BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ  -- -- Welcome to “Notes from Town Council”, your new way to keep on top of what your elected Town Council members want you to know about.  Each Town Council member gives a brief report at the beginning of each Township Council meeting; Town Council meetings are twice a month. These updates vary from meeting to meeting based on what’s going on in town.  Sometimes they include updates about their Committees, their ideas for new Government initiatives, or can be updates about their to participation in community events or upcoming events you might want to attend.  We will report them in the order they are given at the meeting, generally alphabetical order.

The Berkeley Heights Communication Committee is partnering with TAPinto Berkeley Heights, to bring you regular updates from your Town Council members.  Watch this column for future Notes from Town Council and read on here.

Councilman Bavoso reported:

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  • Communications Committee update.  
    • The Communications Committee is working with both the Environmental Commission and the Downtown Beautification Committee to migrate their Commission/Committee information onto the new website.  
    • Residents continue to have great feedback on the new website, especially the strong search engine.  
    • The first Listening Session of the year is scheduled for Sunday, May 19 from 3-4pm at the YMCA.   These are informal gatherings of the Mayor and Councilmembers with a causal vibe.  The Mayor, Council President Medeiros and Councilman Bavoso will attend the first one.  
    • Please follow the Berkeley Heights Communications Committee on Facebook AND please sign up for notifications on the new website using the “nifty” button on the home page “Notify Me”.

Councilman Couto reported:

  • Recreation Commission survey: is online, please fill it out if you haven’t already
  • The 2020 Census: Next year, the Census will return on April 1, 2020.  Residents can apply for available jobs online.  Last time, Berkeley Heights was counted at 13,576.  It’s important for residents to register for the census.
  • Downtown Beautification Committee: is hosting the “Berkeley Heights Walks” program and is coordinating with the PTOs to assess pedestrian walkways, especially those around our schools and those leading to our downtown.  They are helping pursue the Safe Routes to Schools grant application and are encouraging everyone to participate.  Assessments can be submitted.  More information is available at www.ExperienceBH.com - Facebook and website.
  • Bike Safety Reminder: The law requires a helmet on everyone 17 years old or younger while on a bike.  It is dangerous to ride without one.  Parents are strongly encouraged to set a good example for their kids by wearing one too, even if they don’t like to wear one!
  • Transportation and Parking Task Force: Councilman Couto asked the Mayor about the status of the Transportation and Parking Task Force he has been planning.  The Mayor responded that it will be on the May 7 Agenda.
  • Art for The Park: The Peppertown Park Committee will be hosting a fundraiser for the redevelopment of Peppertown Park on Saturday, May 11 from 12pm to 5pm at Columbia Middle School. Come experience Berkeley Heights and support our beautiful Peppertown Park renewal project!

Councilwoman Kingsley reported:

  • Downtown Beautification Committee: held an open meeting in April with one resident with attendance.  There may be another open meeting later in the year and she encourages residents to attend.
  • Walks and assessments for Safe Routes to Schools: The PTOs put together & distributed a questionnaire, which was sent out to parents along with maps of the paths by the schools.  They will put questionnaire on website for residents to use to assess sidewalks around town.  Please drop off completed questionnaire at Town Hall before May 5th.  Councilwoman Kingsley expressed the urgency of it by saying the more data the town has, the better it is to seek grant funding.
  • Safe Streets to Transit:  Berkeley Heights is the recipient of the largest grant issued in the state at $410,000 for pedestrian safety to and from transit facilities, focusing on safe sidewalks and safe ways to cross streets! There was $1M total distributed across each county and the next largest grant was for $250,000.  We will update website to include where the grant funding will be used when determined by Town Council and BHPD.  They are currently looking at Plainfield Ave from the train station down to Mountain Ave and the surrounding streets, connecting to the schools (CMS, MP, MKMECC, H). Councilwoman Kingsley explained that one reason why the town was successful in receiving this large grant was because the town has so many developers who will have to fix the sidewalks connected to their developments as a result of Article 19 which requires streetscape enhancements. Additionally, it shows the state that BH is serious about making BH a more walkable town.
  • Safe Routes to Schools: We are still waiting for grant to be announced.  
  • Transportation Alternatives Grant: The township requested $127,000 for lighting on Springfield Ave to the west of Plainfield Ave. It has not been awarded yet. 
  • Website Notification: If you were previously signed up to receive notifications from the old website (ex, for agendas), those notifications were not yet carried over to the new website.  The Communications Committee is working to transfer those notifications, watch your email for more information about completing your new website account and starting to receive notifications.

Council President Medeiros reported:

  • The Environmental Commission: is planning to present at the May 21 Town Council meeting. The EC  garden launched with a great turnout. Council President Medeiros said congrats to all who participated!
  • Trex Bin: Kim Diamond recently published an article in TAPinto Berkeley Heights about attracting adopters for Trex Bins around town.  Dr. Smith has adopted a bin and now, all the bins are adopted! As a result of the Trex Bins, there are now 5-6 benches available to be installed in the town.  
  • BH Business and Civic: Council President Medeiros expressed congratulations to Berkeley Heights Business and Civic for a great turnout at their last meeting. 
  • April 7 Clean Up: Council Present Medeiros attended the clean up as well as Councilman Cuoto.  There are more planned, the group is aiming for one per month.
  • Recycling Task Force: The team has a July deadline to present to Town Council.  There is a resident survey coming soon to look at community attitudes about recycling.  Council Present Medeiros recently attended a meeting, along with Angus Chen and Mayor Devanney, with a Virginia company that provides a grant towards the acquisition of carts that reduce recycling cost and improve the effectiveness of recycling.  
  • Mayors Wellness Campaign: is forming.  The focus is to improve health in the community. More information to come!

Council VP Poage reported:  

  • Sustainable Berkeley Heights: She signed the pledge for Sustainable Berkeley Heights to not to use water bottles.
  • Literacy Project: Council VP Poage completed a literacy project with the Girl Scouts from Hughes. They helped her create Literacy materials that she will use with her students next year. She advocated for using Scouts a a great way to get free help. 
  • Events: She attended the PAL Fishing Derby and was very happy to see kids off of their devices. She also visited the Community Garden where there are only 2 plots left.  She gave kudos to Richard Leister and his whole team on doing a great job.
  • Meals On Wheels: Council VP Poage participated with Meals on Wheels on April 16.  It was a Tuesday, so the Senior Club was meeting.  She plans to go a different day next time.  During her time, she took a tour of the Sage Eldercare facility in Summit. SAGE, a nonprofit organization committed to being the leading provider of programs and services to meet the changing needs of older adults, their families, and caregivers, was founded in 1954. Their professionals provide a wide array of information, support, and services. She had a really great experience and she reminded the community that donations are accepted for their Resale Shop.
  • Planning Board: Council VP Poage is attending a course for Planning Board members on Saturday, April 27.  She will report about it at the next meeting.  The last Planning Board meeting over Spring Break was cancelled.
  • Good wishes: Council VP Poage also wished everyone a Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

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The Berkeley Heights Communications Committee Founded in 2010, the Berkeley Heights Communications Committee (BHCC) is an all-volunteer committee consisting of business owners, community leaders, and residents of Berkeley Heights Township.

The BHCC’s mission is to maximize the transparency of Township activities as well as promote both public and private sector initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of life for local community members. For more information, visit the Township’s website at http://www.BerkeleyHeights.gov or email the committee at: BHCommunications@bhtwp.com.