BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ  -- Welcome to “Notes from Town Council”, your new way to keep on top of what your elected Town Council members want you to know about. Each Town Council member gives a brief report at the beginning of each Township Council meeting; Town Council meetings are twice a month. These updates vary from meeting to meeting based on what’s going on in town. Sometimes they include updates about their Committees, their ideas for new Government initiatives, or can be updates about their to participation in community events or upcoming events you might want to attend. We will report them in the order they are given at the meeting, generally alphabetical order.

The Berkeley Heights Communication Committee is partnering with TAPinto Berkeley Heights, to bring you regular updates from your Town Council members. Watch this column for future Notes from Town Council and read on here.

Councilman Bavoso reported:

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● Communications Committee update. The new Township website launched last week with a new name: BerkeleyHeights.gov. He encouraged residents to check it out, create an account and sign up for text and email updates - news updates, calendars, agendas, and more.

Councilman Couto reported:

● Downtown Beautification Committee gave a great presentation during the meeting and is doing a great job. The full presentation can be viewed on the on the Town website.

● Upcoming Fundraiser: Reminder that May 11th is the date for Art For the Park, benefitting the renewal of Peppertown Park. Event will be indoors this year as it was planned to be outside last year and rain caused a last minute change of venue. There will be plenty of parking available. More information about the event can be found here.

● Potential Tax Savings: Opportunities are available for some citizens to save on taxes. There is a senior, income-specific freeze available. The form is available at the tax office in town and at the VFW. They will be online soon, please watch the Town website. Additionally, veteran tax deductions are also available to provide assistance to those who served our country.

Councilwoman Kingsley reported:

● Safe Routes to School update: the Town is waiting for an announcement possibly in late April to determine if the Township will receive grant funding for creating safe routes to school. Please visit the Safe Routes to School program website for more information.

● Walk to School Survey: Kingsley encouraged parents to take a day to walk their elementary school aged children for a day beginning April 8th to Friday, May 5th and complete the survey to help the Township evaluate the sidewalks and paths on school routes. Parents are encouraged to watch for information from their school.

● Sustainable Berkeley Heights: Kingsley also encouraged residents to “Take the Pledge” to stop using plastic water bottles and provided an update on the events the group is hosting. On March 24, residents of all ages gathered at Snyder Avenue Park, put on pairs of reinforced gloves, and helped rid Berkeley Heights of approximately 150 pounds of litter through their participation in the Adopt-A-Beach Clean Water Challenge.

● Meals on Wheels: is a great opportunity to help your neighbors and get to know them too. Get involved with this terrific program run by Sage. Volunteers are especially needed during the summer. For additional information on the 'Meals on Wheels' program, including how to become a volunteer for SAGE Eldercare, contact Marianne Kranz at 908-598-5514.

Council President Medeiros reported:

● Environmental Commission update: the Community Garden is under development; the Eagle Scout project will create a shed for the garden. The commission is looking to recommend a Storm Water ordinance to encourage rain water retention on properties instead of runoff. Additionally, BH businesses and local organizations are encouraged to adopt a Trex Collection box. Those interested in participating can learn more here.

● Recycling Task Force update: The team compiled recommendations for reducing cost including providing each residence with a container that can be grabbed and emptied by a driver operated arm which many recyclers are turning to as a cost saving alternative. In fact, Union County estimated a cost saving of 30% to 40%. The cost of deploying in Berkeley Heights would be ~$300k but may be offset by a Cart Grant application. Additionally, Union County is planning a county-wide conference of mayors and business administrators to gather and analyze cost savings initiatives.

● Memorial Park Committee update: The committee is planning for the Memorial Day Parade. They had their kick-off meeting on April 1 lead by Dennis Ryan.

Council Vice President Poage reported:

● Planning Board update: the Environmental Commission attended the last Planning Board meeting and asked a developer about plans for tree removal and about opportunities for tree replacement. Exciting follow up is expected.

● Meals on Wheels: Council Vice President Susan Poage is planning to volunteer during Spring Break. ● Grants Committee: In addition, Poage formally introduced her ordinance to create a Grants Committee, which would help current Township committees, commissions, volunteer organizations and other groups research and apply for grants. A vote on this ordinance is expected at the April 23 Council meeting.

Councilman Yellin reported:

● Veterans Memorial Committee Update: The committee is planning a unique fundraiser by having a family member or friend sponsor flying a flag over the Veterans Memorial in honor of a member of the Armed Services. Spring plantings are being planned around Veterans Memorial Park and the committee asks residents to please refrain from putting signs of any kind in the park. Additionally, over 40 local veterans will be added to the Hometown Heroes Banners.

● Communications Committee: The committee launched the new Township website last week. It looks terrific and has been a wishlist item of his for a very long time. The Committee is hard at work and very appreciated.

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If you’re interested in learning more, please sign up to receive news updates and announcements from the NEW Township website here.

The Berkeley Heights Communications Committee Founded in 2010, the Berkeley Heights Communications Committee (BHCC) is an all-volunteer committee consisting of business owners, community leaders, and residents of Berkeley Heights Township.

The BHCC’s mission is to maximize the transparency of Township activities as well as promote both public and private sector initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of life for local community members. For more information, visit the Township’s website at http://www.BerkeleyHeights.gov or email the committee at: BHCommunications@bhtwp.com.