The residents of Berkeley Heights receive services from Union County because we pay over $20M in taxes for them, not because of a new 1-Year Shared Services Agreement (SSA) for a part-time DPW Director.
The Berkeley Heights Mayor and Town Council have always worked with the County to obtain the services for which we pay 23% of our tax dollars.
So I wonder why our current Mayor and the Democratic candidates running for Town Council seem to want residents to believe that “they” are somehow responsible for these services? We have all seen the long letters and the glossy “purple” mailers with pictures of county employees doing their jobs. The candidates promise that they will work with the County, and they give the current administration credit for paving County roads and for revenues anticipated from the County use of our salt dome when this is all business as usual. They seem to be taking credit for a long list of accomplishments that we all know are actually business a usual, County responsibilities. Union County has a responsibility to the taxpayers of Berkeley Heights to maintain: county roads, county parks and any other county property in our municipality. This includes paving those roads, fixing catch basins, replacing bridges, filling potholes, trimming trees on the property, cutting grass and any other maintenance.
I learned first hand when I sat on the Town Council about the many ways that Union County has partnered with Berkeley Heights on a number of other shared resources over the years, without any SSA in place. This includes paying us in the past for their storage use in our Salt Dome, providing spraying for mosquitos, loaning us county equipment to assist with our municipality’s maintenance needs, and providing access to county technology, when needed. The County has always been a good partner to us because we are a town that sends more tax revenues to them then we received back in services.
For the Mayor and her partisan colleagues to claim that they are the reason we are getting these services is completely disingenuous. I have read the six-page SSA and it talks about the part-time DPW Director’s role. There is no mention of Union County services. Why? Because the agreement is to provide management services to BH for an agreed upon fee.
So I ask again, why do our Mayor and the Democratic candidates running for Town Council seem to want residents to believe that “they” are somehow responsible for these services? Empty promises are bad enough but promising to give residents something we already pay for seems kind of insulting to me.
Union County – our county taxes are not partisan, or are they?
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