As a resident of Berkeley Heights for 11 years I have seen property taxes go up 41.5% over the course of 10 years. Thats an average of 4.15% a year. It has gone up every year except 1, where it stayed the same. As a councilman I would look for ways to greatly reduce expenditures while preserving all essential services. Currently only one council member reviews the bill list for each meeting, so members are voting to approve the list without even looking at it carefully, more time should be spent analyzing the expenditures of the town. I would look for a 5% reduction across the board for the town’s portion of the taxes.
Incentivizing a more cohesive downtown area
Without dictation by members of the Town Council and without and increased burden to taxpayers the downtown area could be well planned and developed into a thriving area similar to New Providence or Summit. This initiative needs to be led by the Business Owners NOT by the Town Council.
Currently we have too many vacancies and lack of walking traffic that would act synergically for all of the downtown businesses. The Town Council and Beautification Committee have failed to create a plan for the downtown and per its mandate and continues to move forward haphazardly with questionable goals.
There have been prime properties sitting vacant and while some businesses were added, many seem to be copies of existing establishments rather than destinations. Rather than focussing on their mandate, they have chosen to act restrictively as with the case of the community garden, even when outside of the downtown district.
What is needed is to attract businesses that could help walk by traffic or otherwise be part of the downtown synergy.