It has been a pleasure to serve the residents of Mendham Township since January 2018. And, I am excited to run for re-election and continue working on areas that are important to them.
Right now, I am focused on the most important issue — the COVID-19 outbreak — and helping to provide information and support to residents. This is a terrible, unprecedented crisis, and my thoughts and prayers are with residents who have coronavirus and their families. As part of the township's response, I spearheaded an outreach program to call elderly residents, in particular those living alone, to check in and ensure they are doing okay. I organized a team to make calls, including First Aid Squad Cadets, members of the Citizens Emergency Response Team and the mayor.
I also helped organize "Mendham Gives Back," a town-wide campaign to collect clothing, old sporting goods and food. In addition, as Chair of the Mendhams Stigma-Free Task Force, I have worked on providing mental health resources to the community and launched a fundraising drive for the Interfaith Food Pantry, which raised nearly $2,000.
During my term, I have focused on issues that I campaigned on, including supporting a municipal budget that delivers needed services, while keeping taxes down; improving transparency in the local government; investing in recreation, reviving Brookside Beach and re-opening the Ralston Playground.
I have been committed to improving communications with residents, one of my main campaign issues. I hold regular open Office Hours at Town Hall. In 2018, I launched and chaired an Ad Hoc Communications Committee. The result was a community-wide survey on communications; a redesigned township Website; and a new e-mail newsletter produced monthly. Read full report.
In April, I launched an Ad Hoc Marketing Communications Committee made up of residents with marketing, communications and business professional backgrounds. With township property values declining by 11% since 2007, this group will focus on how to promote the positive attributes of the community in a coordinated, strategic way, using the best communications tools and methods. The goal is to create a plan of recommendations and present it to the Township Committee by the Fall of 2020.
To encourage youth engagement, I wrote an ordinance, adopted by the Township Committee, to add student representatives to volunteer committees, a program in its second year.
When it comes to lowering costs for residents, I initiated a successful move by the township to join an energy co-operative with other municipalities that will reduce monthly electric bills for homeowners. I also proposed a resolution, that was unanimously adopted by the New Jersey League of Municipalities, asking Congress and the President to restore the full State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions.
I established and have been Chair of the Mendhams Stigma-Free Task Force, in partnership with Mendham Borough. We have organized parent workshops on youth mental health issues, marijuana, vaping and autism awareness. Earlier this year, the Task Force provided community forums about teen suicide to promote healing and hope. In February, I proposed a resolution, passed by the Township Committee, seeking to prevent the closure of Daytop, a residential youth treatment center.
It has been a pleasure to serve as liaison and support the Brookside and Ralston Engine Companies, the First Aid Squad, the Police Department, the Environmental Commission, Historic Preservation Committee, Mendham TV, the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, the West Morris Regional School District and the Wildlife Committee.