Thank you, Residents of New Providence, for the opportunity to have served on the Borough Council for these last three years. I have had the chance to work on many committees and have learned a great deal about the various components that make up our amazing town. I have met many new residents and strengthened relationships with friends and neighbors. While there have been many trying times (especially this last year), I am grateful for all I have learned and been a part of. With that said, I am honored to be on the ballot again for re-election this November 3.
There are many things that I would like to work on or continue to work on during my second term as your Councilwoman:
1) Diversity Strengthening and Education – Our residents are our number one asset and priority. They need to feel respected and treated fairly and justly. We are a diverse community that can learn from each other - united, we stand and strengthen each other. Unity needs to be a focus for all of us to move forward in every area of our community.
2) Communication –While we have a great website and communication chain through our Smart 911 system, we are always looking at ways to ensure that all of our residents can get as much information as possible, as soon as possible. We want to increase contact between residents and the Mayor and Councilmembers. Last year, we tried a program called Conference Call with a Councilmember. This year, we will be rolling out “NP Now” which is a video series of Councilmembers discussing the current and upcoming events/concerns in town. As always, Mayor and Council can be contacted through the “Contact Us” section of the Borough Website.
3) Finances – We have been gifted with a solid financial structure and plan under which to operate. Our task is to ensure conservative, prudent planning both for our operating and capital budgets as well as maintaining a steady finance plan. This will ensure we keep our AAA bond rating and strong financial position. It will also ensure that our infrastructure is maintained or updated and that services remain at a level to which our residents are accustomed. 2020 will be a challenging year as our revenue sources are stressed due to the pandemic. We have also incurred expenses for PPE and other safety measures. In accordance, we will carefully review each line of our budget to ensure conservative appropriations and expenditures. Each expenditure will need to be explained, be necessary, and be understood. We will continue to look for shared services and grants where available. One immediate example is the usage of “Cares Funds,” which ensures reimbursement of our funds used for the pandemic.
4) Pedestrian and Road Safety – The safety of our residents is of top priority. We are always reviewing our streets to ensure that there are safety measures in place. This includes road beacons and increased marking on our crosswalks. This review is ongoing.
5) The Alliance of New Providence is charged with Drug and Alcohol Awareness/Education and now includes mental health awareness. The goal is to reach as many residents as possible – particularly our students to provide them the support they need. While our County grant money has been slashed due to the pandemic, we will need to look at alternative means and outside sources to move forward with programming for the community.
6) Small businesses suffered greatly during this pandemic. As a borough and as residents, we need to do what we can to help the business community. During the pandemic, we opened outside dining areas, outside shopping, and outside exercise areas. We need to continue to think outside the box to initiate other ideas to assist where we can.
7) Affordable Housing – NP reached a settlement for our Affordable Housing Obligation, which demonstrated that we have met our Constitutional obligations under the Mount Laurel Doctrine and complied with the Fair Housing Act. Our next step is to ensure that any and all construction is done within our planning board regulations and with planning around infrastructure and resources. This will be ongoing as projects arise.
8) Sustainability – Efforts for continued improvements are ongoing. These have included improving our street lights to LED lighting, installation of energy efficient lights in our buildings, and participation in cooperative agreements allowing us to purchase gas in an efficient and more affordable manner (which helps us from a finance perspective as well.). We have also moved forward with the promotion of electric vehicle technology for our residents and will be researching the feasibility in our borough fleets.
With all of that said, I feel blessed to have been a member of this outstanding Borough Council. Along with our Mayor, New Providence is continuing to grow and improve as an amazing place to raise our families. According to Niche.com, New Providence is the number one place to raise a family in Union County and is ranked seventh best suburb to live in New Jersey. We are also ranked as one of the safest places to raise a family and top schools in NJ in numerous reports.
Choosing New Providence as our home to raise our three children, and now our grandson, was one of the best decisions my husband Brian and I have made. My goal is to make New Providence the best place to live for all of its residents, and I thank you all for the opportunity to do that.
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Vote Geoffroy and McKnight for New Providence Borough Council on or before November3!