Since 2017, the Democratic Platform year after year is rooted in advocacy for Downtown Revitalization, Parks & Open Space, Strategic and Efficient Spending, Protecting Real Estate and Paving Our Roads ... and since gaining seats on the Council, we've shown delivery in some areas, including safe walkways, parking signage, an authorized study of downtown, access to Peter's Tract, an upgraded/modernized Kiwanis park, restored open hours at library, and a stable budget.
It is more important than ever for a balanced council to push for progress in those areas.
Bernardsville Democrats have long been outspoken downtown champions, hosting forums since 2014. And we have been enormously delighted to align with the 1100+ families who responded to the 2018 Downtown Survey, requesting more outdoor activities, better architectural and design standards, more outdoor dining, and more cultural and family events. To that end, we support efforts by the Bernardsville Downtown Revitalization Committee to create “vibrant restaurant and retail spaces, exemplary design and signage, weekend and day time family activities, and increased tax revenues” on Quimby Lane.
So, we’ll continue to push for other progresses, including funding for town planning, ordinances to advance streetscapes and signage, continued road-paving and maintenance, and easing of the process to gain new-business permits in Bernardsville.
Parks & Open Space
Playgrounds, wild areas, historic preservation, hiking trails, and bike paths are economic boosters. “They often increase the value of proximate properties,” according to the National Recreation and Parks Association and “homebuyers are generally willing to pay more for property located close to parks and open space.”
Therefore, we strongly endorse initiatives to promote walking and biking and keeping our playing fields, tennis courts, parks, and town pool in top shape. We also want to see our Open Space Fund – an ongoing taxpayer investment – used wisely for current projects and for continued acquisition of valuable green space.
Efficient & Strategic Budgeting
The Borough’s 2018 bonding plan and budget, advocated by our Democratic Council members, was prudent and productive.
The Budget called for the smallest percentage increase in taxes in five years while fulfilling multiple municipal obligations, include contractual raises for our police, restored operating hours at the library, parking lot improvements at the train station, purchase of a badly needed fire truck and ambulance, upgrades and new playground equipment at Kiwanis Park, ongoing road improvements, and responsible maintenance of our public works equipment.
The Bond plan enabled long-term capital improvements (of roads and drainage) while preserving our distinguished standing as one of six NJ towns to earn AAA ratings from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.