BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Each week leading to the November 6 election, the candidates running for Berkeley Heights Township Mayor and Township Council have the opportunity to answer question(s) that will be run in a series by TAPinto Berkeley Heights.
The following answer is from Republican Township Council Candidate Michael D'Aquila for Week 1.
Week 1 Questions:
- Why are you Running for Office?
- What unique skills or knowledge will you bring to the elected office you are seeking?
- What do you think the major issues facing Berkeley Heights are at this time?
Why Are You Running for Office?
Simply stated, it’s because I love Berkeley Heights! This is a great town for raising a family. Berkeley Heights boasts top-ranked schools and offers a lot of diverse activities for my children outside of school, too, such as the ones that PAL offers. My son plays PAL baseball, which provides him with a fun way to engage in athletic activity. And it gives him the opportunity to learn from his coaches how to act as a team player and cooperate with others in order to achieve a win for the team.
As a member of the current Town Council team, a key reason why I have chosen to run for re-election is to keep the momentum going given the important projects on our docket. My engineering background and the responsibilities I have had for project construction and development on several university campuses has enabled me to consider numerous “green” measures to incorporate into the Municipal Complex. I used my experience to push forward those that are high-impact, realistic and affordable. I also possess a deep understanding of the detailed responsibilities the developers must execute in order to deliver to us the projects we’ve negotiated for. I want to see the Municipal Complex construction project through to completion, and hold the developers to the terms and costs of our agreements with them.
What unique skills or knowledge will you bring to the elected office you are seeking?
I bring a unique package of skills that are directly on-point for the project development in Berkeley Heights – something that no other candidate offers. During my professional career, I have worked as a Consulting Engineer, a Facilities Manager, and as a Department Leader. As a Consultant Engineer, I brought my expertise to various school districts, municipalities and counties, where I reduced operating expenses through energy efficiency projects that saved energy and while trimming expenses. As Facility Manager, I worked for two different state Universities, UMDNJ and NJCU, as well as for a private facility management company. My primary responsibilities at all three locations included managing day-to-day operations, overseeing capital projects, and reducing operating costs. Currently as a Department Leader, I am responsible for the direct and indirect management of over 100 employees, both union and non-union.
What do you think are the major issues facing Berkeley Heights at this time?
Berkeley Heights faces two major issues. The first is ensuring that we have the resources to address the new housing developments that will be built to meet our Affordable Housing requirements. We need leadership with thorough understanding of how each project will affect the resources needed by each Municipal Department.
The second is continuing to find alternative funding sources to continue our investments in infrastructure, including our roads, waste water treatment plant, and fields. To keep these projects affordable without spiking taxes for Berkeley Heights residents, we need to apply for grants and seek out alternative funding sources. Done properly, we’ll be able to upgrade the infrastructure in our community without posing a financial hardship on residents.