to serve our residents.
Looking ahead to the future, paying as you go, carrying no debt, keeping adequate reserves on hand, maintaining accurate and current tax base valuations, sound long term planning, and vision are the keys to good governance including managing the effects of unforeseen events such as the COVID-19. This is the approach BT should continue to follow.
Campaign Address Chadda and Sandler for Bernards Township Committee PO BOX 5352 Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
Campaign Email chaddasandler@gmail.com
Website chaddasandler2020.com
Should Bernards Township residents elect me to the Township Committee, I will work to stabilize our property taxes and restore our local economy by increasing ratables through supporting our local businesses and attracting more small businesses. Last year, I visited more than 100 local businesses and heard the concerns of the business owners which, I’m confident, are now magnified due to COVID-19. I propose creating an economic development commission which will be charged with stimulating our economy. By rejuvenating our business districts, Bernards Township becomes an even more desirable location to live or visit, which will increase the vibrancy and economic vitality of local businesses, reduce our property tax burden, and protect the value of our homes. In the short term, I will work with my colleagues and appropriate municipal department heads to analyze the budget and implement savings which would be passed to property owners.
There are many lessons we learned during the pandemic, perhaps most importantly that we need to have a trustworthy, reliable method to convey vital information to residents. I was shocked that our township website was hacked, made inaccessible and held for ransom. The website was “down” for an extremely long time and necessary information could not be accessed. More disturbing, the website was not secured and, amazingly, is still unsecured. Township officials have also still not informed residents what other systems were impacted and what, if any, personal information was compromised. As a member of the Township Committee, I will work to ensure our IT systems and residents’ information are secured and that the township website is secure, user-friendly, updated, and has the resources necessary to provide two-way communication between residents and township officials. I will also work with JCP&L to try and minimize future power outages.
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Campaign Address Chadda and Sandler for Bernards Township Committee PO BOX 5352 Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
Campaign Email chaddasandler@gmail.com
Website http://chaddasandler2020.com/
With forward thinking and proactive leadership, the budgetary and economic impacts on Bernards Township can be minimized. In the short-term, it is critical that we support our local businesses to ensure their success. If elected to the Township Committee, I would work to ease local zoning ordinances to allow our businesses to operate in the most effective way given the restrictions in place. In the long-term, I would support the creation of an Economic Development Commission to provide our businesses a direct channel to local government to ensure that they get the support needed not only to survive, but to thrive. Supporting our existing small businesses and encouraging new businesses to come to town will stabilize our property taxes and make Bernards Township more desirable, thus maximizing home values. I will also closely scrutinize the municipal budget to ensure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely, with any savings going back into the pockets of the taxpayers.
First, the pandemic has shown the importance of transparency and communication between local government and residents. As a result, I was shocked to find that the Township Committee decided to stop taking public comment by email, forcing residents to choose between concerns over their health and participating in local government. If elected, I would make it a priority to have public comment once again accepted by email so that residents do not have to make this unfair choice. Second, having a lengthy power outage in the midst of a pandemic made it apparent that Bernards needs to be proactive to ensure that power outages are less frequent, and shorter when they do occur. This involves working directly with JCP&L to understand what the Township can do proactively, and also to hold JCP&L accountable on their end to prevent future outages. Finally, if elected, I will work to improve and further develop the Township's cyber security and infrastructure to prevent another cyber attack.