I am proud to support Julie Figlar and Rina Franchino for Township Council on November 5th, and I encourage you to support them as well.

Here’s why. 

Before 2019, in my opinion, the way our government handled many important aspects of town management was worrisome. The Municipal Complex project was mismanaged, causing the cost to skyrocket to $32 million despite Mayor Woodruff and others promising they would never let it go over $28 million. Roads that were getting paved were being torn up and paved again because they weren’t done right the first time, or the paving job created other problems because they were not done properly. $400,000 in road repair grants was missed – because our town leaders didn’t make sure the proper paperwork was filed. Plus, many residents did not feel respected or valued. And those are just a few examples. 

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When Mayor Angie Devanney and Team Purple took office, I saw dramatic positive changes - and I know many others have, as well. Transparency and communications are way up - residents feel more connected than ever. We have received multiple grant awards this year - from road and drainage repairs to saving Littel-Lord Farmstead to new environmental programs, and more, thanks in part to the Grants Committee finally established, first proposed in 2018 by Councilwoman Susan Poage. This committee is also seeking grants for our first responders, senior citizens and historic preservation. 

We see all the roads that are finally getting fixed the right way, field improvements are being made, senior programming is finally being taken seriously, and our leaders are willing to hold the municipal complex builder’s feet to the fire to get the job done right.  Our government is more inclusive and welcoming of people with various political beliefs, they welcome diversity of opinion, we seem to have much better fiscal management and financial transparency than in the past, and so much more.

And with new groups like the Economic Development Committee and Senior Citizens Advisory Committee now in place, we can expect even more progress to made in 2020 when it comes to continuing to revitalize downtown, attract new businesses while helping our current favorites thrive, and making sure our senior citizens feel valued and have desirable programming to help them lead healthy, vibrant lives. 

Having taken this walk down memory lane, I’d say we can’t afford to go back to the old days of Berkeley Heights government. 

Julie Figlar and Rina Franchino have the right idea – build on the progress that’s been made in 2019 and work cooperatively to keep that progress going in 2020 and beyond. They have specific, substantive ideas on what they will do in office – you can read for yourself at bhteampurple.com. I’m voting for them for Township Council on November 5th, Column A – and I hope you will, too.