Our Plan to Revitalize our Downtown

  My name is Gentiana Brahimaj and I am ready to dedicate the time and energy it takes to making positive changes in Berkeley Heights.  I am not a politician or friends with any politician or Township Official.  After interviewing with the Republican Committee, I was honored to have received their unanimous support and nomination to run for our Town Council.  I have been involved with the Berkeley Heights school system, various sport programs, and helping the community for over 19 years.  For the last 6 years I have worked in the hospitality industry and I know firsthand how important a location is for a business to thrive as well as delivering the right product to the residents.  My running mate Manny Couto has been working hard to introduce changes, events, and programs that bring beauty and business to Berkeley Heights.

I will assist Manny, and volunteers, with the initiatives to redevelop Peppertown Park.  The proposed design creates walking and biking paths that will connect the downtown to the Berkeley Heights train station.  Manny is currently writing a Vacant Property Registration ordinance that will require property owners to register their vacant properties.  He is also working with the township attorney on updating existing ordinances to allow the township to timely enforce the ordinances.   I will also act as a volunteer liaison for the township to provide monthly reports of abandoned or neglected properties.  This report can be used to easily send or update violations.

I have already started working and preparing myself for what is in store as a Council member.  I have met with representatives from our neighboring towns who are willing to partner with us to help promote local businesses.  My comprehensive plan includes:

  • Increase public events in town.  Events help drive positive awareness to our      downtown and increase business sales.
  • Collaborate with Summit and New Providence to provide a means of transportation to connect our downtowns; trolley service, small bus service, bike sharing.
  • Help form an Economic Development Committee run by successful business owners in town and volunteers whose expertise consists in researching the      markets, the latest business trends and consumer demand. After the      analysis, this committee will work with the business owners in town and make sure every available rental space is occupied. This Committee will also have input on the Downtown Master Plan and ensuring plans and      ordinances are conducive to allowing businesses to thrive.
  • Expand Restaurant Week and Beauty & Wellness Weeks with New Providence by attracting their residents to visit our restaurants during our restaurant week then promote the New Providence restaurants to our residents during their restaurant week.  We all know how close these two towns are and we can benefit by helping each other, all while promoting and helping our businesses grow.
  • Investigate open parking areas that can be used seasonally that could increase revenue for the town and businesses.
  • Work with building owners and nearby colleges and universities to rent/lease      open retail space to create downtown satellite campus. 
  • Propose a one-day summer shutdown on Springfield Ave.  Allow the children and  residents to enjoy an evening or two in town without worrying about      traffic.  Collaborate with Union County to provide bicycle safety      awareness classes during the shutdown. 

Here’s a list of Manny’s winning accomplishments I am proud to support:

  • Updated Article 19 of the Municipal Code to establish design standards for      building materials, colors, and signs.  The updated design standards will provide a cohesive look to our downtown.
  • Created stronger signage standards within Part 5 of our Municipal Code.       These updates will require signage around town to be uniform.
  • Co-founded the successful Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week brings thousands of  people to Berkeley Heights to enjoy predefined specials offered by local establishments. 
  • Arranged  the Flower Basket program with local businesses to line Springfield Ave with seasonal flowers throughout the year.
  • Helped create the Adopt-a-Sign program to bring flowers and greenery to signs throughout the town.  This program leveraged volunteers to purchase,      plant, and maintain the plantings which has taken a burden off our DPW staff.
  • Fundraised and help design Historical and Seasonal banners as well as American flags that line main throughways in Berkeley Heights; Springfield Ave, Park Ave, Plainfield Ave, Snyder Ave.
  • Partnered with Berkeley Heights Recreation Commission and the Township to have park and field signs and welcome signs installed throughout town.
  • Assisted writing grants to obtain several garbage and recycling receptacles.       He also attended many trash cleanup programs to determine where the      receptacles would be best utilized. 

Manny has a proven track record, one which I will continue to build upon and support. I am confident I have what it takes and am truly committed to making sure Berkeley Heights businesses grow and our downtown thrives.

We respectfully ask for your support on November 5th.  Vote Column B for Manny and Gentiana who will put Berkeley Heights First.

by Gentiana Brahimaj

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Diverse Experience

  My name is “Manuel” Manny Couto and I am honored and privileged to serve as your Councilman. I know firsthand what it takes to serve on Berkeley Heights Town Council and how important it is to have diverse experience.  Diversity includes the blending of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives.

With a population of over 13,000 and a budget over twenty million dollars annually, managing the town is vastly different than managing your own family’s checkbook.  It requires listening, collaboration and drawing on my 30 years of business and real estate background to keep Berkeley Heights First.

During my time on the Council I have rolled up my sleeves and got to work putting the needs of the residents first.  I relied on my values to guide my actions. I can sum those up in a few words: honesty, integrity and commitment to community.

I have taken a leadership role on several volunteer committees, including the Downtown Beautification Committee.  The committee alone has brought the town restaurant week, consistent standards for design, building materials and signs, banners including those lauding our veterans and other benefits like the flower basket program.  These efforts and benefits were all secured without using taxpayer dollars.

I have co-founded the Commuter Task Force. This group will explore options for commuters by understanding parking needs and providing alternative parking options for commuters.  I have already contacted Boxcar who is now offering additional commuter parking in town.

I am proud to be running with Gentiana Brahimaj.   Going door-to-door we have listened to residents’ concerns about taxes, roads and NJ Transit.  Gentiana has already started working for you!  She and I have partnered with Summit, New Providence, and Long Hill Township to form the Gladstone Commuter Alliance.  This group is intended to be a central forum to voice your concerns to both local and state entities, including NJ Transit.  Whether it is about the railroad’s infrastructure or local issues like parking lot access, when it comes to NJ Transit, we will make sure Berkeley Heights has a voice. 

Gentiana has met with Recreation Commission members to discuss their challenges.  Having raised three children in town who all played sports, she knows the great undertaking it is to keep up with field maintenance.  She plans to be an active member of the Recreation Commission’s “Recreation Master Plan Committee”.  The Committee is developing a ten-year master plan focusing on athletic field maintenance and improvements, walking and biking trails, and new Senior programs all without using tax payer dollars.  She will be assisting the “Friends of Berkeley Heights Recreation Commission” committee that has been developing fundraisers and innovative ways to raise money for our parks and recreation. 

Gentiana is a perfect fit for our Town Council.  She will provide a strong, independent voice and will bring diverse experience to our Council.  Her years as a paralegal will fill a gap on the Council and allow us to work more efficiently with the Township attorney and other legal counsel.  Gentiana’s extensive experience with preparing and managing budgets will add another set of eyes to the long and tedious Township budget.  Lastly, her availability and collaboration skills will be priceless to our community and small businesses.
Gentiana and I have the time, energy, and commitment it takes to serve you on our Town Council.  Together we will deliver the progress needed to put Berkeley Heights First by:

  • Delivering a 2020 budget without tax hikes or new spending
  • Maintaining local control of schools and services from county politician
  • Restoring the capital road repaving plan
  • Developing a commuter transit alliance with neighboring towns to stand-up to NJ Transit – COMPLETED!!!!
  • Providing diverse experience on the Council
  • Working with businesses to revitalize our Downtown

Diverse experience is very important on teams, like the Council.  It will increase our flexibility in taking on challenges and opportunities, it brings new and different perspectives to the table, it provides a wide variety of opinions, skills, experience, and backgrounds. It will increase team efficiency and efficacy by tapping into the wealth of knowledge among different thinkers and personalities.

We respectfully ask for your support.  Please vote Column B for Manny & Gentiana on November 5th  You can visit our website for more information https://berkeleyheightsfirst.com 

by Manny Couto

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The Right Choice for Berkeley Heights

 Manny Couto and Gentiana Brahimaj are who Berkeley Heights residents need representing them on the Town Council. They are independent thinkers. They spent the summer meeting residents, going door-to-door, attending town events, and hosting monthly meet and greets.  

Manny and Gentiana appreciate all the feedback and are listening to the concerns of residents.  

Manny and Gentiana are already working for you! They are pleased to announce the formation of the Gladstone Commuter Alliance.  They have already partnered with our neighbors in Summit, New Providence, and Long Hill.  This alliance will focus on solutions we can provide to our commuters as well as ensuring Gladstone Line commuters voices are heard in Trenton. 

Manny’s decades of real estate experience bring unique insights into property values, housing and demographic trends; all which affect the vibrancy of a community.  Manny has been an active member of the council for almost 3 years.  Some of his successes include:  the revision of Municipal Code to bring design standards to downtown, Peppertown Park Renewal Committee, Peppertown Park Bocci Tournament, Art for the Park, Fill-a-Basket program, and the Adopt-a-Sign program.  Manny is also the co-founder of the Commuter Task Force. Manny has gone through three Township budget cycles and has the knowledge and background to ensure the Council and Township does not skip a beat.  Manny and his wife have lived in Berkeley Heights for over 23 years and raised three children who all attended the Berkeley Heights school system.

Gentiana is a strong, independent woman who came to the United States, on her own, in her early twenties.  Married to a Vietnam war veteran, she raised three wonderful children; her son is active in the Navy, oldest daughter works for a global investment firm and lives in NYC, and youngest daughter started Governor Livingston this September.  Gentiana is a former paralegal with many years of experience reviewing legal contracts, researching law, and representing clients in hearings.  She also has extensive experience preparing multi-million-dollar budgets, and contract negotiations that will offer a diverse experience to the Council and allow her to hit the ground running.

Manny & Gentiana will:

➢ Deliver a 2020 budget without tax hikes or new spending

➢ Maintain local control of schools and services from county politicians
➢ Restore the 6-year capital road plan

➢ Provide diverse experience to the Council

➢ Work with businesses to develop a plan to revitalize our Downtown

➢ Develop a commuter transit alliance with neighboring towns to stand-up to NJ Transit

We are asking all residents to unite and put Berkeley Heights First.  We all deserve a fair chance to let residents know who we are and what we will do for you and Berkeley Heights.  We respectfully ask for your trust and your vote on Tuesday November 5th, Column B. 

Please follow us on Facebook at Berkeley Heights First or Berkeley Heights Republican Club.  

Other Berkeley Heights Republican pages/groups are not supported or endorsed by the Berkeley Heights Republican Committee or Manny and Gentiana’s campaign.

by Manny Couto & Gentiana Brahimaj

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Thank you for your support

 

Thank you to the residents of Berkeley Heights for your support.  We are proud to represent the Republican Party of Berkeley Heights this November.  We commend our opponents on a spirited campaign.  We are committed to securing support from Republican, Unaffiliated and Democrat voters who want to ensure that Berkeley Heights comes First.  We will:

  • Responsibly manage your tax dollars
  • Improve resident services
  • Listen to all voices
  • Protect local control of our schools

We have spoken with many, many residents during this primary season and we hear your concerns. Checkout our vision at berkeleyheightsfirst.com. We want to hear from you!

Email: mannygentiana4tc@gmail.com

 by Manny Couto & Gentiana Brahimaj 

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Berkeley Heights First - It's not just a slogan - it's our guiding principle

  

What will we do to keep Berkeley Heights First?  We will:

· Ensure local control (not state or county) over the growth of our town.

· Support balanced growth of a vibrant and walk-able Downtown.

· Provide tax relief to residents through federal, state, and local grants and ensure developers and large companies give their fair share. 

· Keep you, the resident, proud to call Berkeley Heights, home.

We are the candidates that will work for you!   

by Gentiana Brahimaj

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Berkeley Heights First - It's not just a slogan

  

Over the course of the campaign you are going to hear us talk a lot about Berkeley Heights First, but it isn’t just a campaign slogan to us - it’s our guiding principle.  But what does that mean? It means that we commit to: 

- Putting solutions above politics & ideology

- Really listening & soliciting feedback from the community

- Running a transparent & open government

- Discussing and even debating issues before they come up for a vote at Council Meetings

Mostly importantly, at is core, it’s about ALWAYS doing what’s right.  It’s never about us — It’s always about always doing the right thing for Berkeley Heights.  

by Manny Couto

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