TO THE EDITOR: This past week’s issue of The Bernardsville News featured the headline, “Affordable housing focus of campaign” in reference to the race for Bedminster Township Committee.
As I read further, I came to understand that it was the issue being created by the local Democrats running for office.
I sit on many boards in Bedminster, including serving as the chair of the Bedminster Land Use Board, president of my local condo association and treasurer of the Hills Village North Master Association. I’ve never seen or heard from these folks, and by their own admission, they do not serve in any voluntary capacities with the town, their homeowner associations, the Bedminster School or any other organizations.
Yet they are defining the issues? I highly doubt it. Based on the article, both were hard pressed to identify actual issues in dispute.
The fact is, both the Bedminster Township Committee and the Land Use Board with leadership from Mayor Larry Jacobs have been extremely proactive in anticipating, as opposed to reacting to, the real issues facing our community.
Over the past 18 months, the pandemic has introduced a host of issues that Bedminster had to deal with head-on. Our residents have faced food challenges, loss of income and threats to their very health.
In each and every instance, the mayor and committee have risen to the challenge and served the interests of the community at large, be it in the form of a local food pantry, vaccine clinics, COVID information resources or access to parks and trails in the midst of crushing lockdowns.
Some of the problems facing us come from external sources we have little direct control over, but we work them aggressively regardless. For example, persistent power outages in The Hills and poor cable service are two issues that the Township Committee has leveraged their influence to address.
As a result, we’ve seen dramatic improvements in JCP&L’s performance, and Altice has now agreed to run fiber to the home for all Hills residents. These aren’t headline grabbing issues, but they are the ones residents want solved.
Most recently, Mayor Jacobs, through our Planning Board, initiated a detailed study with the county to look at the AT&T property. AT&T is the single largest commercial ratepayer and comprises a significant portion of the Bedminster tax base.
They are now a Texas-based company, and their lease on the campus expires in 2023. Their departure would have a significant impact on the Bedminster taxpayer.
We have worked exhaustively with the landlord, AT&T, our planners and outside consultants to understand our options and identify preferred outcomes. Rather than letting fate determine our future, we are driving the project to ensure the most favorable results for our residents.
Be it the unexpected, including responses to floods or fire, or the mundane, like recycling containers or speed signs, the mayor and committee proactively tackle the problems and get results.
Traffic safety improvements on Routes 202/206? Check. Addressing the eyesores in Pluckemin Village? Check. Revamping the budget in times of crisis to keep taxes flat? Check.
On Nov. 2, I plan on voting for the team that consistently works the issues, as opposed to creating the headlines.
Please join me in re-electing Mayor Larry Jacobs and Committeewoman Renee Mareski to the Bedminster Township Committee.
Editor’s note: This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.