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Spitzer Won't Seek Re-Election to Twp. Committee

Two-term Bernards Township Committeeman and former mayor announces this will be his last year on the committee.

Republican Township Committeeman Scott Spitzer, who served as mayor in 2010 and has lived in Basking Ridge for 15 years, announced on Wednesday he will not seek a third term on the all-Republican Committee after finishing out his second full term.

Spitzer said in his announcement that his decision was due to "changing family and professional circumstances."

When asked, Spitzer did not name anyone who might be seeking to run in his place.

Spitzer, an attorney, said he is "most proud of keeeping our budget and taxes in check, retaining our AAA bond rating, expanding our open space acquisitions, starting the Beautification Task Force, and creating and leading the Mayor's health campaign."

Bernards Township "is probably in the best financial condition of any municipality in the state," he said when asked for further comment.

Spitzer noted that the municipality has no long term debt, referring to the retirement of the township's last municipal bond in November 2011. He attributed that to the Township Committee's "pay as you go" policy as opposed to borrowing.

The municipal tax levy is at the same level it was five years ago, he added.

Spitzer, who said he first became involved with township business as a member of the Open Space Committee, leading to an appointment on the Planning Board, pointed out the "hundreds of acres" of parkland and preserved property that the township has acquired during his time in office.

That includes the open space rights to the English property on the other side of Allen Road, Whitenack woods and other nearby land, he said. A major goal had been to create a "green belt" around the densely devloped Hills neighborhood, he said.

Another project that he said he supported was the development of the township-owned Farmstead Arts center.

During his term as mayor, a one-year position that under Bernards Township's form of government is an appointment by the Township Committee, he also initiated "brown bag lunches" for informal discussions with residents

Although other Republican candidates have faced competition from Democrats in recent elections, Spitzer said he ran unopposed for both terms.

Before being selected as mayor, Spitzer served as the township's deputy mayor in 2009.

"It has been a great privilege to serve Bernards Township for the past 14 years.  I have served on, or as a liaison for, many of our township boards and commissions, including serving as chairman of the Planning Board for five years," he said in his announcement.

"During the past five years as a member of the Township Committee, I have enjoyed a collegial relationship and worked closely with my colleagues on the Township Committee and our municipal staff to help us maintain and expand our high level of services, and at the same time retain the strongest fiscal position of any municipality in New Jersey," he said. He referred to having served as mayor and deputy mayor as a "distinct honor."

"I want to thank our Township residents’ support, guidance and confidence in me, including electing me to the Township Committee twice without opposition. Bernards is a very special community and a great place to live and raise a family," he said. Spitzer, who lives with his wife, Toby, said his two sons had gone through the Bernards Township school system, which he praised.

He added that he believes that serving the town in which one lives is important, "and that you can make a difference."

"I will continue to give my very best efforts to serve the township and its residents during this final year, as I have for the past 14 years," he said in concluding his announcement.

He said Wednesday he has no plans to leave the township.

b flake January 17, 2013 at 01:14 AM
The town doesn't have any long term debt, but the school system has substantial long term debt. The school system is supported by the taxpayers so it is a disgrace to try and tell the taxpayers that the town doesn't have any debt, that is a lie. How much debt does the sewer authority have? Where else is there long term debt that is being hidden from taxpayers? These politicians all have to go because they lie to us non stop.
n January 17, 2013 at 03:40 AM
My sewer bill went up, I thought they were suppose to save a great deal of money from installing solar panels.
Mary Pacinac January 17, 2013 at 05:12 AM
Seriously b flake? The town does not have any debt. They are, however, responsible for the school district debt because they approved all the homes in the Hills which brought all the students to the schools. That being said, the township and district are separate and distinct entities. The school district budget is more than 2x the township's budget.
maryann.caballero@att.net January 17, 2013 at 12:03 PM
So why are our propeety taxes going up 2.3% , higher than the 1.7% state average and higher than Governor Christie's 2% cap? That's what the Star Ledger said on Monday???
Jack Arnold January 17, 2013 at 02:37 PM
The municipal government has no debt, one of the few in NJ and certainly the only one of its size. The sewer authority has no debt. The board of education has incurred debt but they have a lot of capital projects. You could argue about things like the PAC, but the cost per pupil in Bernards is one of the lowest in the state. Rant away but then don't expect people to take you seriously.

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