2014 Berkeley Heights State of the Township Message
Wednesday, January 1, 2014 • 2:12pm
Dear Residents, Friends and Neighbors,
The State of our Township is in Very Good shape and poised for the future. We have had much in the way of success in 2013. We rededicated our resources to clean our streams and brooks of debris and to date have accomplished much in that regard and will continue in 2014 to finish the rest. We will also endeavor to restore the Bulk Pick up in the late spring.
In Feb. of 2013 we also opened our new state of the art Dispatch and Emergency Communications Center. This center dispatches emergency personnel quicker and more accurately than ever before.
Our township continues to grow and the downtown area has fewer vacancies with more stores and businesses scheduled to open in 2014. The NY Mart is scheduled to open this spring along with the Garden of Eden Marketplace in Heritage Square. Our newest bank, Chase, is scheduled to open as well as the Primrose School an all day Kindergarten and child care center. Negotiations are under way for the movie theatre to re- open as a not for profit community theatre and opera house next to Yogaccino. The Connell Company has announced that groundbreaking will begin on the long awaited Embassy Suites Hotel at the Connell complex complete with a restaurant with a liquor license.
In 2013 we hit the big time with our #6 ranking in the CNN/ Money Magazine Best Places to Live issue that is up from #46 in 2007.
Negotiations are continuing with will Little Flower parish on the possible land swap between the library and the Auditorium church which if completed will give our Township a new updated Library. Police Station and Town Hall.
Finally we are just about ready to go with our Town Clock project and will have that completed well in time for our Memorial Day Parade.
Fiscally we have managed our finances within the budget guidelines and continue to work on our rolling 5 year capital plan to insure the big ticket items and our infrastructure remain viable. We have finished paving Park Ave and started on Glenside Road using grant monies we obtained. We will continue to pave roads as finances allow and will look for any available grants dedicated to that task and others.
In 2013 we have received over $163,800 in grants and have an additional $589,300 that has been awarded in 2013 that will be received in 2014. For a total of $753,170. This is money that our department heads have secured in the way of grants, that is not directly out of our local taxpayers’ pockets. We will continue to look for every additional source of funding which we are entitled to.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many members of the Township that have worked hard to make Berkeley Heights the town that deserves our #6 ranking in the CNN Money Magazine poll of “Best Places to Live”. In so special order our Police dept. Fire dept, Rescue Squad, Public Library, Court, DPW, Engineering, Code, and Waste Water Pollution Control. Our, Board of Health, as well and our Planning Board and Zoning Board of Adjustment and Municipal Alliance. I also must mention our various committees and commissions, Communications, Downtown Beautification committees, Environmental, Recreation and Special Events Commission.
Finally, I would like to thank Our Finance Dept, Clerks Office and Administration.
I would also be every remiss if I did not thank the Members of the Governing Body. Each one of these individuals has contributed in a big way towards the efficiency of your local government.
Ed Delia - Member of the Environmental Commission and reviews our bills before each meeting.
Bob Woodruff- our Lead Negotiator with our Unions and unpaid source of legal advice and counsel
Kevin Hall – Former Council President, Member of the Planning Board, Environmental Commission, point person with our negotiations with Little Flower Parish and member of the negotiations team.
Jeanne Kingsley – Newly Appointed Council President, Chair of Our Beautification committee and assists us with Finance.
Craig Pastore - Member of the Communications Committee and instrumental in setting up our Website at no cost to the Taxpayer.
Tom Pirone - Member of our Board of Health and Member of the Downtown Beautification Committee as well as a contributor on planning issues.
Without these expertise, in house this administration would have and much more difficult time in the running of our government. They deserve your thanks for their commitment to the Township.
Lastly, Thank you to the many volunteers and businesses that help to make this community a “Great Place to Live” and work. The partnership works because this is Our Home.
May God Bless our Families, our Township, and Our State and May God Bless the United Stated of America.
Joseph G. Bruno, Mayor