Stabilize taxes and increase property values by enhancing commercial ratables, actively partnering with our local businesses, attracting new businesses by creating an Economic Development Commission, and closely scrutinizing how tax dollars are spent.
Our taxes keep increasing while our property values decrease. We want to ensure that Bernards Township remains the premier place where people want to live, work and bring their business. We are both homeowners in Bernards Township and have seen our property taxes increase, while our home values have stayed stagnant at best. As members of the Township Committee, we will work to stabilize our property taxes by increasing our ratables through supporting our local businesses, attracting more small businesses, and scrutinizing the way our tax dollars are currently being spent. By rejuvenating our business districts, Bernards Township becomes an even more desirable location to live or visit, which will increase home values. We recognize that for many of us, our homes are the biggest investments we will ever make in our lives. As township committee members, we will work to protect those investments on behalf of our residents.
Our local businesses are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing shutdown.
Our priority is to rejuvenate our local businesses and ensure their long term success. We will revitalize our business districts by supporting our existing local businesses as well as attracting new businesses, which will add to the Township’s tax revenue base while simultaneously decreasing the property tax burden on our residents. We will work with our local businesses with the goal of creating an Economic Development Commission to bring our local business leaders to the table to create a strategic plan with immediate, short term and long term goals to stimulate our economy and protect our property values.
In addition to preserving and sustaining township assets, and strategically enhancing our commercial and business district to optimize aesthetics and functionality, we will work creatively to accommodate the federal and state housing mandates.
Unfortunately, in the past the leaders of Bernards Township have been ill-prepared to deal with the evolving governmental mandates surrounding affordable housing. As a result, Bernards Township has been left with no choice but to agree to development projects or “builder’s remedy,” that are not in the best interest of the Township. Through proactive and creative thinking, we will endeavor that Bernards Township meet all of its affordable housing requirements going forward without being forced into projects that our residents do not support and that may be detrimental to our community.
Prioritize the safety and security — both physical and digital security — of all residents and township assets.
The Township Committee’s top priority should be ensuring the safety and security of the residents of Bernards Township. In this day and age, security includes not only our physical safety, but also the safety and security of our personal information. Unfortunately, this year Bernards Township was the victim of a ransomware attack that shut down the Township’s technological infrastructure for an extended period of time. Certain information was compromised although, to date, the Township Committee has not divulged what material was lost or fell into the wrong hands. Concerns over the Township’s network was not a new issue, and the Township Committee had known about its vulnerability for some time, but chose not to adequately secure its network. As Township Committee members, we will put the safety and security of our residents at the forefront of all of our decisions to make sure that the residents of Bernards Township, along with their personal information, is safe and secure.
Bernards Township is becoming increasingly diverse, which we believe is a wonderful thing. However, our approach to governance must also evolve. We will work tirelessly to ensure that everyone in our community is equally represented and heard, and that no one in our community feels unwelcome.
We will ensure all residents — regardless of race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, LGTBQIA+, or level of emotional or physical ability — are represented, and that all township governance is transparent and accessible.
The Township Committee was offered a significant step in this direction when Committeewoman Joan Harris sought to create a Human Rights Advisory Committee, which would have focused on diversity and inclusion within Bernards Township. Unfortunately, the majority of the Township Committee voted against its creation despite strong community support. As Township Committee members, we will not give up on the creation of a Human Rights Advisory Committee to continue to make Bernards Township a welcoming community.
We will improve and maintain our infrastructure to ensure our roads are safe by providing better lighting, increasing sidewalks, and fixing potholes.
Many of the roads in Bernards Township are in desperate need of repair. This includes roads with potholes, poorly lit streets, and roads without sidewalks that create a safety issue for our residents. We will work to ensure that our residents’ tax dollars are being used efficiently to improve our quality of life.
Paid for by Chadda & Sandler for Bernards Township Committee, PO Box 5352, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920