My name is “Manuel” Manny Couto and I am honored and privileged to serve as your Councilman. I know firsthand what it takes to serve on Berkeley Heights Town Council and how important it is to have diverse experience. Diversity includes the blending of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.
With a population of over 13,000 and a budget over twenty million dollars annually, managing the town is vastly different than managing your own family’s checkbook. It requires listening, collaboration and drawing on my 30 years of business and real estate background to keep Berkeley Heights First.
During my time on the Council I have rolled up my sleeves and got to work putting the needs of the residents first. I relied on my values to guide my actions. I can sum those up in a few words: honesty, integrity and commitment to community.
I have taken a leadership role on several volunteer committees, including the Downtown Beautification Committee. The committee alone has brought the town restaurant week, consistent standards for design, building materials and signs, banners including those lauding our veterans and other benefits like the flower basket program. These efforts and benefits were all secured without using taxpayer dollars.
I have co-founded the Commuter Task Force. This group will explore options for commuters by understanding parking needs and providing alternative parking options for commuters. I have already contacted Boxcar who is now offering additional commuter parking in town.
I am proud to be running with Gentiana Brahimaj. Going door-to-door we have listened to residents’ concerns about taxes, roads and NJ Transit. Gentiana has already started working for you! She and I have partnered with Summit, New Providence, and Long Hill Township to form the Gladstone Commuter Alliance. This group is intended to be a central forum to voice your concerns to both local and state entities, including NJ Transit. Whether it is about the railroad’s infrastructure or local issues like parking lot access, when it comes to NJ Transit, we will make sure Berkeley Heights has a voice.
Gentiana has met with Recreation Commission members to discuss their challenges. Having raised three children in town who all played sports, she knows the great undertaking it is to keep up with field maintenance. She plans to be an active member of the Recreation Commission’s “Recreation Master Plan Committee”. The Committee is developing a ten-year master plan focusing on athletic field maintenance and improvements, walking and biking trails, and new Senior programs all without using tax payer dollars. She will be assisting the “Friends of Berkeley Heights Recreation Commission” committee that has been developing fundraisers and innovative ways to raise money for our parks and recreation.
Gentiana is a perfect fit for our Town Council. She will provide a strong, independent voice and will bring diverse experience to our Council. Her years as a paralegal will fill a gap on the Council and allow us to work more efficiently with the Township attorney and other legal counsel. Gentiana’s extensive experience with preparing and managing budgets will add another set of eyes to the long and tedious Township budget. Lastly, her availability and collaboration skills will be priceless to our community and small businesses.
Gentiana and I have the time, energy, and commitment it takes to serve you on our Town Council. Together we will deliver the progress needed to put Berkeley Heights First by:
- Delivering a 2020 budget without tax hikes or new spending
- Maintaining local control of schools and services from county politician
- Restoring the capital road repaving plan
- Developing a commuter transit alliance with neighboring towns to stand-up to NJ Transit – COMPLETED!!!!
- Providing diverse experience on the Council
- Working with businesses to revitalize our Downtown
Diverse experience is very important on teams, like the Council. It will increase our flexibility in taking on challenges and opportunities, it brings new and different perspectives to the table, it provides a wide variety of opinions, skills, experience, and backgrounds. It will increase team efficiency and efficacy by tapping into the wealth of knowledge among different thinkers and personalities.
We respectfully ask for your support. Please vote Column B for Manny & Gentiana on November 5th You can visit our website for more information https://berkeleyheightsfirst.com