BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Each week leading to the June 6 Primary election, the Republican candidates running for Berkeley Heights Township Council have the opportunity to answer question(s) that will be run in a series by TAPinto Berkeley Heights.

The following answer is from Republican candidate Jeanne Kingsley for Week 3.

Week 3 Question: What would you like to see the Township Council do to improve communication with residents so that the process involved in governing is more inclusive/transparent? How would you do it?

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Transparency in government allows taxpayers to clearly see how elected representatives are spending our tax dollars, and hold their elected officials accountable. As a taxpayer and a CPA, I take my fiduciary responsibilities for the town budget, both operating and capital, extremely seriously. Our zero-based budget process involves several public meetings. Residents are encouraged to participate, ask questions, share thoughts and suggestions. These public hearings are essential. They provide all citizens the opportunity to share in the budget process. Together we seek the best use of every tax dollar, cost effectiveness, efficiency, and providing the services residents deserve and expect.

The primary form of communication for the Council is its bi-monthly meetings. All residents are welcome and encouraged to participate. Meeting dates are posted on the town website, Facebook page, and local newspaper. Public meetings of governmental bodies are subject to the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA). This Council goes above and beyond the minimum requirements of this law in order to ascertain the public’s input and provide discussion. There are two public comment periods during each Council meeting: one seeking input on agenda items and another asking residents to share thoughts, opinions, concerns, and introduce new topics. Recognizing that all residents cannot physically attend Council meetings, we live-stream and videotape them. Agendas are posted on the town website and made available in paper format by request, along with approved minutes.

Communication methods are changing, and the town council is adapting to make our communication more effective. The Township launched a Facebook page in 2016 to provide residents with timely notices of meetings, updates from the town administrator, emergency alerts, and community activity announcements. The volunteer Communications Committee advises the Council on ways to improve and enhance all forms and formats of communication with residents. These volunteers save the Township from hiring costly consultants. They research ways to improve the township website, enhance information available to residents and make it easier to navigate. The Council continues to seek residents’ ideas on how to strategically improve our communications in all media formats, and how we might make further improvements without taxpayer burden.

The Mayor, all Council members and administrative staff are available by email and in person by appointment to answer questions, share ideas or concerns. We continually seek new ways to provide for public input. Please visit KingsleyFaecher2017.com to learn more about us. The Primary is June 6. Thank you.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in the answer are the candidate's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the candidate.