TO THE EDITOR: I recently came across a flier from the local Democrats running for office in Bedminster. It was entitled, “Bedminster…Unique and Exceptional.”
I couldn’t agree more!
How did we get there? Through the hard work and dedication of the Bedminster Township Committee, headed by Mayor Larry Jacobs and supported by Committeewoman Renee Mareski, the Republican candidates for re-election.
Larry has led the committee through nine years of budget work, scrutinizing every line item to protect the interests of taxpayers. The results he has delivered are unequivocal: Bedminster leads in low taxes in all of Somerset County.
But leadership is also about making tough calls. Our bucolic town is faced with challenges that have to be met head-on with planning and proactivity.
Faced with new state-mandated affordable housing requirements, Larry and the Land Use Board led the township’s response to make sure that the scope and scale of these projects were kept in check, while ensuring a design that was appropriate to Bedminster.
And with the possible departure of AT&T from its former corporate headquarters, Larry has championed the effort with the landlord and county officials to preserve the viability of the campus. Larry is not about to leave Bedminster taxpayers on the hook for an empty building.
Never one to take no for an answer, he tirelessly advocates for Bedminster. With an accident-prone intersection at River Road and 202/206, Larry lobbied the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to make needed improvements in signaling and signage.
When the utility companies couldn’t deliver, he pushed the Township Committee to address the issues and effect change.
And while others casually dismissed the idea of a weekly farmers market to support both residents and local agriculture, Larry pushed forward, creating what has become the new town square every Saturday morning. You’ll see him there weekly, directing traffic and greeting customers.
But perhaps the greatest testimony to his leadership has been his unwavering response in times of crisis.
During his tenure as mayor, he has helped Bedminster respond to the global pandemic, keeping our parks and trails open, ensuring folks had access to COVID information and vaccinations, and helping those who were food challenged.
When fire tragically stuck the Village Green section of The Hills, Larry cut through the red tape, pushed for a rapid response by the agencies involved and directed a donation drive to help those in need.
When Ida flooded roads and threatened life and property, Larry worked with our first responders and FEMA to make sure citizens received the support they needed, both during and after the storm.
Folks, Bedminster needs a leader like Larry.
Larry’s running mate, Renee Mareski, is the voice of the people. She is amazingly astute at listening to the needs of Bedminster residents and artfully crafting solutions.
As a former member and later chair of the Environmental Commission, Renee has heeded the calls to embrace and preserve Bedminster’s rich ecosystem – championing environmental programming, preserving the Bedminster Pond and driving (pun intended) the push for our municipal fleet to go electric.
As a longtime resident of The Hills, Renee has worked to improve pedestrian safety, advocated for affordable housing residents and been the principal liaison to the Homeowner’s Association community.
She knows the pressures that the combination of taxes and association fees places on residents, and is always asking the question, “Do we really need to spend that money?”
And the Farmers Market? You may not realize it, but Renee is on the set-up crew, arriving early every Saturday morning to get things in place before leaving to work her second job as a horse riding instructor for children with special needs.
Bedminster is a better place because of the contributions Larry and Renee make to our town. They have dedicated their time and energy to municipal service, and can leverage their deep experience to address the challenges and issues that will confront us in the years to come.
Come Nov. 2, I strongly encourage you to vote for the team that has consistently demonstrated both leadership and dedication, and delivered strong results. Join me in voting to re-elect Larry Jacobs and Renee Mareski to the Bedminster Township Committee.
R. COLIN HICKEY
Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the Bedminster Township Committee. This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.