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Fiscal Responsibility is not only about the absence of debt. It’s about not wasting tax dollars on avoidable litigation, consulting, and public relation fees. It’s saying no to taking advantage of a statutory “loop hole” rather than claiming entitlement to costly health insurance benefits. We will press township committee members who have been receiving healthcare insurance benefits paid by taxpayer funds over the last eight years to end this practice. Since 2010, these benefits cost taxpayers nearly $663,000. We want to make proper use of the Planning Board and its experts whenever possible to avoid costly task forces and additional consulting expenses. 
Mental Health Issues including depression, anxiety, suicide and substance use disorders continue to rise. We know early intervention, especially among our youth, can substantially increase the chances for recovery. We will continue to bring awareness and destigmatize this issue, so that community members who may be affected will seek treatment and be supported. With the Stigma Free Initiative now in place, we will amplify these efforts, including partnering with school and non-profit organizations through the Municipal Alliance and the Board of Health, and offer Youth Mental Health First Aid training and other education programs.
Affordable Housing requires proactive solutions, innovative alternatives, and inclusion of our residents in the process to meet our obligations and avoid over-development. There are far better alternatives than being forced to allow a developer to build multiple units of market price housing for every single unit of affordable housing. We will also make sure that affordable housing residents are not blind-sided by administrative actions, and we will work to make sure Affordable Housing remains affordable.
Environmentally and economically sound growth that serves and protects the community requires smart development and sound zoning. We will insure that any development plan for the Millington Quarry property includes adequate financial commitment to finalize site cleanup and to conduct long-term environmental oversight.

Transparent Government informs the public and Open Government invites their participation. We will ensure you are kept informed on issues. We will encourage and welcome dialogue, listen to your suggestions, and respond to your questions. In doing so, the community will benefit from the collective wisdom of all stakeholders. We advocate for the appointment of residents to boards, commissions, or authorities that reflect the cultural and political diversity of our community, and we oppose the appointment of non-residents.

We believe respectful treatment of volunteers should go without saying. Unfortunately, some township volunteers, after devoting several years of service on boards and commissions, were summarily discarded by way of a form letter. Other volunteers felt they were pressured into decisions and resigned their appointments. Such disrespect is not only wrong and particularly hurtful to an an individual, but it harms our community as it serves to discourage much needed volunteer service. We will implement best practices to insure volunteers are treated with the respect and gratitude they deserve. 

Safety requires focus on infrastructure, road safety, and traffic. We will work to assure our infrastructure is regularly inspected and reported – from potholes to athletic fields. We will review work priorities based on safety and equity, and assure problems are addressed in a timely fashion with easy public verification. We will assure that a wide range of safe options are considered for essential high-cost projects. We will work to reduce safety hazards such as disregarded stop signs and speeding, and we will work with county and state government to ensure safe roadways for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. We will work to expand safe pedestrian and cycling routes.

Local businesses, recreation and the arts all define the character of our community, and offer us the opportunity to connect with others providing a sense of belonging. Our vibrant township is rich in diversity. Ethnic minorities now constitute over 30% of our population and 48 languages are spoken. Although recent events may have harmed Bernards Township's reputation, our shared goal is to bring our community together in a way that respects our differences and common values, and restores our reputation as a caring, resilient community.

We will preserve what is best about our town, and welcome change to respond to the needs and desires of our diverse population. Most importantly, we will not lose sight of our obligation to serve the community in a transparent and welcoming manner.


Your concerns are our concerns. Start the conversation here.



Paid for by the Harris & Mascia for Bernards Township Committee, P.O. Box 75, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920-0075.
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