Municipal Matters: May 2024

May 6, 2024

The Township Committee has had a busy month. A priority was the public hearing and adoption of our 2024 budget at the April 23 meeting. The budget represents a 3.4% increase to the tax levy over 2023. The focus is on public safety, including the addition of two full time police officers, accelerating the patrol car fleet replacement, and funding for license plate reader cameras and the body worn camera program.

In addition, Assembly Bill 4 and Senate Bill 50, (A4/S50) were passed March 18, providing the new requirements on Affordable Housing.   A4/S50 shifts court negotiations over town affordable housing quotas to the Department of Community Affairs, which will rely on a formula based on a 2018 state Supreme Court decision to give towns initial numbers of units they are required to zone as affordable. A panel of three to seven experts appointed by the courts will oversee any challenges to the proposed numbers. The bill appropriates $16 million to establish the program.

In light of the passage of the bills, the Township has awarded a professional services contract to Kyle and McManus Associates, to provide professional planning advisement for the Mount Laurel Fourth Round obligations from the time period of 2025 to 2035.  There will be a presentation Wednesday, May 29th, 7pm, on Affordable Housing, from Kyle and McManus Associates.  I will be there and hope others will join me to learn more the new round obligations and potential impact for Bernards Township. This presentation will be at Town Hall in the Warren Craft Room.

On a lighter note, the Township Committee (TC) passed a resolution recognizing Arbor Day, April 26th.  Randy Santoro, chair of the Shade Tree Commission (STC), on which I serve as liaison, accepted the resolution, and spoke of the benefits of promoting and protecting a sustainable shade tree resource. 

On Thursday, April 18, I represented the TC at the Rolling Thunder Empty Chair and Table memorial dedication at the local Veteran’s Administration Hospital. This memorial is in remembrance of the sacrifices of our nation’s military; the Memorial dedicated to the soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice, or held Prisoner of War, listed as Missing in Action, whose remains have not been recovered.  Since WWII more than 81,500 service members are unaccounted for.

Finally, on Friday, April 19, I joined Deputy Mayor Janice Fields for the Somerset County ribbon cutting on the newest trails at Lord Stirling Park, launching an interconnected network totaling 22 miles that branches throughout the park.   The new parking lot, trailhead, and trails off Lord Stirling Road just east of South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge will connect the Environmental Education Center and the Stable at Lord Stirling Park for the first time.  Somerset County Park Commission President, and former BTDC chair, Nancy D’Andrea, was also there, and we are grateful for her leadership, and that of County Commissioners, for the investment in our community. 

I’ll close with a note of thanks to those of you who have been attending the TC meetings. We meet the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month, generally beginning at 8pm.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Get In touch with any questions or concerns: (201) 306-0178

Email: Please note that all correspondence sent will be visible to the full Township Committee and Clerk.

Follow on Social Media:  Instagram Facebook

-Committeewoman Ana Duarte McCarthy

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