Editor' note: Carolyn Gaziano is a former Bernards Township Committeewoman and past township Mayor.
To the Editor:
I implore the Somerset County Freeholders to please re-open Lord Stirling Stables as a County stable in 2021. LSS provides incredible services and opportunities.
I know that the stables' revenue does not cover its expenses, however most parks are not revenue generators, nor should we expect them to be. The 7/14 freeholder meeting raised many questions. Mr. Soriano spoke about privatizing the stables. Can the county stipulate what services the private operator would provide? At what cost? How can the county ensure that a private enterprise does not over intensify the use of the property? The stable is surrounded on by residences.
The county has always kept activity and parking to the interior, protecting the surrounding residential areas. How can the county ensure that a private operator does the same? Can the county stipulate hours? No increase in lighting intensity or hours? This is being brought to the freeholders because they control the county budget. Why is the stables being singled out for such a large reduction? According to the 2019 Parks Commission budget online, the county spent a net $521,606 on LSS, $449,804 on Buck Garden and $432,225 on the EEC. Other parks were not broken out. Parks are the most important service provided by the county and all should be funded. With a county budget of $251 million, $11 million is not too much for parks. Look at reducing other areas such as the $40 million public safety and $34 million public works, both of which had increases.