LETTER: Bedminster leaders ‘about actions and solutions’

TO THE EDITOR: Far too much that passes for political discourse today seems to be finger pointing, blame and gridlock.

In Bedminster, we are fortunate our local leaders are about actions and solutions.

Colin Hickey and the Bedminster Township Committee have been making local government work for the taxpayers of our township. During the pandemic, Colin created a food pantry that served more than 600 families suddenly out of a paycheck and created an environment of sharing in an uncertain time.

He struck a deal with the local cable provider in The Hills to install high-speed internet at no extra cost in the coming year. This will allow better connectivity and enable more to work from home if they choose.

The electrical grid in The Hills has shown its age and vulnerability over the years with far too many interruptions in service.  Hickey and the committee brought the utility before the governing body to look for solutions and upgrades.

Colin read the fine print on the governing agreements and determined the costs of the needed infrastructure upgrades should be paid for by the utility rather than the homeowners associations and residents.

With inflation eating away at our buying power thanks to policies foisted on us from Trenton and Washington, Colin and the committee continue to spend your tax dollars wisely. They kept your property tax increase below 1.6 percent – well below the rate of inflation and continue with the lowest taxes in Somerset County.

Talk is cheap, actions speak much louder. Colin Hickey and the committee continue to make local government work for you.

Please join me and cast your vote for Colin Hickey for Bedminster Township Committee.

You can vote in person on Nov. 7, put your mail-in ballot in the drop box at the Bedminster Town Hall or take advantage of early voting starting Oct. 28. Just don’t forget to vote!

Airport Road
Bedminster Township

Editor’s note: The writer is a former Bedminster Mayor and committeeman. This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.

Patch Interview: Bedminster Committeeman Advocates For The Betterment Of His Small Town

Colin Hickey has lived in Bedminster for over 30 years and now holds a public service position to create community engagement opportunities.

At the heart of community enhancement and fortification, local leaders hold pivotal responsibility. Here, we shine a spotlight on an asset to the Bedminster community: Colin Hickey. A Bedminster Township committeeman for the past six years, Hickey’s career background in the technology sector has led him to work with renowned corporations like AT&T and emerging startups. His professional journey has equipped him not only with a profound comprehension of customer requirements but also a strong foundation in utility management, which informs his ongoing efforts in collaborating with local service providers to benefit the community.

We spoke with Hickey to learn more about his community contributions, his role as a public servant and what he loves about Bedminster.

Patch: How long have you lived in Bedminster and what led you to a public service position?

Hickey: As a resident of Bedminster for over 30 years, I feel blessed to have lived and raised a family in our small town. I view public service not as a means to an end, but as an opportunity to give back. I have had the privilege of serving the community in this capacity for the past six years.

Patch: What have you learned as a public servant and how have you impacted the Bedminster community?

Hickey: One of the most important skills any public servant should have is the ability to listen. What quickly became clear to me, both in-person and in social media forums, was a strong (and well-earned) dissatisfaction with our utility providers, particularly electric and cable. Bedminster is a premier town with an excellent reputation for its housing, school and open space. Yet, we were suffering from a public service infrastructure that hadn’t been properly maintained or upgraded in years, causing a significant disruption to the lives of our residents and potentially impacting the values of our homes.

The pandemic only worsened this situation, with everyone suddenly working, studying and playing from home. Our internet service slowed to a crawl, and high-speed broadband — once a luxury — was now a necessity. Simultaneously, our power grid was failing. Frequent outages have plagued our area for years, resulting from a combination of aging wiring, old equipment and dense foliage.

We as a township committee have the ability to amplify the voices of our residents and use the swing weight of local government to get results. For our electric provider, that meant holding public forums to raise concerns, as well as holding the utility accountable for maintaining and upgrading its local infrastructure. While we are by no means done, the tide has started to turn. Our electric provider is inspecting and installing new transformers, replacing failing underground cabling and heavily investing in more aggressive tree trimming — the latter of which accounts for a large percentage of power outages. In addition, we have won a major policy decision, forcing our electric provider to be held accountable for the maintenance of the lines that connect their transformers to the meter banks on our condos and townhouses. These lines, known as laterals, were and will continue to be a source of failure, and by unburdening the HOAs from the expense of repair or replacement, we have won a major financial victory.

At the same time, we have convinced our local cable provider to invest in significantly upgrading the network that serves our community. Currently a Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) network that predates the internet, our cable provider has agreed to rewire the Hills with Fiber to the Home (FTTH). This is being done at no expense to the community or the customer, and should bring Bedminster from worst to first in internet and entertainment services. We are the first community in the state of New Jersey to receive this upgrade. We believe this will significantly improve the performance and reliability of our network [while] also [increasing] the value of our homes.

Patch: What community projects or events have you been a part of and what has made them most fulfilling?

Hickey: I have been involved in planning and organizing numerous community events, starting with my time as chair of the Bedminster Environmental Commission. Seeing the need for more community engagement, we created a series of environmentally-themed events for children and adults alike, including Bat Night and Moth Night. In addition, we began partnering with the school and other local organizations to sponsor green events, including clean-up days, well-testing and presentations featuring guest speakers.

Recognizing the food insecurities that the pandemic suddenly caused, I partnered with Bedminster’s recreation director to create the Bedminster Food Pantry. For 10 weeks we collected, sanitized and distributed food during the height of the pandemic. While it might be odd to consider this a “community event” in the traditional sense, it was in fact that. Our residents were looking for a way to help those in need, and their generosity was both humbling and heartwarming. In the end, we received over 950 donations of food, personal necessities and gift cards, served a total 666 families and contributed 1,800 pounds (two pallets) of food to the Somerset County Food Bank for distribution to other area food pantries and those in need.

I am also a member of the voluntary committee that plans, organizes and runs our weekly Bedminster Farmers Market. Spanning 28 weekends a year, this recurring event has evolved into the town square. In fact, during COVID-19, it became one of the few places folks could congregate and communicate in person, cementing its position as both a community forum and a way to support our local agriculture. It provides a unique opportunity for everyone to see their neighbors and share in the food and drink of area farmers and producers. And yes, I’m one of the folks running around each Saturday helping to direct traffic and park cars — stop by and say “Hi!”

Patch: What is a resource citizens of Bedminster might not know about?

Hickey: I have championed a project dedicated to improving our outreach and notification system called Bedminster Alert. The alert system provides real-time information on events, emergencies, resources and programs sponsored by the town. Residents can sign up here to receive alerts by text message, email, or social media.

Patch: What do you wish people knew about Bedminster?

Hickey: Bedminster is like living in a Norman Rockwell painting. Despite being in one of the most densely populated areas of the United States, we are a small town nestled in a bucolic environment and have a community that embraces our history and heritage. Where else can you watch a Memorial Day Parade and become part of it as you walk down Main Street? Regardless of where you live in Bedminster, you can step outside and within minutes be walking in the rural countryside or riding along our extensive network of trails. Our local amenities, easy access to New York City and our low taxes make Bedminster an ideal place to live and raise a family. Yes, I am proud to be a resident, privileged to serve our community and I am dedicated to keeping that small-town feeling alive and well, because that’s what I love most!

Patch: What drives you to continue to give back to your community?

Hickey: [Former] President Obama [once] said, “We are the change we have been waiting for.” Be a catalyst for change! The ability to make a positive impact is what drives me, and individual actions are the engine of a small town and create a better community. Social media may be dominated by complaints, concerns and petitions, but you alone can make a difference. Homeowners associations, volunteer groups and religious organizations everywhere are lacking one thing — volunteers! Be the person who answers the challenge and becomes a part of positive change.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the Bernardsville-Bedminster Patch as part of their Conversations with Community Leaders profile series.

LETTER: ‘Gary Rupert will be sorely missed by many’

TO THE EDITOR: Our world is a better place because Gary Rupert was with us.

A successful businessman, Gary and his family came to Bedminster over 20 years ago to provide his young children the experience of life on a working farm. Three Meadows Farm soon became a success, hosting a popular farm stand and providing ingredients to local restaurants.

At the time, local government was characterized by infighting, creating turmoil and controversy that resulted in unneeded litigation. Gary led a group, along with Bob Holtaway, that reformed local politics, creating an environment where good schools, low taxes, and open space are our core values.

Gary’s trademark was his generosity. While he was blessed with great resources, it was his personal generosity that set him apart.

With the revival of Bedminster’s Fall Fest in 2011, if the event needed hay bales, farm tractors, or animals for the petting zoo, Gary was quick to make his available.

When the Clarence Dillon Public Library opened their community garden, Gary Rupert was the master gardener who provided personal instruction to the patrons.

A few years ago, Gary’s life changed, and he moved closer to a new job.

He sold his farm to the Somerset Hills Learning Institute, providing a working farm for young people with autism to develop skills for future independence. He continued to serve on the board of that organization until his passing.

For a busy man, Gary always seemed to have time for you. He would always call you back and treat you like you were the most important person in the world.

Oh, and by the way, if you were fortunate enough to spend some time with Gary, he was a lot of fun to be around.

Gary’s legacy will be defined by the many, many people to whom he leant a helping hand over the years.

We will sorely miss him and thank his family for sharing him with us.

Airport Road
Bedminster Township

Editor’s note: Mr. Rupert, a former Bedminster resident and Republican Party chairman, died on Thursday, July 13. Services were held on Wednesday, July 19, at Saint Benedict Church in Holmdel, with arrangements by the Holmdel Funeral Home.

This letter was written by Steve Parker, a former mayor of Bedminster, and submitted with the following list of names:

John Barnak, Stone Run Road, Bedminster; Jim Brady III, Black River Road, Bedminster; Jim and Kathy Christie, Fairview Drive, Bedminster; Al Gaburo, Former Somerset County Republican Chair; Colin and Wendy Hickey, Desiree Court, Bedminster; Tim Howes, Hillcrest Avenue, Gladstone; Tess and Rich Johnson, Ski Hill Drive, Bedminster; Renee Mareki, Bedminster Committeewoman; Bernie and Chris Pane, Autumn Ridge Road, Bedminster; George Rodelius, Laura Lane, Bedminster; Antony Sanchelli, Lil Pickles Deli, Karla Drive, Whippany; Judy Sullivan, The Villages, Fla.; John Belardo, Mt. Kemble Avenue, Morristown; Lance and Deonne Boxer, Burnham Road, Naples, Fla.; Jack Ciattarelli, former Assemblyman, Hillsborough; David and Deborah Groendyke, Enclave Lane, Bedminster; Bob and Diane Holtaway, Laura Lane, Bedminster; Larry and Mimi Jacobs, Hillside Avenue, Bedminster; Ron Kennedy, Brook Hollow Road, Gladstone; Marshall McLean, Lloyd Road, Bernardsville; Sally and Mike Rubin, Guinea Hollow Road, Califon; Staci and Drew Santucci, Airport Road, Bedminster; Chris Walker, Old Mountain Road, Lebanon; Liza Pizarro-White, Okura Lane, Bedminster; Sean Blinn, Encampment Drive, Bedminster; Finn and Emily Caspersen, Old Farm Lane, Bedminster; Tony DeVirgillo, Burnt Mills Road, Bedminster; Carol Guttschall, Heatherwood Lane, Bedminster; Roman Hnidj, Annie’s Deli, Stonybrook Road, Branchburg; Zaheer and Neena Jan, Timberbrooke Drive, Bedminster; Jeff Leonard, Wescott Road, Bedminster; Joe Metelski, Fairview Drive, Bedminster; Nicole Paulino Smoke Rise Lane, Bedminster; Ed Russo, Duval Street, Key West, Fla.; Doug Stevinson, Ski Hill Drive, Bedminster; and Dan and Diane Walker, Campbells Brook Road, Whitehouse Station.

Editor’s note: This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.

Bedminster featured in May edition of Real Estate NJ

Good governance anticipates the future. Thank you, Mayor Larry Jacobs, the Bedminster Township Committee and Bedminster Land Use Board for your vision and leadership. Read about it here: https://re-nj.com/flipbook/75-May2023/RENJ_0523_Combo2.html

Primary Night Fundraiser

After you cast your vote, come support the cause! The Bedminster Republicans will be hosting a Primary Night fundraiser at Burnt Mills Cider from 6:30 – 9:00 PM on Tuesday, June 6th. Share a cider with friends old and new, and meet this year’s candidate for Bedminster Township Committee, Colin Hickey.

Internet upgrade underway in The Hills in Bedminster

A long-running Altice Optimum plan to upgrade Internet service in The Hills housing development has broken ground, according to officials.

Township Committeeman R. Colin Hickey said at the committee’s meeting on Monday, April 3, that about half of the 22 homeowners’ associations in The Hills that need to sign access contracts with Altice to allow digging have either done so or are about to, but “Altice is not waiting for all 22.”

“The big dig starts this week,” he said. “Altice fiber is coming to The Hills.”

With Hills Village North as the starting point, construction began in the Cortland section earlier that day and is expected to last four to six weeks, Hickey said.

Other scheduled starts include Wynewood on April 24, Wood Duck Pond on May 15, Four Oaks on June 12 and Knollcrest on July 3, he said.

The sections that are not as close to signing agreements are nonetheless exchanging paperwork with Altice, Hickey reported.

“This is an exciting time,” he said.  “It’s a once in a generation upgrade to a network and system that many of our residents rely on on a daily basis.”

Altice, formerly known as Cablevision, provides Internet, cable television and phone service in The Hills, while Comcast provides those services in areas outside The Hills.

Hickey said the process started on Feb. 1, 2021, after complaints from Altice customers led the committee to arrange a virtual forum in which an Altice representative was present to respond to concerns.

By the summer of 2021, Altice expressed a willingness to upgrade its fiber coax network to fiber at no cost to residents.  But because laying the fiber would involve digging up private roads and landscaping, Altice needed to secure approval from each of the homeowners’ associations in The Hills.

In early 2022, Altice sent the associations an agreement with terms to review.  In the process, it agreed to cover the costs of restoring roads and landscaping.

Altice representatives proceeded to meet one-on-one with each individual association through the rest of 2022.

Mayor Larry Jacobs and other committee members praised Hickey for pushing Hills residents and their associations – several of which were initially reticent –  to engage with Altice and work toward agreements.

“The fact that shovels are in the ground today is a testament to the diligence you applied to this issue,” Jacobs said.

Committeewoman Renee Mareski said that as someone who lives in The Hills, she appreciated the upgrade. “It’s going to be a great addition to all our homes.”

Power Outages

Hickey also provided an update on efforts by Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) to reduce power outages in The Hills.

He said some recent outages were found not to be indicative of systemic problems.  An outage last October was caused by a tree falling on a transmission line in Branchburg Township; another outage in January was caused by a transformer fire in The Hills after a squirrel sought to nest there, he said.

The homeowners’ association of Wood Duck Pond, which replaced underground laterals at its own expense to address outage issues, later learned that JCP&L was responsible for the laterals and has now been reimbursed by the utility company, he reported.

JCP&L has also identified all transformer circuit boxes that are in poor condition but replacements will be delayed by supply chain shortages until summer, he said.

Jacobs credited Hickey with enabling Wood Duck Pond to get a reimbursement from JCP&L.  He said the utility denied responsibility for the laterals until Hickey conducted research and pressed the utility to review its past agreements.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.

Hickey to seek re-election in Bedminster

BEDMINSTER TWP. – The Bedminster Republican Municipal Committee (RMC) on Wednesday, March 1, nominated Township Committeeman R. Colin Hickey, by acclamation, for another term on the Township Committee.

A resident of Desiree Court, Hickey has served on the committee since 2017. He will be seeking his third, three-year term.

Only one seat is up this year on the five-member governing body. All five current members are Republicans.

In a press release, Republican Chairman Steve Parker called Hickey “a tireless advocate for Bedminster residents.

“As the committee’s utility liaison, he has been taking on Jersey Central Power & Light for repeated power outages in The Hills, leading public forums with the utility to air issues and determine steps to improve service,” he said. “Most recently, Hickey pointed out the fine print in the utility’s own operating agreements which required JCP&L to repair and maintain failing service lines, saving the neighborhood associations tens of thousands of dollars both now and in the future.”

Hickey is currently leading the effort to provide fiber optic broadband service at no expense to all Hills residents beginning in the spring of this year, he added.

“With a deep background in technology, he has focused on improving communications with, and services available to, all residents. Over just the past year, the township has introduced new and improved systems for mobile alerting, web-based construction planning and permitting and on-line public meeting access.”

Parker said Hickey was unopposed.

Speaking to the RMC, Hickey emphasized his commitment to keep Bedminster’s property taxes low, preserve the township’s rural character and make local government work for the residents of Bedminster.

Hickey is the first announced candidate for the committee to date. The primary will be held on Tuesday, June 6, with the general election scheduled on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.

LETTER: Bedminster officials thanked for assist with power outages

TO THE EDITOR: I am the president of the Wood Pond Condo Association in The Hills.

I am writing to acknowledge the work that the Bedminster Township Committee has done to help residents address power issues that have plagued The Hills for the last several years.

Last Monday, the committee hosted a well-attended public information session with JCP&L. As they have done previously, our elected representatives convened this meeting to draw focus to the issues and hold the utility accountable for their performance.

While this well-advertised session was not the be all and end all to the continuing service failures, it is an important step along the path toward a solution.

I also wanted to recognize the ongoing work that Committeeman Colin Hickey has been doing in this regard. Not only is this a cause that he has been championing for the past several years, it is also a problem that he addresses in real time whenever there is an outage in Bedminster. Whether it is working the phones with JCP&L or providing status updates on social media, Colin is always there for us when the lights go out.

Most recently, my condo development suffered two separate outages that left entire buildings without power. Upon further inspection, JCP&L informed us that the failures stemmed from the underground connection, a.k.a., laterals, between their transformers and meters that serve the individual units, and that it was our responsibility to repair those lines.

Our condo board had to take extraordinary measures to restore power, including renting portable power trailers and hiring electricians to excavate and replace the lines. It came at significant expense, which would ultimately have to be borne by the residents.

At the time of the first outage, I reached out to Hickey for his help. Not content to take no for an answer, he researched the issue and informed us, and JCP&L, that he believed the responsibility for those failed lines lay solely with the power company. He continued to press the issue with JCP&L and work with us and the state BPU to help drive the matter to resolution.

I am happy to report that at last week’s meeting, JCP&L informed us that in fact those lines are their responsibility, and that we will be fully compensated for the repairs we undertook. Not only is this a big win for us, but also for all residents of The Hills.

I suspect that as the electrical infrastructure continues to age, these ‘lateral breaks’ will become more commonplace, and I am relieved that the burden for these repairs will be lifted off all our shoulders.

Kudos to the mayor, our Township Committee, and Committeeman Hickey in particular, for being our allies and advocates.

High Pond Road
Bedminster Township

Editor’s note: This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.

Announcement – Candidate Screening

The Bedminster Republican Municipal Committee will hold their candidate screening meeting Wednesday March 1st at 7pm in the meeting room at the Clarence Dillon Public Library, 2336 Lamington Road, Bedminster Township. Anyone who wishes to present themselves as a candidate for Bedminster Township Committee is welcome to attend. Contact the RMC Chair, Steven Parker at [email protected] no later than February 26th.

Meet & Greet with Senator Doug Steinhardt

Make sure to RSVP to [email protected]. Hope to see you there!

Mayor Jacobs vows to protect Bedminster’s ‘semi-rural’ character

BEDMINSTER TWP. – Mayor Larry Jacobs hailed the handling of recent development projects but warned of looming threats to the township’s “semi-rural” character as the Township Committee held its annual reorganization meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 4.

With the state poised to issue its next round of affordable housing mandates in 2025, some prospective developers “have approached us with visions of expanding multi-family opportunities into our rural areas and are disappointed when they do not get a favorable response,” Jacobs said.

“These developers are not going to go away quietly, there will be threats of builder’s remedy lawsuits,” he predicted. “We can wait and perhaps Trenton will try to fix this situation, or we can wait and let the courts decide. Those are not good options.”

The township has therefore engaged its professionals to anticipate its fourth-round obligations and to develop options that comply “that do not involve eroding rural zoning or sacrificing our commercial corridors,” he noted.

He said the township’s main challenges are to provide municipal services efficiently, keep pace with technology and the means of communicating with the public, develop zoning and affordable housing strategies that are consistent with the township’s character, and keep taxes low.

A long tradition of holding the annual reorganization at a venue offering food and drink, which was derailed by the pandemic, resumed at Fiddler’s Elbow County Club on Rattlesnake Bridge Road.

Most of the 75 or so people in attendance at Fiddler’s opted for the $50 dinner, and even those who didn’t were treated to free bottles of wine donated by a local winery.

Among the attending dignitaries was 23rd District state Sen. Doug Steinhardt, R-Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren, as well as Manville Borough Council President Joe Lukac and Raritan Borough Council President Nick Carra.

The five-member, all Republican governing body remained unchanged as Committeeman Doug Stevinson and Committeewoman Gina Fernandez, who won re-election in November, were sworn in to begin their third and second three-year terms, respectively.

They were re-seated along with Jacobs and Committee members R. Colin Hickey and Renee Mareski.

Jacobs was then formally chosen by his committee colleagues to serve a fifth straight one-year term as mayor for 2023.

‘Busy Year’

In reflecting on the past year, Jacobs said 2022 was a busy year on the human resources front, with officials spending hours reviewing resumes and conducting interviews.

The biggest moves both occurred in the fall when the committee promoted Frank Bernardo to police chief as Kevin Murray as director of public works.

He also praised the work of Township Administrator Robin Ray, saying she “exemplifies the Bedminster brand and sets the bar for that level of excellence and efficiency to the entire township staff.”

A key initiative was to start a new community garden at River Road Park, Jacobs said.

Boosted by a $300,000 Somerset County grant, it is expected to go the bid in the spring and have its first plantings in the fall.

Another major project, he said, involves repairs to the Miller Lane sewer pumping station. That effort is being funded by $1.47 million in government aid.

Internet upgrades for homes in The Hills housing development, which were facilitated by the township, might start by the end of the first quarter, Jacobs said. The upgrades are being installed by Altice Optimum.

The township’s annual Fall Fest returned to River Road Park for the first time in two years, and the Bedminster Farmers’ Market continued to grow as it gained a daily increase of nearly 200 attendees from the prior year, Jacobs said.

AT&T Relocation

On the commercial front, Jacobs noted that AT&T is leaving its massive office complex on Route 202-206 but will occupy the vacant former Mallinckrodt office complex up the road.

He and the committee are “pleased to keep AT&T in Bedminster and to retain all those jobs in town.”

As for the soon-to-be-vacant 1.1-million-square-foot AT&T complex, Jacobs said township officials completed a long-planned rezoning that should give the complex new life as “a multi-tenant, multi-use high-tech, life sciences campus.”

The rezoning “is not the end of our efforts,” he noted.

He said Somerset County, the state Economic Development Authority, the Governor’s Office, the state Office of Planning, Rutgers University and other agencies have all joined the township in seeking to “promote the re-use of that campus.”

“That property is our highest tax ratable and the Township Committee is dedicated to seeing it positioned as a world class facility,” her said.

In Pluckemin village, “run-down buildings are being demolished and new ones are going up,” Jacobs said.

The village has long needed a boost, he added, and “2023 will see new construction, new investment and new traffic improvements in Pluckemin.”

The local villages have “retained a semi-rural ‘Town and Country’ character because of years of strong planning efforts,” and “it is our job to foster and steward that brand,” he told the audience.

He said that is being done not by encroaching into the rural 10-acre zone, but by having new development “replace the existing out-of-date built environment.”

Jacobs concluded his remarks by challenging township boards to continue to increase their level of engagement and programming, bring in guest speakers, and work with other boards and possibly even other towns.

“The expectation should not just be attending a meeting but advancing a mission,” he said.

Voters Thanked

In keeping with tradition, the other members of the Township Committee also offered comments at the reorganization.

Stevinson and Fernandez both expressed gratitude for being re-elected last November.

“It’s truly an honor to have received your support,” said Stevinson.

Fernandez said she and her running mate were “truly grateful.” She also thanked several individual supporters.

With respect to the state of the township, Stevinson noted that the township ranked as the state’s third best town in which to live in the most recent edition of New Jersey Monthly Magazine.

He said also said that in spite of inflation, the 2022 municipal budget raised taxes by only 0.87 percent.

Hickey said committee members are “not exactly politicians but problem solvers.”

He said there are “no Democratic or Republican problems – just problems that need to be solved.”

Mareski spoke of board activities, saying the Environmental Commission hosted events like “Bat Night” and undertook an effort to clean the Bedminster Pond off Route 206.

Fernandez said the township’s boards and committees are “really the meat and potatoes of town.”

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.

Thank You

We’d like to express our deepest thanks and appreciation to everyone who voted for team Stevinson & Fernandez this year. We are both honored and privileged to have earned your trust and support to continue representing the Bedminster community on the Township Committee. We look forward to continuing to fight to keep Bedminster affordable while improving the quality of life for all of our residents.

Thank you again to all out there who played a role – large or small – in our re-election campaign. Whether you wrote a letter on our behalf, walked with us on the campaign trail, assisted with disseminating our materials, made a monetary contribution, or casted your vote for us, we sincerely thank you.

Doug & Gina

LETTER: Republicans Stevinson and Fernandez ‘work for every Bedminster resident’

TO THE EDITOR: As a current Bedminster Township Committee member, I whole-heartedly support the Republican candidates running in this year’s local election, Doug Stevinson and Gina Fernandez.

Committeewoman Fernandez uses the unique insights she has gained from teaching and aptly applies them to the municipal environment. For example, her perspective on setting expectations and enhancing student performance drove the development of new systems for hiring and maintaining Bedminster Township staff.

She is an adept organizer and planner – what teacher isn’t? – which enables her to continually help develop new programs in her capacity as Recreation Committee liaison. Our Fall Fest and Trunk or Treat events are just two in the list of many.

Stevinson, a lawyer by trade, uses his legal power to our advantage. At every meeting, he asks the right questions to make certain that each project is on budget, and he is always working to ensure that issues are treated consistently and equitably.

You can also see Doug’s coaching skills at work, providing constructive comments at the same time as giving support for each project we undertake. He does this for every pursuit – great or small, internal or external.

One of the issues the Township Committee has been working on over the past several years is maintaining compliance with our affordable housing obligations. As a former resident of Parkside, one of our affordable income neighborhoods, I appreciate that Doug and Gina support these programs completely.

Doug’s legal expertise has helped ensure that the existing program is self-sufficient and our newly mandated affordable housing requirements are properly fulfilled.

Gina, also an affordable housing beneficiary, is a strong advocate for the program, as it provided her with the initial opportunity to join our wonderful town. Now she is giving back to the community she loves and making sure that Bedminster provides the programs, facilities and services that make Bedminster an even more attractive place to live, work and play.

It is important that we have committee members who work for every Bedminster resident, which is what Doug and Gina do.

On Nov. 8, I ask that you join me in voting to reelect Doug Stevinson and Gina Fernandez to help keep Bedminster a safe and welcoming place for all.

Crestmont Road
Bedminster Township

Editor’s note: This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.

LETTER: Stevinson, Fernandez ‘get results’ in Bedminster

TO THE EDITOR: I write in support of Doug Stevinson and Gina Fernandez for Bedminster Township Committee.

We are fortunate to live in Bedminster, and both Doug and Gina are responsible for maintaining and improving this great community.

It is easy to take things for granted – low taxes, beautiful parks and open spaces, good zoning, well-maintained roads, responsive, and highly accessible, local government.

We need to remember we have these things because Doug and Gina and their colleagues on the Township Committee work hard for them.

Doug and Gina care and they get results.

Don’t take things for granted, vote for Doug and Gina on Nov. 8.

Old Farm Road
Bedminster Township

Editor’s note: This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.

EDITORIAL: Our Municipal Endorsements

Voters in Bernardsville, Bernards Township and Bedminster will decide contests for municipal seats in the Nov. 8 general election.

In Bedminster, Republican incumbents Doug Stevinson and Gina Fernandez are seeking re-election to three-year terms.

They are challenged by Democrats Giuseppe Zaccagnini and Uttara Patla.

While we’d like to see a Democratic presence on the all-Republican committee to offer checks and balances, our endorsement goes to the team of Stevinson and Fernandez who have proven themselves to be hard-working, competent public officials.

Running for the second straight year, the Democrats say the committee fails to address the needs of residents of The Hills development. It’s an issue Democrats recycle nearly every election campaign – and it just doesn’t hold water this year. The committee has addressed several issues that directly affect residents of The Hills, such as power outages and efforts to improve internet services.

Stevinson, an attorney, and Fernandez, an educator, are also part of a team that has worked to ensure that AT&T remains in the township, albeit at a new location. The committee has also made some recreation improvements, established an excellent farmer’s market and received a grant to create a new community garden at River Road Park not far from The Hills.

The Democrats have had little presence at public committee meetings and have few legitimate issues in this race. On Nov. 8, Bedminster residents should re-elect Stevinson and Fernandez to the Township Committee.

Editor’s Note: The entire article with endorsements for neighboring towns appears in The Bernardsville News.