Chesilhurst Borough Council
COUNCILThe Chesilhurst Borough Council establishes laws, ordinances, and policies for the municipality.The Chesilhurst Borough governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesilhurst,_New_Jersey,
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Maria C. Littles
What do you consider the top priority(ies) in the next municipal budget and how will you minimize impact on taxpayers? Please discuss no more than three priorities.
What do you consider the most important issue facing the municipality today and how would you address the issue if elected to office?
What is your view on consolidation of municipalities and/or sharing services with neighboring municipalities?
What would you to to promote economic development and attract businesses to the municipality?
To develop a plan to provide a continuation of basic services in the event the budget is impacted by cuts in funding. As a member of Council I will work with the governing body to review the current budget to determine the critical services such as police and trash pick-up. Sacrifices might need to be made which include cancellation of special events or salary freezes.
The second priority will be to step up OEM plans to better prepare our Borough in the event of a recurrence of COVID-19 or other disasters. There is a need to insure each resident can be contacted with information that may be time sensitive. The SWIFT 911 program and establishing a robocall system are vital for communications and will be pushed as a human services campaign.
The tie is between the rising costs for services and a smart growth plan. Services that are outsourced due to a lack of internal certified personnel will be reviewed. I will look at ways we can either provide training for our current staff or join a cooperative to take on tasks. Personnel benefits and other non-tangible costs will also be scrutinized and reviewed for cost-cutting options without or minimizing jeopardy to benefits.
Smart growth will be contingent on our our aggressively competing to encourage local business and residential growth. Our master plan must be fluid and adaptable as it controls the growth and impact on the resources. I will work with the Economic Development Committee and Planning Board to rework the Master Plan.
To consolidate our municipality would take away the uniqueness of the Borough. We offer amenities that cannot be found in other areas. To lose this would take away the “country home” feeling one gets when one moves here. There are generations that grow up here and return as adults. To consolidate the Borough into a larger entity would lessen that appeal and may also cause an increase in the financial burden that could not be supported by a large number of the current residents.
We are currently participating in shared service agreements. I am willing to research and discuss any sharing options that will lessen the financial burden on our community without negatively impacting the residents.
I will start by talking to the current business owners and residents to find out their reasons for choosing the Borough to live in or open a business here. I will open discussions about how to work together to highlight and bring attention to our assets and offerings. Working with the South Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Camden County Regional Chamber of Commerce and other business associations will help develop networks and business fairs to attract new business and those looking to relocate. I will work with the Council and Planning Board to review and revise ordinances that would make the Borough more “business friendly”. Last but not least; work needs to be done to advertise the greatness of locating a business in our Borough.
There are 2 top priorities that will impact the next budget, Environmental and Safety concerns. We are a community that lives in the Pine Barrens area of NJ and may be impacted by DEP reforms in response to climate change. I am proposing upgrades in our waste management processes specifically recycling, that could offset the costs of anticipated changes to provide for citizens impacted by extreme weather conditions.
In the area of safety we should investigate the probability of what long term effects the COVID-19 mandates will have on future spending. As businesses and offices open up there may be permanent changes necessary which may not be covered by existing aid. We should begin looking at Grants to help and keep the public informed.
The most important issue we face in the Borough is the changing demographic. We have an aging population and those homes that are being sold have been purchased by older adults as well as young families. The answer to this issue of an aging community would be to focus on aging in place strategies. There are too many homes being lost by elderly residents who have raised families and lived in the community for decades.Many of the services and day programs are a distance away and it is not cost effective for them to stay at home. Our community would be better served by creating housing opportunities for young people who grew up in the community. This may also draw businesses and job opportunities as well as balance the age disparity.
I am in agreement with establishing shared service agreements with other municipalities when necessary, as a cost saving mechanism but only after looking at the long term effect of the relationship. We have a small town so it is important that we keep our individuality.
To promote economic development it is important to review the long term development plan and determine when sewer and water access for businesses would be feasible. Businesses need to know we have those systems in place as a part of their decision to locate in the Borough. As part of that plan we should be looking for ways to protect animal habitats and have a solid recycling policy as a part of our plans to protect the environment. These preliminary steps will help to attract businesses and potential homeowners.
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