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 Get to Know the Candidates Series: Week 3 

RUPA KALE for Borough Council 

Please give the definition of transparency, and how would you try and expand it? Traditions and Pioneer Pride run strong in New Providence. How does the borough maintain this small town pride in changing times? What is your 10-year vision for New Providence? Please include your vision for economic development in your response. 

Transparency to me translates to making our government accessible to all which it currently is not. It is incumbent on our Borough Administration to share information of matter and concern to Borough residents with everyone in all ways possible including via website, social media, email, phone and print. 

This information may include but not limited to sharing Budget details, traffic and roadwork updates, meetings and resolutions, processes and systems and more importantly educating and keeping Borough residents informed in a timely manner. 

It also largely involves listening to, acting on and acknowledging our residents and their concerns in a timely manner even if a solution to any challenge is not immediately available. Transparency in the process and operations of the Borough is how we hold our elected officials accountable for their obligations to residents. 

I would start with an overhaul of our Borough website. It would be a simple easy to use portal for everything needed by a resident, employer or employee in the Borough. The website would be user-friendly and intuitive. I would also livestream all public meetings. We did this during the Pandemic, so it is not an impossible task. I would implement a clear success outreach plan for everything from Borough Notices to Emergency Information to Sunshine Notices so that residents feel informed. 

I have worked hard over the past 8 years and have a solid track record of timely and informed communication to Borough residents about happenings in the borough to the best of my knowledge; via the New Providence Community Forum on Facebook. Over and over Borough residents thank me for the space and the resource it has become, and I will work hard to bring the same energy, diligence and culture to Borough communications. 

Traditions and Pioneer Pride are not a trait carried by any one person but rather points to the collective soul of our amazing community. From the parents who run the various events in our schools or put in countless hours of coaching; to the volunteers who work tirelessly for all the events that take place throughout the Borough to make this a magical place to live. 

It's the small business owners who invest their heart and soul into our community and the residents who come together to help families or businesses in need. It's our DPW, our Police, our EMS and Fire Department. We together are Pioneers. 

One may have lived here a long time like me or recently moved here; Pioneer Pride is the air we breathe. We are neighbors first and as long as I live in this Borough that feeling of love for neighbors, kindness and gratitude will always be the way we inform our little Mayberry. 

We have so many amazing organizations in this Borough like Diversity in New Providence, New Providence Municipal Alliance, Sustainability Committee and the newly formed Mental Health Committee among others that espouse the spirit of this Borough. They need recognition and support both logistically and financially to allow them to do the work that impacts our residents in the most positive way. That goodwill creates and sustains Pioneer pride. 

I would like to see a reinstatement of the Economic Development Committee after it was dissolved during the Pandemic. It's a loss for New Providence to not have a formal body of people addressing the business and residential challenges in our community. 

We have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in our Borough. We should tap into this resource to create policies, programs and actionable items to improve the quality of life for everyone in our community. I would like to see the engagement of residents in an inclusive process that represents a diverse group of residents to determine the future of New Providence. 

It would address and allow for a multi pronged solutions based approach and prioritize challenges we face in this borough like: 

Traffic and road challenges (especially future issues with high density housing) 

Other infrastructure issues like vacant buildings and flood prevention measures within the Borough 

Smart investment in Capital improvements 

Review shared services and ways to streamline the process more 

Loss of businesses from the Borough like Becton Dickinson leaving New Providence 

Create an accessible and aging in place plan that includes affordable housing 

Implement a solid plan and structure to bring in more revenue from the county via grants and through partnerships. 

When I speak with residents in the borough overwhelmingly their concerns are about high density housing, rising taxes, declining services and not being able to afford living here after retirement. These are challenges faced by all communities, and together we have the wealth of knowledge and ability to work on a solution. 

Whether it is upgrading our parks and fields and employing sustainable practices or a clear plan for the existing grants through Safe Routes to School to fix our sidewalks and crosswalks or making our AAA Bond ratings work for us; an Economic Development Committee will benefit our Borough in the long term. 

There are many towns around us who also enjoy AAA Bond ratings including Chatham Township, Summit and Westfield that are thriving and have been able to accomplish a lot more than we have. When I speak with long term residents everyone talks about how trash pickup was two times a week, recycling pickup was once a week, bulk pick up took place two times a year and more. We should explore all avenues available to ensure we can provide Borough residents with the excellent service they deserve. 

Residents who have invested their tax dollars, hearts and souls in our community for decades should have not to leave the Borough because they cannot afford to live here. Together we can find solutions to support everyone that wishes to live here. 

Paid for by Pioneers22 • 54 Midvale Drive, New Providence NJ 07974

Harry Clewell is a member of the United States Army Reserves. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the United States Army Reserves, Department of the Army or the Department of Defense. All factual military information and photographs are provided in conjunction with other non-military biographical data.
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