BRINDLE FOR MAYOR PLATFORM
- Committed leadership, Fresh approach -
“I’m committed to serving our community, full time, at no pay, to make sure every voice is heard, and to lead this town toward a vibrant, exciting future. Westfield deserves a Mayor who will empower and engage every citizen. We deserve more, we can do better, and together we will.”
1. CHART A VISION for Westfield’s future that embraces growth, innovation and new technology to ensure that our Town remains relevant and vibrant for the residents of today and tomorrow. We need a plan to reignite our historic downtown, enhance community engagement, preserve historic properties, and provide housing options for all stages of life. Working together with our Town Administrator, Planner and Council, we will guide a public and open planning process, and seek the expertise of our residents who are leaders in architecture, planning, municipal finance, sustainability, historic preservation, and more. Together we will:
● Develop a visionary and relevant Master Plan, replacing the outdated plan from 2002, which will include a short and long-term vision for Westfield and serve as a roadmap for smart development to accomplish the following:
○ Ensure fiscally responsible, managed and aesthetically appropriate development that builds upon Westfield’s reputation as a destination for families.
○ Increase Town revenues as a means to improve services and enhance infrastructure.
○ Create a downtown retail destination anchored by a vibrant work/live/play environment encompassing a pedestrian friendly downtown, transit village, and sustainable retail and restaurants.
○ Identify a fiscally responsible and long overdue parking solution that meets present and future needs, enabling a sustainable downtown with greater diversity of stores, restaurants and businesses.
○ Establish Westfield as a leader in environmentally friendly transit village development, surpassing our neighbors in Cranford, Garwood and Fanwood where managed, community friendly development has already begun.
○Revisit current zoning laws and procedures to ensure they enable and not impede progress. Zealously enforce developer compliance with all existing and future zoning laws.
2. EMPOWER OUR RESIDENTS by creating a town culture that reflects the open, inclusive, and collaborative spirit of our community in the following ways:
● Live stream every public meeting, identify all Board and Committee members on the Town website, use social/digital media and traditional means to communicate board agendas, minutes, and recaps. Communicate with residents on their terms; not on the terms of Town officials.
● Publicize open applications for board seats to ensure our local government is nonpartisan, reflective of our citizens, and that there is adequate Ward representation on every Town board and committee.
● Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Treat every resident taxpayer as if they’re a loyal valued customer.
● Solicit ongoing input and questions from residents via social/digital media as well as traditional means. Leverage social media to enhance collaboration, information dissemination and community cohesiveness.
● Empower and challenge town employees to revisit existing processes and protocols: town paving priorities, tree removal/planting processes, responsiveness to resident concerns, etc.
● Establish quarterly digital Town Halls featuring comprehensive discussions with various Town officials (i.e., Town Administrator, Fire Chief, DPW Chief, Police Chief, etc.)
● Establish a formal, proactive Town liaison for the Board of Education to proactively engage the BOE in Town zoning and development decisions that may impact enrollment, traffic, and pedestrian safety
● Establish and convene a Small Business Council to identify cross-promotion opportunities for local businesses (including home-based), routinely engage business owners in decisions that impact them, reassess initiatives that impede their ability to do business overall, and reassess practices that prevent new businesses from opening in Town.
● Establish a town-wide volunteer database to engage the talents and skills of residents who have specific areas of expertise that can help move the Town forward.
● Provide clear performance metrics for the Mayor and Town employees and provide regular assessments to the residents.
● Encourage and incentivize citizens to participate in a government that values and needs their voice.
3. CHALLENGE THE BUDGET by reviewing it with ‘fresh eyes’ and identifying new opportunities for efficiencies and growth
● Ask lots of questions, challenge previous assumptions, identify operating efficiencies, review all grants available from the state, county and private sector to ensure the Town has proactively applied and advocated for all available dollars.
● Establish a “growth strategy” for managing the Town’s budget, including better leveraging our AAA bond rating to invest in the town and its infrastructure to maintain Westfield’s premier town status. Ensure current fiscal management strategies capitalize on changing economic climates and interest rates to maximize benefit to the Town, which including managing appropriate levels of debt and surplus.
● Prioritize grant writing, via volunteer or contracted grant writers, to ensure all available dollars are applied for as a general practice and can support both Town and Board of Ed initiatives.
● Identify shared service opportunities with the Board of Ed specifically around purchasing supplies and equipment, facilities, and technology upgrades.
● Identify shared service opportunities with adjoining towns for services and staffing.
● Improve operating efficiencies by leveraging technology to streamline paperwork and improve Town wide communication, (i.e., app to report potholes, road paving needs, sidewalk repair, etc.)
4. CHAMPION ISSUES THAT MATTER TO RESIDENTS
● Ensure our Fire, Police and First Responders operate with the essential resources they need to ensure public safety
● Ensure safety/security priorities between the Town and taxpayers are aligned.
● Establish annual community public safety forums to provide our top rate leaders exposure to the community to share their successes, as well as to hear community concerns.
● Appoint pedestrian safety task force to review current accident trends and make recommendations
One Seat Ride:
● Personally and vigorously advocate for a one seat ride with the Governor, NJT, the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition and relevant state legislators. As a 20+ year commuter to NYC, I understand the impact that a long and stressful commute has on the daily lives of our residents, not to mention the benefit to our property values and our ability to attract new businesses.
● Appoint a Town Historian to identify and provide recommendations for preserving historically significant properties, including proactively seeking public/private solutions for preservation before a property is potentially demolished.
Road paving/pothole and sidewalk repair:
● Revisit how road paving is currently prioritized based upon best practices from other towns and communicate that policy town wide.
● Establish resident hotline and/or app to easily report significant potholes and dangerous sidewalks. Penalize builders/developers who leave behind damaged roads and sidewalks.
● Prioritize Green Team initiatives with the goal of making Westfield a state model in sustainability initiatives.
● Enforce existing tree preservation ordinances and reassess annually the need for additional planting.