Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Spencer Lane

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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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!

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:

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.