Dear Editor,

I have been following our local election for Town Council since last spring.  Pete Bavoso and Manny Couto have been in it from the start. They have taken a keen interest in the people of Berkeley Heights, identifying all the issues on the minds of all residents. They have researched these issues, gathered input, and determined what is working well and what needs to be improved. They have real plans on how to make those improvements, but most of all they understand and acknowledge the fact that it takes money to make improvements, and that the tax payer cannot be the only source of funding. They have a plan for expanding municipal grant opportunities, and what has been working well in our community: Public/Private partnerships. Both Pete and Manny have the experience and proven track records to make a difference. It is not enough to just have ideas.  

It is not enough to proclaim you will “fix” things. It's unacceptable to arbitrarily demand a “cut” in the budget. How much of 18 cents (the municipal budget share of each tax dollar) can you really cut without affecting our Police Department, DPW, Senior citizen programs, recreation facilities, and township services? Cries for spending dollars we don't have or taking dollars from services we need is not a program plan. To have a plan you have to know how it will be implemented and a means to pay for it with real dollars. Every program needs a collaborative funding base, not just to implement the program, but to continue it and maintain it. The ability to bring people together to get productive results takes more than just ideas; it takes relationships, negotiating skills, and a total understanding about money and the budget process. 

I want Town Council representatives who have proven experience on how to negotiate contracts, see the big picture, have a focus on the future, and who know how to manage money; who are property tax payers themselves and understand it's their own dollars at work along with mine.  I want representatives who understand all the issues affecting all of us…not just ones that can grab a headline. Pete Bavoso and Manuel Couto have the skills, expertise, and experience to get the job done.  Please join me in voting for them on November 8 Column B.