LETTER: Vote Republican for a well-balanced Bedminster

EDITOR: As a long-time Bedminster resident, it is a source of pride to me that our town is a successful blend of a large rural area and a very developed area called The Hills.

In many ways, The Hills is a town unto themselves. We hire our own contractors for snow removal, garbage collection, landscapers and painters. We have our own rules and regulations that guide our neighborhoods in areas such as parking, outside lighting and maintenance of any patios/decking.

We do, however, look to the town to provide schools, roads, recreation space and a healthy economic atmosphere, and it is important that we have representatives on the Township Committee that can maintain the high marks we currently earn in Bedminster.

Doug Stevinson, a resident since 2004, and Gina Fernandez, a resident since 2006 and past resident of the Parkside neighborhood, understand the balance of the responsibilities of the homeowner associations and the responsibilities of the town.

As a current member of the Township Committee, Doug has been instrumental in controlling township spending and adopting budgets that keep our town taxes low. He is involved in helping to resolve issues that directly aect The Hills residents such as adding crosswalks on Robertson Road and improving the condition of the dog parks located in River Road Park and Burnt Mills Park. 

Additionally, he is actively advocating for improvements to be made to the age/income restricted community Pluckemin Park. 

Prior to being elected to the Township Committee, Doug’s experience as a member of the Bedminster Recreation Committee and past president of the Bedminster-Far Hills Little League illustrate that he is completely invested in our town.

Gina has shown her dedication to Bedminster by contributing to our children’s future, many of whom live in The Hills, in her tenure as vice president of the Bedminster PTO, chair of the Bernards High School Project Graduation for the 2017-18 school year, and 12 years as a Girl Scout Troop Leader.

Gina’s experience of working with many people to achieve success in these organizations will translate to success working on the numerous projects that the Township Committee is responsible for directing.

On Nov 5, please join me in supporting Doug Stevinson and Gina Fernandez for Bedminster Township Committee so we can continue to live in a well-balanced and well-loved town.

Bedminster Township

LETTER: ‘Don’t change anything in Bedminster’

EDITOR: Summer in Bedminster has been wonderful with so many great activities right in our own backyard.

Our Bedminster Farmer’s Market is tremendously successful and will continue through Saturday, Oct. 26, its last day for the year and also the date of our annual Bedminster Charities’ Fall Fest fund-raiser beneting seven Bedminster-based organizations, including the Bedminster Township School Parent-Teacher Organization, Center for Contemporary Art, Far Hills-Bedminster Fire Department, Far Hills-Bedminster First Aid Squad, Pottersville Volunteer Fire Company, Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House and Friends of the Clarence Dillon Library.

But as the weather gets a bit cooler, it is also crucial to remember another important date this fall, and that is Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5.

As we know, Bedminster is a very special place, unique in its rural and equestrian character, low taxes and safety. Residents, when asked how they like living in Bedminster as you visit door to door, say, “Please don’t change a thing, we love living in Bedminster!”

Bedminster has been fortunate to have leaders in our community that care deeply and put the time and eort into making sure that Bedminster does not lose these qualities that make us very proud and able to live here.

Township Committeeman Doug Stevinson and former PTO Vice President Gina Fernandez are two such individuals who have worked hard for Bedminster to protect the quality of our everyday life.

Doug is currently serving as Township Committeeman, elected in 2016. He is the township liaison to police and re departments and department of Public Works, as well as the Historic Preservation Commission.

Prior to his election as Township Committeeman, Doug had already been extremely involved as a member of the Bedminster Land Use Board, Recreation Committee, president of BedminsterFar Hills Little League and also with the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House.

In each of his assignments and on a day-to-day basis, Doug serves our residents well as he is able to utilize his legal acumen as an attorney and critically analyze issues in order to provide creative solutions.

He has worked, along with the Township Committee, to revitalize the River Road dog park, improve The Hills crosswalk and reduce Route 206 engine noise.

Doug is goal-oriented and takes each task presented as a challenge, making sure that he hits his mark in order to best represent Bedminster and its citizens.

Gina has been a resident of Bedminster since 2006 and has served very successfully as Bedminster PTO vice president, co-chairing the PTO Spring Fling fund-raiser, raising over $100,000 for Bedminster School over a three-year period.

She also chaired the Bernards High School Project Graduation for the 2017-18 school year.

In addition, as a volunteer Girl Scout Troop Leader for over 12 years, and also as an educator, Gina understands the work necessary for the success of a project and also knows the tremendous importance and value of building relationships within our community. She is an advocate for keeping our property taxes low, preserving open space and keeping our community safe.

Doug and Gina have repeatedly and consistently demonstrated their allegiance, commitment and dedication to Bedminster as leaders in our community.

As we look forward to a beautiful autumn in Bedminster, please remember to support Doug and Gina on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, so they may continue to be champions for Bedminster.

Bedminster Township

LETTER: Stevinson and Fernandez are ‘Champions for Bedminster’

EDITOR: Tuesday, June 4, is Primary Day. While some consider 2019 an off-year election, particularly given the absence of a senate or gubernatorial race, it still represents an important opportunity to support your local candidates running for office.

Here in Bedminster, we are fortunate to have two very qualified individuals running for Township Committee, Doug Stevinson and Gina Fernandez.

Committeeman Stevinson is completing his first term in office, and has served our community exceedingly well. A strong advocate for recreation and open space, he championed the creation of the new dog park at River Road Park, and oversaw the expansion of the hike and bike path to Burnt Mills Park.

Most recently, he was instrumental in delivering a budget that reduced appropriations for 2019 vs. 2018, allowing Bedminster to once again be a leader in low municipal taxes.

His 15 years of voluntary service have given him the leadership and experience to deal with the most complex aspects of municipal government, and he is viewed by colleagues and constituents alike as the “go-to guy.”

Doug’s community activism, however, extends well beyond the confines of Town Hall. “Coach Doug” has been a fixture both in the dugout and court side, previously assisting our Little League baseball teams and now an integral part of our recreation basketball program. It must run in the family – his wife Suzie and their three sons are active in both Bedminster School and Bernards High. It’s rare to go to a school or township event without spotting at least one Stevinson.

Not to be outdone, if volunteerism had a face, her name would be Gina Fernandez.

A leader in our community, a teacher in Union Township and the mother of two, she does it all. Gina served as Bedminster PTO vice president and has co-chaired Spring Fling multiple years, helping to raise over $100,000 for Bedminster School.

In 2018, she also ran Project Graduation, which coordinates multiple fund-raisers and social events for the graduating class at Bernards High School.

In her “spare time” over the past 12 years, she has also served as a Girl Scout Leader for the local troop here in Bedminster.

Gina will strive to keep Bedminster a tight knit community, and her extensive volunteer work and involvement has provided her with the relationships necessary to hit the ground running on day one. She will be an asset to the Township Community, and is a worthy successor to outgoing Committeewoman Staci Santucci.

Doug and Gina’s enthusiasm for Bedminster is contagious – they truly love everything about our small town.

On June 4, I encourage my fellow residents to vote for the team that are champions for Bedminster – Doug Stevinson and Gina Fernandez.

Bedminster Township

Bedminster GOP endorses Stevinson, Fernandez for Township Committee

BEDMINSTER TWP. – The township’s Republican Municipal Committee (RMC) has endorsed one incumbent and one first-time candidate for two, three-year seats on the Township Committee this year.

The GOP is supporting Committeeman Doug Stevinson of Ski Hill Drive and first-time candidate Gina Fernandez of Deer Haven Road.

The second incumbent, Staci Santucci, advised the RMC that she would not be seeking reelection to a third term due to increased work commitments, according to a press release from the party.

The 2019 primary election is Tuesday, June 4. The Democratic Party has not yet announced its candidates. Currently, the five-member Township Committee is all Republican.

Stevinson is running for a second term. He has made the municipal budget and quality of life issues the hallmarks of his tenure, the press release states.

“He led the effort to create a very popular dog park in River Road Park; he is monitoring improvements to Pluckemin Park senior neighborhood and will soon announce the 2019 municipal budget, which will again come in under the rate of inflation,” the GOP release states.

Stevinson’s wife, Suzie, serves on the Bedminster Board of Education. They have three children.

A teacher in Union County, Fernandez “is a leader in the community,” according to the GOP press release.

She and her husband, Gus, have been township residents since 2006, first living in the Parkside section of The Hills development before moving to Deer Haven Road. She is the mother of three children.

She has served as vice president of the township Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and co-chair for three years of PTO’s annual “Spring Fling” benefit, raising more than $100,000 for the elementary school.

She was a Girl Scout Leader for 12 years and served on the steering committee that ran Project Graduation for Bernards High School in 2018.

The founder of the Hispanic Heritage Club of Union, Fernandez “vows to keep property taxes low, preserve open space and uphold our tight-knit community,” the press release states.

Santucci was first appointed to the governing body in March 2013 to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Katy Rupert. She was elected to her first full term in November 2013 and was re-elected three years later.

“It is a privilege to serve Bedminster and I am very grateful for your continued support and camaraderie,” she said. We all know Bedminster Township is an extremely special place to live and I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve our residents and I thank you all for that.”

Santucci said she “fully supports” the RMC’s nominations.

“We are fortunate to have two highly qualified candidates,” added Bedminster RMC Chairman Steve Parker, the former mayor who stepped down at the end of last year.

“Doug is a proven leader and Gina brings some great new energy to the ticket. She has big shoes to fill replacing Staci Santucci, but I believe we have a good team to lead Bedminster into the future.”


PRESS RELEASE: Bedminster GOP Endorses Stevinson and Fernandez for Township Committee

Township Committeeman Doug Stevinson and Gina Fernandez

The Bedminster Republican Municipal Committee is proud to announce their candidates for the Bedminster Township Committee for 2019.  Township Committeeman, Doug Stevinson, is running for a second, three-year term.  Mr. Stevinson has made the municipal budget and quality of life issues the hallmarks of his tenure on the committee.  He led the effort to create a very popular dog park in River Road Park; he is monitoring improvements to Pluckemin Park senior neighborhood and will soon announce the 2019 Municipal Budget, which will again come in under the rate of inflation.  Mr. Stevinson, his wife and Board of Education member, Suzie, and their three children live on Ski Hill Drive.

Gina Fernandez is a leader in the community, a teacher in Union Township, and the mother of three.  She and her husband, Gus, have been residents of the township since 2006, first residing in the Parkside neighborhood in the Hills before moving to Deer Haven Road..  Ms. Fernandez has an impressive record of service to Bedminster, serving as PTO Vice President and Co-Chair for three years for the PTO Spring Fling raising over $100,000 for the Bedminster School.  For 12 years she was a Girl Scout Leader and on the steering committee that ran “Project Graduation” for Bernards High School in 2018.  Founder of the Hispanic Heritage Club of Union NJ, Ms. Fernandez vows to keep property taxes low, preserve open space, and uphold our tight-knit community.

Committeewoman Staci Santucci advised the RMC that she would not be seeking re-election to a 3rd term in 2019 due to increased work commitments. She noted that “It is a privilege to serve Bedminster and I am very grateful for your continued support and camaraderie.  We all know Bedminster Township is an extremely special place to live and I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve our residents and I thank you all for that.”  Committeewoman Santucci stated that she fully supports the RMC’s nominations and wishes Doug and Gina success. 

Bedminster RMC Chair Steve Parker said, “We are fortunate to have two highly qualified candidates, Doug is a proven leader and Gina brings some great new energy to the ticket.  She has big shoes to fill replacing Staci Santucci, but I believe we have a good team to lead Bedminster into the future.”

The Republican Primary Election is June 4th.

Every NJ Town’s Average Property Tax Bill In Newly Released List

Here’s a list where you want to come in at the bottom! Bedminster’s average tax bill is among the lowest in the state (438 of 566) and we rank as one of the best municipalities for the size of our tax increase last year (544 of 566).


Jacobs to be Next Bedminster Mayor

BEDMINSTER TWP. – In the first mayoral change in six years, Township Committeeman Larry Jacobs has been informally chosen by the all-Republican Township Committee to serve as mayor for 2019.

Jacobs was a 4-0 choice in a straw poll to succeed Mayor Steven Parker, who will leave the governing body at the end of this year after declining to run for a fourth, three-year committee term.

Jacobs is expected to be formally selected and sworn in at the committee’s annual reorganization meeting in January.

Participating in the straw poll were Jacobs, Committeemen Doug Stevinson and Colin Hickey, and Committeewoman-elect Renee Mareski, a Republican who was invited to briefly join the dais.

In voicing their choice, Stevinson said “gladly aye,” Hickey said “enthusiastically aye,” and Mareski said “absolutely aye.”

Committeewoman Staci Santucci was absent. Mayor Parker presided over the straw poll but as an outgoing committee member, did not participate in the decision.

Afterward, Parker congratulated Jacobs.

The decision was not a surprise. Jacobs, who is the committee’s senior member after Parker, has run meetings in the mayor’s absence.

As for how he felt about the honor, “A little trepidation, especially following this guy because he’s done a great job the last six years,” Jacobs said just after the meeting while seated next to Parker. “There’s large shoes to fill.”

“Hopefully I’ve learned a little on how to manage a meeting and deal with the issues that confront us here,” he said.

Jacobs, of Hillside Avenue, is completing his sixth year on the committee. He was elected to a third, three-year term in the Nov. 6 general election when he and Mareski defeated Democrats Denise King and Jacob Caplan.

He is an environmental attorney with the Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer law firm in Woodbridge. A township resident for 22 years, he and his wife, Mimi, a former Bedminster Elementary School PTO president, have four children who have attended the elementary school and Bernards High School.

The township has had a mayor since 1952 when a state law changed the old title of committee chairman.

The mayors since then have been: Abram Ten Eyck, 1952-61; John Kean, 1962-68; Albert E. Winkler, 1969-77; Paul Gavin, 1978-85; Robert Lloyd, 1986-88; Joseph Cirona, 1989-91; James Sullivan, 1992-93; Cheryl Seiferheld, 1994; Joseph Metelski, 1995; Leo Johnson,1996; Don Cross, 1997-2001; Metelski, 2002-03; Robert Holtaway, 2004; Amey Mesko, 2005; Holtaway, 2006-12; and Parker, 2013-18.


LETTER: Bedminster Democrats use ‘divisive tactics’

EDITOR: Fall is in the air, and the Bedminster Democrats are getting ready for Halloween. They have already resurrected their favorite ghost story – the Township Committee doesn’t care about The Hills.

Having lived both in the Crestmont Highlands and Edgewood sections of The Hills for the past 20 years, I completely disagree. The Township Committee already has at least two members who previously lived in The Hills, one for over 15 years. With the addition of Renee Mareski, currently a 20 years Hills resident, we will be well represented.

But let’s look beyond the confines of the Township Committee and see how else The Hills is represented, especially on our volunteer boards.

I personally am on the Bedminster Land Use Board, which manages and approves all planning and zoning changes, and is an integral part of our municipal government. Its chair and vice chair are also longtime Hills residents.

In fact, four of the seven voting members reside in The Hills. And the same is true on our other boards, from the Environmental Commission – which is chaired by Renee – to the Historic Preservation Commission, both of which count a majority of their members from The Hills.

I find the divisive tactics being employed by the Bedminster Democrat candidates to be nothing but an attempt at distraction and division. There is only one Bedminster, not the “us vs. them” portrayal being touted by the Democrats as they try to divide us by geography. Bedminster is comprised of many hard-working individuals who volunteer their time and energy to keep Bedminster the special place that it is.

I’ve served personally with Larry Jacobs on the Land Use Board over the past 2.5 years, and have always found him to be a fair-minded individual intent on doing what’s best for all of Bedminster. He also happens to be the Township Committee representative on the Bedminster Hills Housing Corporation, where he has fought to ensure the town is meeting its affordable housing obligation.

Not care about the Hills? Nonsense.

Renee Mareski has been active in The Hills for many years, first as president of the Crestmont Homeowners Association and more recently as the Crestmont representative to the Hills Village Master Association.

Not care about the Hills? Really?

As they say in Ghostbusters, “I ain’t afraid of no ghost.” Instead, I’ll be voting for the team who knows The Hills and Bedminster best – Larry Jacobs and Renee Mareski.

Bedminster Township

EDITORIAL: Our endorsements for Somerset Hills towns (Bernardsville News)

In Bedminster, two Democrats, Denise King and Jacob Caplan, are seeking to break up the all-Republican Township Committee this year. They are running against incumbent Larry Jacobs and his Republican running mate, Renee Mareski.

The Democrats are voicing a familiar theme, claiming that the majority of township residents who live in The Hills development are being under served.

The argument has been a cornerstone of the local Democratic Party for years, but doesn’t seem to have gained much traction.

That’s probably because it lacks validity. There have been several committee members who’ve either lived in The Hills while in office or resided there before serving.

Trying to motivate Hills residents makes sense politically for the Democrats. But it would also be political suicide to ignore this large population, and we don’t think the Republicans have made that mistake.

In fact, one of the two Republican candidates, Mareski, is a resident of The Hills, while the other, Jacobs, had previously lived in the development.

Caplan in particular has advocated a plan to form a “working group’’ of representatives from the of various Hills homeowners associations to study the pooling of resources for shared service contracts for possible savings.

The concept sounds good on paper. We’re not convinced, however, that the idea is of interest to the various Hills leaders who’ve been working to serve their respective communities, or whether it may not have already been tried to some extent over the years.

The Democrats are seeking a ‘’voice’’ on the committee. But in recent years we have found the committee to be open and considerate to all residents, regardless of their address.

Jacobs has been an integral part of the governing body, and we suspect may take on a larger role in the future with the retirement of Mayor Steve Parker at the end of the year. An environmental attorney and 22-year township resident, Jacobs is a proven, smart leader. We see no reason why he should be replaced.

Mareski is making her first bid for office but has been an active volunteer who currently serves as chair of the Environmental Commission. She is a longtime township resident as well who also serves on her homeowner association in The Hills.

The Republicans are part of a solid team that runs an efficient and responsive government. We support their election on Nov. 6.

LETTER: Mareski, Jacobs will keep Bedminster a ‘beautiful and secure place’

EDITOR: My wife and I have the distinct privilege of having lived in Bedminster for over 25 years. We raised three children to adulthood here.

Over the years, I have served the township as chair of the Planning Board, and then the Land Use Board; a member of the Environmental Committee; and a member of the Recreation Committee. I also enjoyed coaching Little League and the recreational basketball team.

Bedminster is a well-run and friendly place. Thanksgiving is not far off, and we in Bedminster have many blessings for which to give thanks.

It was not always this harmonious. There was a period of intense – and internecine – political strife here that lasted a few short years. The acrimony strained the town, and it was as sad as it was unnecessary. All of that has been reversed and made right, starting with the last years of former Mayor Bob Holtaway’s time as mayor, and continuing seamlessly into the current administration of Mayor Steve Parker and the
Township Committee.

At a time of year when some call for change, we must ask ourselves, change what? What is it that needs to be changed? Bedminster offers its residents many excellent amenities, and at very reasonable tax rates.

This year’s Republican candidates for Township Committee, Larry Jacobs and Renee Mareski, have been an integral part of keeping Bedminster a secure and beautiful place.

Larry, a committeeman for the last six years, is a skilled attorney with a stellar reputation for his expertise in land use issues. He also has a great temperament to handle this responsibility.

Renee, currently the chair of the Bedminster Environmental Commission, is a resident of many years, who has served with distinction in her current position, and as a leader in The Hills community.

I heartily endorse Larry and Renee for Township Committee, and call upon my fellow Bedminster neighbors to do the same this election day.

Bedminster Township