If you received your mail-in ballot this week, you might have noticed that I am running for re-election to the Chester Township Council without an opponent. What a difference three years makes!
Despite being unopposed, I'm still running hard on behalf of some terrific running mates. And I still think you deserve a few reasons to affirmatively vote for me. Here's why I'm asking for your vote:
Chester Township's financial position is solid. As the Council's liaison to our Finance office for two years, I was proud to:
Chester Township is a statewide leader in shared services. It's been a privilege to build on the achievements of previous mayors and Councils in this regard by:
Chester Township delivers for residents. Especially with respect to the services we offer:
I'm excited to continue serving our community. As I recently told the Patch, my top priority is to position Chester Township as a place where three generations of a family can enjoy life together:
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many American families prioritize things. I want to ensure Chester Township leans into its strengths – like open space, accessible farms, and great schools – to attract families that not only want to make a life here, but also contribute to the community through volunteerism. Every Chester Township resident is an ambassador for our dynamic community.
HOW TO RETURN YOUR BALLOT:
Once you've received your ballot in the mail, fill it out and return it one of these ways:
Thank you for your support!
It was our pleasure to host Senator Tom Kean, Senator Anthony M. Bucco, Assemblywoman Aura Dunn & Freeholder Tayfun Selen for an opportunity to meet and hear from Chester voters. Thanks, everyone, for a fun, safe, and informative evening.
For a campaign season like no other, it was also great to join my Council running-mate Joe DiPaolo, who in his time on the Council has provided extraordinary insights and value.
Earlier this week, Moody's Investor Services assigned an Aa1 rating to Chester Township due to what it describes as our "healthy finances, modest leverage, and well above-average resident wealth and income." Moody's went on to say that: "[Chester Township's] management has a history of conservative budgeting as seen in its recent strong financial performance. They have a formal policy to maintain a minimum fund balance of 10%, which they have comfortably exceeded for years."
Thanks to this Aa1 rating, the cost for Chester Township to go out to bond is quite low (particularly in this low interest rate environment) and we are able to responsibly spread out the cost of major capital projects.
Observer-Tribune: The Township Council approved a new municipal court administrator during its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 1. The new court administrator, Ingrid O’Connor, the current deputy court administrator, will take over from Susan Travis who will serve her last day on Thursday, Sept. 17.
O’Connor was approved 5-0 with Mayor Marcia Asdal and Councilmen Tim Drag, Michael Inganamort, Joe Di Paolo and Brian Curley voting in approval. She will earn an annual salary of $75,283. O’Connor was involved in the expansion of the Chester Township court to include Mendham Township a few years back, according to Inganamort who serves as council liaison to the court.
“She was integral to the more recent expansion to include Chester Borough,’’ Inganamort stated. “She also has experience in other parts of the township government, including as an assistant to the township administrator and technical assistant to the township construction official.’’
Since the pandemic erupted in March, the court, which is shared among the three municipalities, has been held virtually. During the last court date on Aug. 20, there were 70 cases heard with 67 resolved virtually and the rest were plea by mail. It is presided by Judge Glenn T. Gavan.
The new tennis court and pickle ball courts in Chubb Park opened to the public on Friday, July 31st - a full month ahead of schedule. Thanks to our erstwhile Parks Committee for long championing this project. I'm proud to have helped get this project across the finish line and am especially heartened by the enthusiastic response from tennis and pickle ball players alike. Enjoy safely!
Attention Chester businesses!
If you are unable to operate your business indoors due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are now making available Chester Township’s beautiful and spacious parks - enabling you to operate your business outdoors. Apply to use one of our Township parks for business purposes using this form.
Some Township Parks that would be suitable for business use are: Chubb Park, Highlands Ridge Park, and Black River Fields Park. Be sure to visit the parks to see first hand how they can best suit your business needs.
What a difference three years makes! Back in 2017, we scraped for every vote in competitive primary and general elections.
This year, I'm grateful to have been unopposed in the primary, alongside a terrific running-mate in Joe DiPaolo.
And then we got great news today. With the Morris County Board of Elections having tabulated all results, we learned that we'll also be unopposed in November. We did not see that one coming!
It's an incredible honor to serve on the Council and I'm committed to being out on the campaign trail this fall regardless.
At our meeting this past Tuesday, the Council approved a plan to cancel $513,470.24 in planned purchases and return those dollars to the capital improvement fund, the general capital fund balance, the reserve for open space, and the reserve for debt. The work in coming up with this plan started weeks earlier and involved detailed conversations with our various municipal departments on what projects are and aren't necessary. Highlights of what we canceled include $80,000 that was put aside in 2016 for a new salt bin at the DPW building, $40,000 that was put aside for a new car for town hall use, $100,000 for a bucket truck, and a little more than $90,000 that was left over from paving Old Chester Gladstone Road and Mendham Road. Big thanks to Councilmen Tim Drag and Joe DiPaolo for identifying these equipment savings, in particular. By returning these dollars to their source, we're able to more accurately budget for future projects and, ultimately, tax or borrow less overall.
A quick reminder to please return your completed mail-in ballot today: Tuesday, July 7th. For those who prefer to vote on a provisional ballot, you may do so at the Highlands Ridge Barn on North Road between 6:00am and 8:00pm.
There's a lot about this year's election that is different, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
If you've already mailed in your ballot, let us know! We're making a lot of calls but would love to hear from you directly.
I'm proud to be running for re-election this year alongside fellow Councilman Joe DiPaolo, a smart guy who's provided tremendous value in his short time on the Council.
PS - here's a recent interview I did with the Mendham-Chester Patch. In it, I explain why I'm motivated to continue serving on the Chester Township Council and would be grateful for your vote!
For a town that already shares so many services with other towns to streamline government, improve services, or save money (and often all three), we keep finding a way to do more.
Last night the Council approved an agreement to share animal control services with Mendham Township and Mendham Borough. Unlike some other shared service agreements, this one preserves our existing vendor and the services they currently provide. Essentially nothing is changing but the cost, since we're now part of a three-town contract.
The savings to Chester Township are approximately $2,000 for the year, so this won't make or break our budget, but it's another successful collaboration that's come out of our Shared Services Working Group. Thanks to Mendham Township Mayor Sarah Neibart for her leadership on this latest agreement and for entrusting Chester Township to administer the Shared Court of Chester Township, Mendham Township, and Chester Borough. Let's also not forget our Working Group's first agreement: sharing DPW equipment across four Morris County towns.