Category Archives: Uncategorized

LETTER: Government needs to prosecute ‘rampant’ car thefts

TO THE EDITOR: The fear of crime is running rampant through the New Jersey suburbs. This is especially true in the Interstate 78/287 corridor where car thefts are becoming commonplace.

Governor Murphy and Attorney General Platkin have openly failed to prosecute these crimes. They have directed state resources to stand down, not chase car thieves, or prosecute property crimes.

Our local mayors and municipalities are passing ordnances that criminalize these offenses so our local police can arrest these thieves and prosecute them in municipal court—and we need to appreciate the efforts of Mayors like Larry Jacobs of Bedminster, Jennifer Asay of Bernards, and Matt Moench of Bridgewater, who are trying to keep us safe.

Now we are hearing that the stolen automobiles make their way to the ports, are loaded on ships, and transported overseas where profits from their sales are funding ISIS and other terrorist organizations. Frightening, but what can be done?

How about the state send a task force to the port, check the vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) of the cars before being loaded on the ships and determine which cars are “hot,” prevent their export and arrest the people who bring them in? This is infinitely easier and less dangerous than having several hundred local police forces on alert.

Where is the federal government in all of this? Don’t we have a Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Service to monitor our ports? It would appear President Biden’s border security failure also includes the Port of Elizabeth.

For those who do not believe their vote counts, sleep well.

STEVE PARKER

Airport Road
Bedminster Township


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

Spring Fundraiser

Bedminster Republicans Announce 2024 Candidates

The Bedminster Township Republican Committee met March 12th and unanimously nominated Mayor Larry Jacobs and Township Committeewoman Renee Mareski for the Bedminster Township Committee.  Mayor Jacobs and Committeewoman Mareski’ s leadership has kept Bedminster a step ahead of the issues facing the township.  With car thefts, break-ins and other crime rising in the surrounding suburbs, Mayor Jacobs is leading a coalition of local mayors to promote community policing, increase resident awareness and introduce local ordinances to crack down on gang infiltration in the region.  The Bedminster Township Committee has kept property taxes the lowest in Somerset County through a painstaking review of the municipal budget.  Spending is based on the efficient prioritization of resources, not simply austerity for the sake of meeting a number.  They continue to prioritize preservation of open space and protection of the environment through programs and awareness. Larry Jacobs and Renee Mareski will appear on the Republican ballot in the Primary June 4, 2024.

Candidate Screening

The Bedminster Republican Municipal Committee (RMC) will hold a screening for two candidates for Bedminster Township Committee on Tuesday March 12, 7 PM at the Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club, 811 Rattlesnake Bridge Road, Bedminster.  Chosen candidates will appear on the June Primary ballot under the local party line.  Republicans who seek to screen should notify the RMC Chair no later than Friday March 8 via email at [email protected] or text/call 609-319-0832.

Remembering Theresa Petras

Last week Bedminster bid farewell to Theresa Petras, a woman who spent much of her life devoted to serving this community.

Theresa, who lived in the Timberbrooke, Parkside and Wynnewood neighborhoods, served as Secretary and Trustee of the Hills Village North Master Association. These homeowner’s associations are vital to maintaining the quality of life and facilities in these neighborhoods. Her work, along with others who have served, has kept these communities one of the reasons Bedminster is such an attractive place to live.

She was also an elected representative on the Bedminster Republican Municipal Committee. She championed her belief in small, responsive, conservative local government by vetting local candidates, promoting their policies, and sharing that philosophy with her neighbors. A founder of the local Republican Club, she served as treasurer, in an organization designed to bring people together with common values and interest.

As a member of the Bedminster Environmental Commission, she took a leadership role as Vice Chair, reviewing development applications for their impact on our open spaces and rural character. Theresa was a strong advocate for our township’s natural beauty.

Most of all, we all know that Theresa Petras could always be counted on as a friend and supporter of our wonderful community. Her service has truly made Bedminster a much better place, we will miss her and honor her memory.

Steve Parker
Bedminster Republican Municipal Committee Chair

Bedminster organizes local towns to fight crime

BEDMINSTER TWP. – With a rise in car thefts and other crimes in the area drawing concern, township officials have organized a working group of local mayors and police chiefs to combat the problem.

Mayor Larry Jacobs said at the Township Committee meeting on Monday, Feb. 5, that the group was convened at the municipal building earlier in the day.

Participating, he said, were himself, mayors Jennifer Asay of Bernards Township, Mary Jane Canose of Bernardsville, Kevin Welsh of Far Hills, Mark Corigliano of Peapack-Gladstgone and Matthew Moench of Bridgewater Township, as well as police chiefs Frank Bernardo of Bedminster, Jon Burger of Bernards and John B. Mitzak of Bridgewater.

The participants spent two hours sharing the experiences of the police departments and the elected officials, Jacobs said.

Among the topics were “a lot of Ring camera videos of kids checking out cars, knocking on doors,” he said.

“There is tremendous concern among the residents,” the mayor added. The mayors and police chiefs discussed what they can do, what they can learn from each other, and if there are issues they can take “up the ladder” of government and law enforcement.

“It’s a working group now” and has been tentatively dubbed the Somerset Hills Safety Committee, Jacobs said. Participants are looking to meet monthly, with more input to be sought from detectives of different police departments.

They plan to discuss “what’s working, what could be working better” and “getting the word out to residents” to lock their cars, keep packages in cars out of view, and lock the doors to their homes.

“We will continue to have updates,” Jacobs said.

Crime has been a key topic at recent public meetings in several towns.

In Bernardsville, Police John Remian gave a presentation to the Borough Council last Dec. 11. Remian said the number of car thefts in the borough was not much greater than a decade ago but has risen since the pandemic.

He said an “alarming” trend has criminals now entering homes to get car keys.

On Jan. 22, council members said they would try to combat car thefts by providing the police department with rented license plate readers that would be installed at entrances to town.

In Bedminster, Lt. Thomas Polito spoke at a committee meeting last Dec. 18. He described the tactics of a national crime ring that targets any area where cars park so they can enter or break into those cars to steal exposed valuables.

In Bernards Township, Mayor Asay said at the Township Committee meeting on Jan. 23 that police have increased patrols to combat crime in locations and times when they occur.

Asay also said that, at the suggestion of a local resident, the township was launching a platform where residents could upload doorbell camera and related videos to police for use in their investigations.

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

LETTER: Hickey thanks Bedminster supporters for re-election

EDITOR: I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to the residents of Bedminster for the confidence they have placed in me as reflected at the ballot box.  

As is the case every October, candidates for elected office invade the physical and digital landscape.  Corners are filled with signs, Facebook feeds become filled with political advertisements and strangers knock on doors at the most inopportune times.  While these are the necessary evils of campaigning, the fact that you allow us to interrupt your daily routine is greatly appreciated and never overlooked.

I am grateful that the good folks of Bedminster took time out to share with me their thoughts and feedback as I walked the neighborhoods.  Campaign season affords candidates the opportunity to do some “walk around management” every year and hear directly what’s on people’s minds. The rainy weather precluded me from getting to everyone this year, but if you have a concern, please reach out to me via email or social media.

Public service is a privilege that I do not take lightly or for granted, and I look forward to the opportunity to continue to work on behalf of all our residents.  Regardless of where folks may stand politically, I think every resident has a strong interest in maintaining the quality of life and low taxes that are the hallmark of Bedminster and township government.  I will continue to advocate for all residents and will maintain a strong focus on tackling and resolving local issues.

I would also like to express my thanks to Larry McShane – running for office is never an easy job, and both campaigns approached this year’s contest in a very positive and respectful manner.

Now that campaign season is over, I am eager to get back to work.  What has always been paramount to me is listening to your thoughts and taking action.  I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Bedminster.

R. COLIN HICKEY

Desiree Court
Bedminster Township

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the Bedminster Township Committee. This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.

LETTER: Bedminster ‘best served’ by re-electing Colin Hickey

TO THE EDITOR: Colin Hickey’s endorsement from the Bernardsville News is well deserved (“Our local endorsements,” Thursday, Oct. 26).  As was succinctly stated, “He’s a go-getter and really does work for his constituents.”  

Colin is a positive force for Bedminster.  He has set a new standard of excellence in service to our residents. He always demonstrates a can-do attitude and gracious demeanor on the dais. He emphatically believes that local government can do more with less, and that the governing body is there to serve as advocates for our residents.  And, perhaps most importantly, he delivers results, as many letter writers have already attested.

Frankly, it is difficult for me to reduce Colin’s impact to a few lines, so let me cite just a few examples.   Most recently, he compelled JCP&L to honor its commitment to replace broken electrical lines to our condominium buildings, sparing each association tens of thousands of dollars in potential repair costs.  When our residents complained about the poor internet service in the Hills, Colin pushed not only for immediate fixes and improved reliability, but for a long-term solution.  Due to his persistence, the cable company is investing in Bedminster and currently installing high-speed fiber in the Hills, providing not only state-of-the art service, but also significantly increasing the value of those homes.

Bedminster will be best served in this election by returning Colin Hickey to the Township Committee.  I hope you will join me in voting for Colin this November 7th.

LARRY JACOBS

Hillside Avenue
Bedminster Township

Editor’s note: The writer is the Bedminster Township mayor. This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.

EDITORIAL: Our local endorsements

New Jersey’s political season for this year’s general election comes to a close on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Needless to say, it’s been a frenetic season, with all state Senate and Assembly seats up for grabs, not to mention seats on county Boards of Commissioners.

Just as important have been the elections for our local municipal and school district governing bodies.

Here then, are our picks to serve on local daises.

In Bernards Township, where four candidates are battling it out for two seats on the Township Committee, we endorse Republican incumbents Gary Baumann and Tyler Seville. They are moderates, experienced and good-sensed.

In Bedminster Township, where one seat is expiring on the five-member Township Committee, we endorse Republican incumbent Colin Hickey. He’s a go-getter and really does work for his constituents.

In Far Hills, where a one-year Council term is open council, we endorse Peter Cocoziello Jr. Again, he is an incumbent with knowledge of borough needs. This is essential at a time when the need to hold down costs but maintain a high quality of life is mandatory.

In the school board races, in Somerset Hills, we endorse Samantha Frenda and Felicia Ballard in Bernardsville and Heather Santoro in Peapack-Gladstone because they understand a district’s commitment to protecting all their students.

In Bernards Township, where meetings have been rife with a battle between extreme conservatives and more rational board members, we endorse Jennifer White, Janice Corrado and David Shaw. Again, they understand a district’s tenet to protect all the kids.

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

Quality of life tops Bedminster Township Committee race

BEDMINSTER TWP. – Quality of life issues and if they are being adequately addressed are the main themes of a contest for a three-year Township Committee term in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

On the ballot are Republican incumbent R. Colin Hickey of Desiree Court and Democrat Lawrence McShane of Wendover Court in The Hills housing development.

The five-member Township Committee has been all-Republican for the last nine years. Still, there has been a Democrat on the local ballot for 22 straight years – easily the longest streak in the Somerset Hills, with the party scoring upset victories in 2005 and 2011.

But in recent years, several Democrats who ran were not well known locally and were not seen at Township Committee meetings.

Both the Republican and Democratic candidates responded to questionnaires from The Bernardsville News seeking information about their background and their positions on issues.

Hickey, 58, has served on the committee since August 2017. He has been a township resident for 31 years, spending the first 15 years in the Stone Run section of The Hills development.

He works as an independent consultant and venture partner. He previously worked for AT&T in various management capacities, and as a senior executive and founder of multiple start-ups in the technology sector.

He said his experience in the technology and utility industry “brings a unique perspective” to the committee. “I understand not only how the infrastructure works, but more importantly, how larger organizations assess capital investment opportunities.”

McShane, 49, has lived in The Hills for 16 years.

He works as a marketing director and previously worked in marketing, strategy and finance.

“My background is in management in the pharma and chemical industries, and I have worked in finance,” he said. “I understand how to solve problems within a budget, because I do that every day.”

Hickey cited numerous accomplishments on the committee, including maintaining low taxes, addressing persistent power outages in The Hills and elsewhere, spearheading an effort to upgrade Altice Internet service in The Hills, successfully fighting water use rate increases, and improving communication with residents through information technology upgrades.

Infrastructure

According to Hickey, the township’s main challenges include working with utility companies to make necessary infrastructure investments; ensuring land management policies support both preservation and economic health; and maintaining the viability of the township’s business corridor and villages.

McShane, however, said the township has continuing infrastructure problems, with examples including “constant power outages, poor quality Internet service, and difficult traffic patterns.”

Although Hickey said the committee has prodded Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) to make infrastructure improvements, McShane said more work is needed and residents are frustrated.

McShane also questioned the work with Altice. “Where is the transparency and communication around the Internet service deal?” he asked. “Strengthening the monopoly for an historically bad service provider is the wrong way to go. We need more competition, not a monopoly.”

Hickey, in response, said, “Only someone uninvolved could oppose a project that is a transformational upgrade to our local infrastructure.”

He said that with providers like Altice owning the cable equipment, any new competitor would need to build similar equipment from scratch, making competition unlikely.

With respect to the deals, he said he facilitated public meetings between Altice and the 21 homeowners’ associations in The Hills.

“I only wish Mr. McShane had taken the opportunity to attend his own neighborhood board meeting or a Township Committee meeting to better understand the communications industry, the available options and the actions being pursued by these bodies to mutually address a long-standing issue,” Hickey said.

Traffic

With respect to local traffic, McShane said it is “very real, and about to get worse.”

“Development at Liberty Corner, Bedminster One, and planned developments on 202/206 will all contribute huge increases in traffic in Bedminster, especially between Hills Drive and Fresh Market,” he said. He said peak hour backups already occur on highway ramps and Route 202-206.

There is also dangerous traffic on Hills Drive,” he added. He said office workers and others “use Hills Drive as a shortcut and drive aggressively. The crosswalks are dangerous, and there is no police presence. Accidents are not uncommon.

“It seems to many that the Township Committee has shown no interest in these areas,” McShane said. “Bedminster needs to commission a traffic study to figure out real solutions.”

Hickey said that while Routes 202 and 206 are state highways, the township has worked with the state Department of Transportation (DOT) on safety measures, such as additional signage, roadway markings and signal improvements at the River Road and Hills Drive intersections.

Also, he said, “recognizing that many of the traffic delays in the areas adjacent to the Hills are caused by traffic back-ups in Pluckemin, we have worked closely with our own traffic engineers and the DOT to pursue dramatic improvements to the Washington Valley/Burnt Mills Road intersection.”

Looming improvements include “the installation of new signal heads and traffic sensing equipment, realignment of the intersection geometry, the addition of a peripheral ring road and the redesign of the queuing lanes to alleviate traffic back-ups,” Hickey said. He said they are expected to improve intersection efficiency by more than 50 percent.

“These improvements will begin within the next 12 months and will be made at no taxpayer expense,” he added.

Villages

Another issue was the local economy.

Hickey touted the township’s rezoning of the recently vacated former AT&T complex on Route 202-206. He said it will help attract life sciences and high-tech users while prohibiting warehouses.

The committee is currently focused on Pluckemin Village, he noted. He said that in spite of some business investments, the village had begun to look tired.

The committee passed a property maintenance ordinance that recently led to the removal of some unsightly buildings, he said. It is now working with business owners on “re-imagining” what the village could be, with better pedestrian access from The Hills being a possibility, he said.

McShane drew attention to vacancies in The Hills Village Center, saying “the travel agency is gone, the sushi place and Subway are gone, the Caldwell Banker building, Carriage House building and former Chinese restaurant are empty.”

“With the loss of these businesses, there are fewer services available to the residents of Bedminster and the Hills and people have to travel to other towns,” he said. “We need a plan to attract new businesses.”

“A green way to help with that would be to put EV charging stations in the Hills Village Center, driving commerce to the area from 287 and 78,” he said. “The Township Committee needs to be involved in solutions and incentives.”

When it comes to communicating with the public, Hickey said improvements have included real-time and recorded committee meetings online, up-to-the-minute updates via Bedminster Alert, and an online payment system for local property and sewer taxes.

McShane said the committee still needs a “better presence” with the community.

“I envision a monthly series of meet-and-greets or Town Hall events at Hills clubhouses and other local venues to hear concerns and communicate progress,” he said.

As for the election, Hickey said local politics shouldn’t be a partisan vote.

“At a municipal level, we don’t encounter uniquely Democrat problems or Republican problems, just problems that need to be resolved,” he said. “I embrace the philosophy that as a public servant, I work for the residents, regardless of political affiliation.”

McShane saw the situation differently, saying the “Republican incumbents clearly do not want Democrats to be involved in any aspect of governing Bedminster.”

Hickey disputed that. “If you were to look at the composition of the volunteer committees and commissions in Bedminster, you would see there are individuals serving from every political party,” he said. “There is no political affiliation test on the volunteer form.”

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

LETTER: Hickey represents ‘actions and results, not empty talk’ in Bedminster

TO THE EDITOR: A friend of mine recently forwarded me a piece of campaign literature from our local Democrat party in Bedminster.

It talked about the need to address power problems, improve internet services and create better communications with the local homeowners associations (HOAs). Mind you, the key word here is “talked.”

I sit on many boards in Bedminster, including serving as the chair of the Bedminster Land Use Board, president of the Four Oaks condo association, treasurer of the Hills Village North Master Association and vice chair of the Bedminster Republican Municipal Committee. Perhaps I have a bit more insight into the goings-on in town, but then again, the truth is easy to discern if you’re even casually paying attention.

The Bedminster Township Committee, and Committeeman Hickey in particular, are already at the forefront of addressing the power issues in our immediate area. Public meetings have been held with JCP&L, giving residents the opportunity to voice their concerns and demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the utility. Once we got their attention, they went to work, and we got results.

In addition to upgrading switches and transformers, JCP&L has relocated and replaced overhead and underground lines, fast-forwarded their inspection and maintenance schedule and invested significantly more in their local tree trimming budget.

In addition, Committeeman Hickey successfully fought to hold the utility liable for the lateral lines in our communities, which will save each homeowners association tens of thousands of dollars in maintenance fees. While there remains more work to be done, Colin’s efforts have resulted in tangible improvements to our local grid. He speaks in the language of actions and results, not just talk.

When it comes to cable, we here in The Hills suffered for years with subpar performance from our local provider Cablevision, which is now owned by Altice. Springing into action once again, Committeeman Hickey organized a public meeting to make Altice aware of the problem and compel them to act. As a result of his persistence, Altice committed to upgrading our local cable network to Fiber-To-The-Home service at no expense to the homeowners or the community. Not only will this significantly improve performance, but it will add to the value of our homes.

I’m glad the Democrats are “talking” about improving the service, but back in the real world, Altice already began the upgrade in my neighborhood two weeks ago. My understanding from Colin is that 17 of the 21 Bedminster HOAs he has worked with have already signed up for the upgrade, with more to follow, and my neighborhood is the fourth this year to be constructed, with many more to be completed by the end of 2024. Actions and results, not empty talk.

And this flowery language about improving communication with the associations? Has the Democratic candidate even been to one of his own HOA meetings, never mind served on the board? I can tell you from firsthand experience that Committeeman Hickey has been closely involved with each of the associations and their respective property managers, has attended our Master meetings to address issues and is always readily available to me and the rest of my board members whenever we have a question or concern. Actions and results, not simply talk.

Based on their rhetoric, I can only conclude that the Bedminster Democrats are endorsing Colin’s platform. Apparently, they read the room – or Colin’s website – and decided that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Like me, I suspect most Bedminster voters want the genuine article and trust Colin to continue his good work and build on the successes he has achieved to date.

On Nov. 7, I plan on voting for the candidate who, as the kids say, brings the receipts. Please join me in re-electing Committeeman Colin Hickey to the Bedminster Township Committee.

CAROL GUTTSCHALL

Heatherwood Lane
Bedminster Township

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

Election Night @ Burnt Mills Cider

The Bedminster Republicans will be hosting their Election Night Watch Party at Burnt Mills Cider from 7:00 to 9:00 PM on Tuesday, November 7th. Share a cider with friends old and new, and watch the results as they come in. Walk-ins welcome!

LETTER: Endorsement for Colin Hickey for Bedminster Township Committee

Having served for many years on both my neighborhood Homeowner Association’s Board as well as on the Hills Village Master Association Board, of which I am currently a Trustee at Large, I have found that it is far easier to say what should be done than actually rolling up your sleeves and doing the work. Colin Hickey has a proven track record of doing the work and that is why he is getting my vote for Bedminster Township committee.

Colin’s business minded and hands on approach helps Bedminster residents, including the Hills, enjoy an efficient local government that delivers high quality services while preserving one of the lowest tax rates in Somerset County. He is always focused on residents’ needs and is willing to advocate on their behalf when the support of local government can help achieve a good outcome for all. Over the past 3 years he has personally made it his mission to make sure that JCP&L made improvements to their facilities and operations. While this has already reduced the number of power outages in the Hills, he remains committed to completing this work by encouraging JCP&L to ramp up preventive maintenance and replace aging infrastructure.

Colin has also worked extensively with Altice getting them to agree to make the Hills the first condo development in New Jersey to wholly transform from hybrid fiber coax to state of the art Fiber to the Home. Once Colin gained Altice’s commitment, his job was not yet complete. He worked with all of the 21 neighborhood associations in the Bedminster section of the Hills to bring the project to life. To date, 17 have signed with Altice and the remaining 4 are in process. The fiber buildout commenced this April and will move forward to completion bringing vastly improved service as well as directly improving home values.

As a member of the Bedminster Planning Board as well as the Agricultural Committee, Colin ensures that Bedminster Green spaces are maintained and fully utilized. He is always open to new ideas and perspectives. Whether it is responding on Facebook, via Nextdoor, with an email, or even a quick conversation on a Saturday morning while directing traffic at the Farmer’s Market, Colin ensures that Hills residents are heard, and issues are addressed.

BARBARA BAUMANN

The Hills
Bedminster Township


Editor’s Note: This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in TAPinto Bernardsville & Bedminster.

LETTER: I’m voting for Colin Hickey again

TO THE EDITOR: Having attended more than a handful of Bedminster Township Committee meetings this year, I believe there is only one credible candidate running for Township Committee. Representing all the people of the township is a nonpartisan activity. Not everyone will be happy with your decisions.

The current Township Committee is much more open to local businesses in town, continually working to adopt business-friendly zoning changes. Back in the day, a long past committee had a problem with “Welcome to Bedminster,” opting instead for “Entering Bedminster.” Recently approved signage offered for sponsorship to local businesses by the township now welcomes people to Bedminster.

Attending committee meetings is how one becomes informed. I find it hard to understand that any person who wants to represent the people of Bedminster would not be present at committee meetings.

Jacob Perry covers most of what goes on at committee meetings, but he cannot cover it all as it needs to be told as a story. Reading the committee meeting minutes can provide candidates with information. Having seen no comments about the minutes in person, by Zoom or letters to the editor, I have to believe the committee is doing a respectable job.

Interested parties would know that the committee is incredibly involved in the River Road Farmers Market. In the meetings I have attended, weekly farmers’ market attendance figures are proudly recited. Recently approved is a $49,000 contract to install a 20 foot by 20 foot pavilion, with funding provided by a grant the township recently received. I understand the grant also provides for two compost toilets.

The farmers market draws a wide range of people, including former governors of this state. It is usually a committee member who welcomes/counts people attending the market. Of late that committee person is Colin Hickey. You can see him most Saturdays at the walk-in entrance to the market.

Committeeman Hickey is the lead person involved in the Optimum fiber installation in the Hills. Mr. Hickey is extremely responsive to requests for information and guidance. I would not be surprised if Colin has JCP&L on speed dial as the power fluctuations in the Hills are a continuing discussion at committee meetings. Committeeman Hickey answers all the constituents of Bedminster when questions are presented to him.

This November, do not waste your vote on a partisan vote. I’m voting for Colin Hickey again.

MICHAEL J. ROWDEN

Spencer Lane
Pluckemin

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

LETTER: Hickey has improved quality of life for Bedminster residents

TO THE EDITOR: To the residents of Bedminster Township, please join me in voting to re-elect Colin Hickey to our Township Committee this year. 

As we are all told as youngsters, your actions speak louder than your words. Over the past six-plus years, we’ve all witnessed Colin performing yeoman’s work to improve the quality of life for all Bedminster residents. Colin’s actions in that regard speak for themselves and should make your decision this election cycle an easy one.

Harnessing his business acumen and utility experience, Colin took on the township’s utility providers and achieved results beyond anyone’s imagination. As many of you on social media know, Colin interfaces with JCP&L representatives and numerous community members to monitor electric service interruptions. Colin has become a “go-to” source for many when they need to know how long their power will be out.

Unsatisfied with simply monitoring events, Colin then coordinated town hall meetings directly with JCP&L representatives where residents were able to voice their concerns and identify the frequency of service interruptions directly to the utility provider. Since those meetings, JCP&L has installed upgraded equipment, replaced aged infrastructure, re-routed power lines, enhanced redundancy and increased its tree trimming efforts, all of which has resulted in a far more reliable electrical service for the community. 

We also witnessed Colin intervene in a material matter between a utility and homeowners’ association regarding the financial responsibility for repairing the lateral lines that feed the community. Colin was able to convince the utility provider to reverse its position and assume sole responsibility for that liability.

Colin’s actions saved the homeowners’ association tens of thousands of dollars, while also removing that potential liability from other homeowners’ associations moving forward into the future. 

One of the lessons we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that we all need reliable internet service in our homes. For many residents in The Hills, that was not the case. Colin noted the numerous complaints lodged over social media, and he again took action. As a result of Colin’s hard work and persistence, the vast majority of homeowners’ associations have already signed agreements or are in the process of negotiating agreements with the internet provider to deliver new, fiber optic, internet service throughout The Hills communities.

Simply put, Colin’s actions during his six-plus years on the Township Committee have been nothing short of exceptional. He’s earned my vote, and I enthusiastically suggest that his actions speak far louder than any words that may be offered by his opponent. Please join me in voting for Colin Hickey on Nov. 7.

DOUGLAS A. STEVINSON

Ski Hill Drive
Bedminster Township

Editor’s Note: The writer is a Republican member of the Bedminster Township Committee.  This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in The Bernardsville News.

LETTER: Colin Hickey is ‘the voice of Bedminster’

TO THE EDITOR: In his six years on the Township Committee, plus several years prior and concurrently volunteering for many other township boards, events and functions, Colin Hickey has more than demonstrated his dedication to the people of our town.

This past year alone, he has jumped in again with JCP&L as they continue to have issues delivering electricity to much of the community. He has fielded calls from residents, including me, and responded to people on social media boards, and with real updates on each event – something the utility company has not done otherwise.

Colin and the Township Committee also continue to host meetings with representatives from JCP&L including questions and answers with residents – a necessary activity. Along with this, he helped community leaders in the Hills settle the issue of power line infrastructure ownership within the homeowner associations with the utility companies.

Similarly, he has recently championed a program with Altice/Optimum to upgrade its aging infrastructure to fiber optic within the Hills. The infrastructure work has been performed at no cost to the customers or homeowner associations (HOAs).

Colin does this alongside regular duties as a committeeman, including sitting on Bedminster’s Land Use board and many others. 

Lastly, in addition to utility issues, any time questions about the township pop up on local social media groups, these are regularly responded to by Colin, and done so in a professional and informative way – hence, the voice of Bedminster.

I encourage all to support Colin in re-election for Bedminster Township Committee.

JEFFREY S. LEONARD

Wescott Road
Bedminster Township

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

LETTER: Resident grateful for efforts of Bedminster Township Committee

TO THE EDITOR: My name is Richard Costa. I am the president of the Wood Pond Condo Association in the Hills.

I am writing to acknowledge the work that Colin Hickey and the Bedminster Township Committee have done to help residents address multiple issues with the utility companies plaguing our community for years.

I wanted to share this letter with you as I thought their efforts should be recognized for making Bedminster Township a better place for their residents. Please see my thank you letter below sent to Colin Hickey and the Bedminster Township Committee:

Colin,

I am writing to thank you and the Bedminster Township Committee for everything you have done to help residents of Wood Duck Pond address power issues that have plagued the Hills and for spearheading the efforts to bring the Altice fiber project into our community.

Thank you for championing these efforts for the past several years! When there’s a power outage in The Hills, whether it is working the phones with JCP&L or providing status updates on social media, you’re always there for us.

Last year we experienced multiple failures with JCP&L’s underground lateral lines that provide critical power from the transformers to the buildings in our neighborhood. This cost our association tens of thousands of dollars in emergency work after JCP&L refused to be held liable for maintaining their own equipment.

Thanks to your persistence and tenacity, you researched JCP&L’s policies and were able to successfully hold them accountable for making the necessary to repairs to the lateral lines and refund our association the money that we paid out for those emergency repairs. I suspect that as the electrical infrastructure continues to age in our community, these ‘lateral breaks’ will become more commonplace, and I am relieved that the burden for these repairs will be lifted off all our shoulders.

We are also grateful for everything you did in making the Altice fiber installation a reality in Wood Duck Pond. For years our residents complained that their internet service was slow and unreliable. Our 30-plus-year-old coaxial infrastructure was antiquated and was never designed to support the capacity of today’s needs in a post-pandemic world.

We are especially grateful for your help making all the necessary arrangements with Altice and negotiating project terms that protected the interests of the residents of Wood Duck Pond.

You have always had our backs!

Kudos to Mayor (Larry) Jacobs, our Township Committee and especially you, Colin, for being our allies and advocates! We are very fortunate to have you on our side.

RICHARD COSTA

High Pond Lane
Bedminster Township

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

Fall Fundraiser

The Bedminster Republicans will be hosting their fall fundraiser at Burnt Mills Cider from 6:30 – 9:00 PM on Tuesday, October 10th. Share a cider with friends old and new, and meet this year’s candidate for Bedminster Township Committee, Colin Hickey. RSVP to [email protected].

LETTER: Hickey backed for Bedminster Township Committee

TO THE EDITOR: As a current and longtime resident of both Crestmont and Parkside, and Colin Hickey, as a 15-year former resident of Stone Run, we understand the unique needs of The Hills.

We take seriously our commitments as the Bedminster Township Committee liaisons to The Hills, representing all the residents who live here.

If you are a reader of Bedminster Buddies or Nextdoor, you know that power and cable outages have been two of the most persistent issues that have plagued The Hills. And Bedminster residents look to the Township Committee for help.

Enter Colin with his extensive background in tech and business.

Colin is the guy working the phones and providing updates on social media whenever there is a power outage.

But more importantly, he’s been the one holding JCP&L accountable and ensuring they invest in our community and local infrastructure. That’s meant new cabling, switches and transformers, along with a commitment from JCP&L that they alone will be on the hook to replace failing laterals, as opposed to the burden being placed on the home owner associations (HOA).

He’s even testified in front of the Board of Public Utilities, calling for JCP&L to make additional investments in tree trimming. And while they make our town beautiful, downed trees and branches are the leading cause of power outages both here in Bedminster and throughout the state.

While working or attending school from home during Covid was a game-changer, it became apparent to all of us that the capacity of the networks in The Hills was completely insufficient.

Colin has been working feverishly to get the cable infrastructure in The Hills upgraded to Fiber-to-the-Home at no expense to the town or Hills residents.

His work has directly resulted in 17 of the 21 Bedminster HOAs having signed agreements with Altice to upgrade their local neighborhood networks to fiber connectivity, with more to follow. This upgrade will significantly improve the experience of those working, studying and playing from home, as well as improve the value of our homes without additional investment out of our own pockets.

Last but not least, Colin’s role as a resident and Hills advocate led him to champion – and win – a fight to prevent a significant rate increase being contemplated by N.J. American Water. These days we are grateful for any way we can find to decrease the cost of running our homes.

Colin walks the walk and talks the talk. He firmly believes in using the power of local government to amplify the voices of our residents and get results for us.

Please join me in voting for Colin Hickey this fall for Bedminster Township Committee.

RENEE MARESKI

Crestmont Road
Bedminster Township

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

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!

STEVE PARKER
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.