BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - There is a contested Primary for the Republican race for Berkeley Heights Township Council between incumbent Ed Delia and newcomers Peter Bavoso and Manuel Couto. TAP into Berkeley Heights has contacted the candidates and offered the opportunity to be profiled by answering the same six questions.
Primary Election Day is Tuesday, June 7. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Ed Delia responds:
Sign Up for E-News
1. What expertise will you add to the Council?
The first piece of expertise I will offer the council is common sense. Something that always appears lacking in government. Also, I offer an open mind to research each issue, listen to residents and the bravery to speak out instead of being another passive yes man. Being a life long resident, I understand what the township needs. Not what a few people want to make of it. This is not Westfield or Summit and people don't move here in hopes of it becoming such small cities.
2. As taxes continue to grow,and the population of the town expands, do you think there will ever become a time that the taxes will become stable or reduced?
I wish there will be a time when taxes are stabilized or reduced but...NO! Rule #1: Government likes to spend YOUR money. Government always looks at additional revenue as something to spend, not a way to lower taxes. The number one reason people move out of town is because they can't afford the taxes. My goal has always been to keep tax increases to 0%. I have always fought to spend your tax dollars carefully.
3. Do you have a vision for Berkeley Heights in 5 years and 10 years? How do you see the town? Would you be happy with a town with 1/2 single family and half multi-family housing?
My life long plan has always been to live and retire here in town. My vision for Berkeley Heights 10 years from now is to keep our taxes affordable so I can make that plan a reality for myself and all residents. Commercial and corporate development reduce taxes. Residential and especially mult-family dwellings increases traffic and infrastructure costs more than the taxes they generate. My choice and the choice of all the residents I have spoken with, would be to see no more multi-family housing. I have never met anyone with a desire for more multi-family development.
4. As a councilman, how will you show support to the business community?
As a self employed business owner in town for over 30 years, I personally know the difficulties small business deal with. I personally know many business owners in town. Making it more difficult for the business community to conduct their business does not benefit the township. For a start, I would like to see the permit process simplified to make it easier for businesses to come to town. Another issue is increasing parking requirements. No business can survive without sufficient parking spaces.
5. How will you improve communication with the residents and businesses of Berkeley Heights? How would you handle misconceptions on social media sites?
To improve communication with businesses I would work with the Chamber of Commerce and show them strong support. For example, when Article 19 (downtown township standards) was introduced no one brought it before the Chamber of Commerce for discussion or input. Shortly after I recieved Article 19, I called the Vice Chariman of the Chamber of Commerce and discussed the issues with him.
Residents voice their opinions on the social medial format because they don't feel like the council is listening to them. The council should be following and listening to the comments on social media. I know I do. Many issues are brought before the council that I am not aware of until the night of the township meeting. If I, being a fellow councilman, am not informed, how can the residents have confidence that they have been properly informed? I also feel that important issues like this $25-30 million bond should be voted on by the residents.
6. Do you believe there are better solutions to infrastructure issues in this town?
There are always several solutions to all issues. For example, instead of bonding for street paving every year, we found passing a $5,000,000 bond for paving the streets over several years was a better option resulting in getting our streets paved sooner each year. Another example is when the new town hall was proposed, I kept an open mind to see what the best solution is to fulfill the needs for the new complex. Though I would prefer to see our current buildings renovated, the council decided to build the new facility on the Little Flower property. I started looking at other options and I felt our current location with a larger set back was the better location. After spending several hours with our architect, first trying to renovate the current town hall, then building a new town hall behind the current one. My plan seems to be the most economical and practical which is being implemented.