Making Government Work for You
It's no surprise this is an issue - it's the central theme of my campaign.
Having worked for and sold to companies in the Fortune 50, and later in my career opting to be on the ground floor of several start-ups, there's one thing I've noticed that companies both large and small often forget. Their customers.
Similarly, all too often government forgets who their customers are - you, the people. But we are fortunate here in Bedminster that our local elected officials hold themselves accountable only to the residents, as opposed to Trenton or a party boss.
We, as elected officials, should be responsive and accountable to our residents, and advocate on their behalf in situations where a single voice is insufficient, and the swing weight of government is required. That requires listening to our residents, their issues and concerns, and then acting where we have legal and legislative authority.
Over the past three years, I've heard you loud and clear. When the township meeting room was filled to capacity last April with residents rightly angry over persistent power outages, we acted. I personally made it my mission to make sure JCP&L took action and made improvements to their infrastructure and operations. This included cable and transformer replacements within the Hills, relocation of a vulnerable transmission line adjacent to the 287S entrance, circuit switching and redundancy upgrades, increased tree trimming and statistical monitoring of the five circuits that serve Bedminster. I even wound up testifying in front of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU), urging them to make sure JCP&L continues to make the investments necessary to sustain these improvements. These changes have significantly decreased the frequency and duration of power outages throughout the township. More remains to be done, particularly in light of JCP&L's wholly unsatisfactory response to Tropical Storm Isaias, but we've made real progress.
When New Jersey American Water (NJAW) announced plans for a rate increase at the end of last year, I went to work. Looking at the numbers, I quickly realized that the actual increase was in excess of 20%, far beyond what NJAW was publicly touting. As a result, the township has hired legal counsel and is currently fighting this onerous rate increase.
Recognizing that food would become a critical need for families impacted by the pandemic, I created the Bedminster Food Pantry, and personally manned the food tables every day. During its ten weeks in operation, the pantry served over 650 families in need, providing non-perishables, toiletries and gift cards to Bedminster residents.
But there's more to do. TV and Internet service in The Hills has been subject to significant price increases in the last 12-18 months, coupled with poor service performance. While the Township Committee lacks the legal authority to force rate changes, it does have a loud voice with the cable companies, and I intend to pursue changes in their operations. It's not rocket science, it's just good customer service, something these companies seem to have forgotten.
We also need to sharpen our focus on more frequently reaching out to residents to understand their needs, as well as provide them more insight into what we're planning. It's the reason I worked to help revamp the Bedminster website, so that it could become a better tool to both get information and conduct business, like online tax payments. We'll also be publishing a pavement management plan, so you'll know when your road is scheduled for repaving. Soon you'll be seeing a survey, sponsored by our Recreation Committee, that will ask you to give us insight into the the recreational facilities you'd like to see the town invest in. Pickle ball? A new lacrosse field? Let us know, because we're listening.
Making government work for you is my passion. Listening to your concerns - in person, on Facebook, via Nextdoor - and then figuring out how I can best address those needs is my promise to you.