Spring is around the corner, and we’re working hard to continue to deliver services to the residents of Berkeley Heights and increase communication. We want to further utilize social media to open up government to the residents and increase your sense of connectedness to your local Administration!
Our Department of Public Works (DPW) crew has been working tirelessly to ensure that our roadways have been passable and safe for travel as quickly as possible. More than a few students were a little disappointed when school was open a few weeks ago after a big snowfall—even my own kids were upset with their mayor - but kudos to our DPW department for preparing the roads so that they were ready for school on Monday, March 4th.
We also kicked off the first e-Waste and Styrofoam Recycling even on Saturday, March 2nd. Residents lined their cars up to dispose of unwanted electronics, even in the snow. The next one is scheduled for April 6th, 9 AM -12 PM. Please bring your electronics, #6 Styrofoam and your driver’s license to the DPW garage, located on Berkeley Avenue, off of Park Avenue near the construction of the municipal complex, behind Town Hall.
I personally have logged hours on the phone with JCP&L to provide information and updates when outages occur - to both the power company and residents affected by those outages. JCP&L is striving to improve communication and improve response time to quickly mobilize their crews. To that end, I would also like to laud our police department and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) coordinator for working in tandem with myself, my administration and the DPW Interim Director, to communicate and quickly address safety issues caused by this season’s ice, wind and snow events.
We started budget hearings and continue to keep a watchful eye on our town coffers. As I like to say we are not on a shoe string budget, but “dental floss!” One area that the Township must invest in is tackling a town-wide drainage study. Over time, our aging infrastructure is causing severe flooding and erosion issues. Last week, the Township submitted its application to the Union County Infrastructure Program, requesting $62,000 to begin to examine the problem and cost to alleviate it.
The Mayor’s Recycling Task Force kicked off in February with in-depth conversation of ideas to explore and potentially find savings for our skyrocketing recycling costs. The COST to recycle increased 142.9% in the last fiscal year - a spike triggered by policy changes in China. The Task Force is set to report to the Mayor and Town Council by July. We are working to find solutions that may include dual-stream recycling and looking into quasi-public utility firms to take our recycling.
Working with Union County Sheriff Peter Corvelli, I plan to announce two springtime events. Coming to Berkeley Heights is a free fingerprint program, conducted by the Sheriff’s Office, to establish a fingerprint record of your child(ren) that can be used by law enforcement agencies in the event a child becomes lost or abducted. The fingerprint cards are returned to the parents for safekeeping.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office, in cooperation with Project Lifesaver International, will also offer Berkeley Heights residents a valuable service in Project Lifesaver. This program is a valuable tool for law enforcement to assist in the locating of lost or wandering individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease, Down’s Syndrome or Autism. Please click below for program costs, though income eligibility is strongly considered, and for more information: http://ucnj.org/sheriff/functions/project-lifesaver-program/
Cultural events have been nothing short of amazing, including the Lunar New Year celebrating Asian culture. The first Black History Month celebration also took place in February, highlighting the experiences of Frank Bolden and his family. The Diversity Council, a nonprofit nonpartisan group, has done an outstanding job ensuring that we celebrate the difference throughout our entire community. I would like to specifically recognize their efforts.
I look forward to updating you again when we hit our 100-day mile marker. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or our Business Administrator Liza Viana, email@example.com, if we can assist you in any way.
All the best,