BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Each week leading to the November 8 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 answers are from Democratic candidate Stephen Yellin for Week 3.

Thoughts about continued occurrences of vandalism to public and private property that has hit Berkeley Heights. What do you want the township to do about this issue and what are your suggestions? What do you want the township to do about this issue and what are your suggestions?

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Acts of vandalism have broken out across town in recent months, including defacing a newly built speed limit sign on Mountain Avenue and repeated attacks on the walls at the sports fields on Snyder Park. These incidents not only force the Township to spend our tax dollars on repairing them but embarrass us as a community. It can also affect people’s lives: if a driver were distracted by the flashing speed limit sign on Mountain Avenue, they could have hit a child or crossing guard standing just a few yards away. We have to crack down on incidents like these to ensure the next vandals don’t get away with it.

Thankfully there are easy solutions to this problem. Surveillance cameras are incredibly cheap for the results they provide (a good one costs about $400-$500), and installing them at sites where vandalism has or may occur ensures the culprits are caught. This can be something we easily solve as a community without raising taxes; for example, the Township Council can pass a resolution authorizing private citizens to contribute money to pay for the cameras. I’m sure we have more than enough residents willing to do that in order to to keep our community safe. Once caught, I believe the culprits should have to perform some kind of community service in order to make up for the damage they caused.

While we’re on the subject of sports fields, Jill and I have become concerned about the state of many of the fields our kids use for PAL/Recreation activities. Compare ours to sports fields in neighboring towns, and you can understand why so many parents are unhappy about this. This is not because of a lack of concern or effort by our Recreation Department team, but a lack of resources. Just like Jill Zatta and I have a real plan to increase the speed of road repairs, as we unveiled last week, we also have a plan to create a dedicated fund for maintaining and improving our sports fields. We will be discussing this plan in detail in the near future.

Jill and I are optimistic that we can easily fix problems like these so long as we have the desire to do something proactive about them. It’s yet another reason we’re Positively Berkeley Heights!

Please vote for Yellin & Zatta on November 8th. We’re not going to tell you to vote for any “Column”, because we know political parties don’t matter when it comes to filling potholes, building a dog park, standing up for our volunteers, or fixing our sports fields.