BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Each week leading to the November 5 election, the 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 Democratic Township Council Candidate Julie Figlar for Week 1.

Week 1 Questions:

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  • Why are you Running for Office?
  • What unique skills or knowledge will you bring to the elected office you are seeking?
  • What do you think the major issues facing Berkeley Heights are at this time?

Why are you running for office?

Earlier this year, my daughter asked me a question about what was going to happen to the Mondelli property across from Town Hall, and whether it was going to be a park. After inquiring with Mayor Angie Devanney, and learning it was going to be a small park along with some housing units, I realized I needed to roll up my sleeves and be part of the team that is working to ensure our town develops in a responsible way that benefits our community. I realized that I could play an important role in making Berkeley Heights an even a better town for my three daughters to grow up in.  That’s why I’m running for Township Council. 

Together with Rina Franchino, I want to join Team Purple to bring about more Change We Can Agree On. We are running a positive, issues-driven campaign that focuses on how we can make Berkeley Heights government work better for everyone, building on the record of accomplishments already made in Year One.

What unique skills or knowledge will you bring to the council?

Understanding our community and the needs of our residents is something I value and live every day. As educators and involved mothers of young children in town, Rina and I interact daily with members of  community – listening to your concerns, getting feedback on what you feel needs improvement, and how you want to make this town better for our children. Whether it is on the sports fields, at PTO events, neighborhood barbeques, the dance studio, Girl Scouts events or even the grocery store, we are part of the fabric that makes Berkeley Heights great.  Running for Council was a decision we made because we are here for the long run, and we’re ready to get to work!  

What do you think the major issues facing the town are at this time?

There’s no doubt that our town could use more passive and active recreational space for our residents of all ages. Cultivating and developing current and future recreation space is a priority for me. It isn’t just about fields for our children, it’s also about having passive open air spaces such as walking and biking trails that all residents can enjoy, including our senior citizens.  

I want to become the Township Council’s point person in tackling these changes and implement a plan during my first 24 months in office. This plan will include:

    • Establishing a formal joint taskforce to ensure repairs and improvements of our fields takes place.  
    • Create a Recreation Maintenance fund which could receive contributions from the PAL, Board of Education and the town.  Additionally, monies raised from fees levied from future development can help fund recreation maintenance for the next 20 years.
    • Help ensure a new turf baseball field will be completed in 2020 at Snyder Park
    • Look for alternative additional options for field space by conducting an inventory of undeveloped land throughout Berkeley Heights
    • Include walking and biking trails in that inventory with an eye towards making them wider, safer, and more enjoyable.  

In addition, our motto,  "Change We Can Agree On," means no longer neglecting our aging infrastructure, not being afraid to tackle tough problems like our municipal debt head-on, looking for any and all sources of additional revenue to fund much-needed road or drainage projects, doing away with antiquated approaches to increasingly complex challenges, coming up with creative ways to offer more services for our taxpayers, and so much more. It means overseeing smart development in a way that works for our town.

But perhaps most importantly, "Change We Can Agree On" means working together with YOU to make Berkeley Heights a town we are all proud to call home.