In their tenure on Garwood Council, Jen, Marc, and Russ showed that it’s Real Actions, not just ideas, that bring Real Results.  Below is an overview of some of the accomplishments in their first term.

Lowest Tax Increases in Decades

  • Delivered, as both Finance Committee and Council members, the three lowest tax increases in over two decades, with the latest at $35 dollars per home assessed at $100,000 and last year’s zero-dollar tax.
  • Negotiated a sale of excess flow rights with Springfield with the guidance of our RVSA appointee securing $145,000 of revenue to help defray increases in taxes.
  • Secured a $25,000 Senior Focus Grant to help fund a new roof for the Firehouse.

Investing and Maintaining Our Borough

  • Developed and supported a 5-year capital improvement plan to purchase equipment for the Borough’s departments.
  • Keeping our departments funded and running efficiently:
    • DPW – Replaced broken down and obsolete equipment with a new garbage truck, street sweeper, and new dump truck.
    • GPD – Rolling replacement of patrol cars, new radar street signs and new workstation computers.
    • GFD – New turn-out gear, firehouse roof, and air compressor for the Fire Department.
    • Clerk’s Office – Digitizing record management for Borough Hall administration and established the position of Deputy Clerk in preparation for current Clerk’s retirement.
  • Created a quarterly maintenance checklist for the DPW to ensure that the revitalized Hartman Park and the Recreation Complex are consistently monitored, maintained, and updated.

New Public Park with County Subsidies

  • Renovated Hartman Park by turning it from a dilapidated park to one that can be enjoyed by all age groups including children with special needs.
  • Secured three grants to revitalize Hartman Park including:
    • $55,000 matching grant for new play equipment and repaving
    • $25,470 Level the Playing Field Grant to add a sensory tunnel to the Hartman Park project for the purposes of making the park more inclusive
    • $20,000 matching grant from the county to complete Hartman Park by adding shading and replacement of a long non-working water fountain.

Securing the Best Re-development Deal For Garwood

  • Negotiated redevelopment agreements with South Avenue and North Avenue owners that included community development funds, which allow us to limit the increase on taxes in 2019 and to use that money to offset future expenses.
  • Secured a 4,000 square foot indoor facility, 4,200 square foot outdoor space, and 25 parking spaces on Paperboard property to use as a future Borough community space.
  • Hired a financial consultant to ensure financial agreements optimized revenue and kept developers’ margins in check.
  • Held multiple town halls on the redevelopment projects, ensuring each resident the opportunity to discuss and question the developers and the Borough’s financial analysts.

Communication, Outreach, and Transparency

  • Increased transparency by holding “Breaking down the Budget” meetings that included special presentations by the Finance Committee and informal conversations with residents about the Borough’s budget and resulted in the creation of an online budget breakdown document.
  • Introduced an official Garwood Facebook page back into our community to allow those on social media to be in-the-know about town events and announcements.
  • Utilized NIXLE in cooperation with our Police Department to inform residents with text and emails about major announcements, including street closures and weather advisories, as well as community happenings.
  • Used direct mail to reach each resident with important information such as the new street sweeping schedule.

Beautification, Public Service, and Bringing Garwood Together

  • Created the Garwood Green Team, which not only helps with beautification projects around the town, but also works to improve the Borough’s sustainability. Certified Bronze by Sustainable Jersey for the Borough’s work, which enables Garwood to receive grant monies.
  • Brought the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service to Garwood, bringing hundreds of residents together in a day of community service and resulting in the making of over 800 sandwiches for the homeless, 100 safety kits for seniors, 600 hygiene kits for homeless teens, 200 bookmarks for the Children’s Specialized Hospital and 100 cards for veterans.
  • Brought Local Government Week to Garwood, creating activities such as Touch-a-Truck and Bingo Night to celebrate our town’s local services and the relationship between the community’s residents and the businesses that operate in our town.
  • Commissioned the repainting of the Center Street underpass.
  • Created a Volunteer Rewards Card program to acknowledge community volunteers’ hard work and promote shopping local. 

Quality of Life

  • Worked with the Raritan Valley Coalition and the Raritan Valley Mayor’s Alliance to continue to pressure NJ Transit to bring back one seat rides on the Raritan Valley Line and to advocate for increases in the number of stops for Garwood.
  • Initiated and passed a resolution to support our seniors and our veterans by doubling their available tax deductions.
  • Led the charge and passed a resolution to ban pet stores from selling pets from puppy mills.