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166 Mine Brook Road
Bernardsville, NJ, 07924

2022 Bernardsville Mayor’s Address

First, congratulations to the Council’s newest members, Al, Jay, and Diane and welcome to the Council. Thank you for your willingness to serve your community.           

It’s hard to believe that COVID is still with us as we move into 2022. We are almost at the two-year mark. As frustrating as the pandemic has been, there is still much to be grateful for. 2021 brought us vaccines and then booster shots, and better treatments for those who do get COVID. Our restaurants and businesses came up with creative solutions to meet their customer needs and our community supported them by shopping locally.  

The Mayor’s Address is my opportunity to thank all our Borough employees for providing outstanding service to our residents. I’d like to highlight some of what was accomplished this past year and I’m sure I will miss a few -

  1. We paved 7.46 miles of roads, reaching 276 homes, which is 10% of all our homes. Thank you to Doug Walker for his excellent work in overseeing these projects. Also completed this year was an update to the Borough’s Road survey which documents the condition of every road for future repairs and paving.
  1. The Recreation Department had a very successful year, with many new programs, including the popular Cyclocross program at our new park at 271 Mine Brook Road. The pool had a record enrollment, and several successful social events were added to the season. The old field house on Claremont Road was repurposed from storage to programming space.  After a year of gathering public input, our Recreation Master Plan was completed, shared with the community at a special public meeting, and priorities have been set by the Committee and Council.  Thank you to Bob Markowick and Leah Horowitz for their nonstop energy and talent.
  1. Our Police Department and fire and first aid volunteers need to be commended for their prompt and efficient response to Hurricane Ida. They were able to provide temporary shelter to 190 Somerset County residents displaced by flooding. They also hosted a well-attended National Night Out and several Coffees with a Cop.  Thanks to the efforts of our new Borough Administrator Tom Czerniecki, Jack Pidgeon, and several supportive residents, we have established a Law Enforcement Foundation to support our police department.  You’ll hear more about that in future meetings.
  1. Our Public Works employees worked tirelessly to clean up after Hurricane Ida and our Sewer Department added improvements to the treatment plant.
  1. Our Construction and Zoning Department added Municipay so our residents can now pay online for permits, and they have been working on updating ordinances to be more business and resident friendly.  We also entered into a shared service agreement with Bernards Township for Fire Prevention.
  1. Our Library has a new website and app and added many more borrowing opportunities by joining MAIN (Morris Automated Information Network) consortium.
  1. And I must thank our administrative staff who always go above and beyond in responding to residents’ concerns, tracking our budget, and handling all the day-to-day business of running our town. Also, our department heads were trained in Mental Health First Aid, and the Borough staff, elected officials, Planning Board and Board of Adjustment chairs and vice chairs attended Diversity training sessions.
  1. And my thank you list would not be complete without mentioning the many volunteers who give selflessly of their time to be of service to our community. Special thanks go to Downtown Bernardsville for achieving the Main Street designation, the County Excellence in the Arts Award and for helping to build such a strong sense of community among our residents and businesses. And thanks also to Ed English for the amazing job he does as volunteer manager of our Farmers Market.
  1. We continued to make progress in the revitalization of our Downtown. At a special public meeting, we reviewed two developer proposals and appointed Advance Realty as the Quimby Village developer.  Several proposals have been reviewed for the old Audi dealership and we’re hoping to finalize that project in 2022.  After convincing NJ Transit to extend the lease on the train station, we issued a second Request for Proposal for a new business in the train station building.  Those proposals are due January 15.  We had several new businesses open – Restaurant MV, Equiline, August Designs, the New Jersey Academy of Music, which moved from Basking Ridge, and Game Changer Gym. Community in Crisis moved from the former Library building to their permanent headquarters on Church Street. There is a tentative development plan for the former Griffin and Howe and 56 Degree buildings.  We’ve also applied to NJDOT to be designated as a Transit Village, which will help us achieve grants for further downtown improvements.

While we did not receive the Transportation Alternatives Grant to create a walking path from the Boylan Terrace neighborhood, we were able to convince Congressman Malinowski to include it in the Federal appropriations bill so we’re still hoping to secure funding for that project.

  1. 2021 was the second year we couldn’t hold our traditional Memorial Day Parade, but we did still manage to celebrate our veterans with a ceremony at Borough Hall and an honor escort to the unveiling of the murals. And, of course, completing the murals was a major accomplishment and a wonderful collaborative community project.

Looking forward to 2022, I’m sure we all hope that the pandemic will soon be behind us. 2022 will continue to be a challenging time but I am confident that our community will continue to thrive. We will move forward with our Recreation Master Plan, providing opportunities for residents of all ages to enjoy the outdoors and stay active. We’ll be focusing on ways to be more sustainable as we look to install EV charging stations. As we continue to revitalize our downtown, our focus will continue to be on preserving our “small town – big community”   identity. 

I am grateful to the Council members, past, present, and future, for their support and commitment to our Borough.  And I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as your mayor. What I’ve learned over the past three years of my tenure is the importance of collaboration. All that has been accomplished in building a great future for Bernardsville has been due to the collaborative efforts of all our committees, boards, organizations, businesses, neighboring communities, and the school district. By creating and nurturing partnerships, Bernardsville will continue to be a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. I wish you all a happy and healthy 2022.