Richard Novak, 2022 Candidate for One-Year-Term on Rocky Hill Borough Council
Vice president for Continuing Studies and Distance Learning, Rutgers University
Novak, a 17-year borough resident, is married to Ann Curry Novak. They have two adult children, Megan and Lucas.
Why are you running?
I have a lifelong commitment to public service. Everyone in our community can contribute to making our community a great place to live.
I have 30 years of experience in higher education as a university senior administrator, dealing with a wide range of complex issues, budget constraints, direct client service and a goal of revenue generation. I also have prior experience as an elected official, serving 12 years as a school board member. I understand firsthand service on behalf of a community.
Top three issues:
1) Safe water - maintaining our aging water infrastructure along with managing the PFOS situation. 2) Ensuring Rocky Hill continues to have library services. 3) Traffic calming and pedestrian safety throughout the borough, including participation in regional mitigation efforts.
Economic growth ideas:
A first step is to ask borough business owners how they can be better supported and perhaps grow. Second, assess opportunities and areas for growth that are consistent with the character of Rocky Hill. Third, engage in community discussions around economic growth and potential business opportunities to better align ideas with community needs and desires.
Thoughts on Mary Jacobs Memorial Library:
MJL has provided vital quality of life services to residents of Rocky Hill and shared services with residents of Montgomery. Connection to Somerset County Library System (SCLS) has given local residents access to resources that are broader and greater than a single independent library could provide.
Library services physically in Rocky Hill itself, connected to SCLSNJ, are essential. Rocky Hill does not own the current property, so that is a limiting factor.
I am disappointed that apparently nothing has happened since the Mary Jacobs Library Foundation closed the library. I am not privy to any discussions going on between the council and the foundation. My role as a council member would be to do everything I can to ensure library service in Rocky Hill.
What are your goals for the municipal water system?
The USDA grant and federal earmark that Rocky Hill has received have changed the dynamic in a positive way for Rocky Hill to address the PFOS mediation requirement. We are moving ahead with our own solution, which has been approved by the DEP and I support that. I do not support acquisition of our water operation by NJ American Water.
Police and pubic safety
I support exploring options, particularly shared services, in light of the potential significant growth in Rocky Hill due to the development of the Schafer tract. Our current shared service with Franklin Township for traffic enforcement, which is limited in scope, has proven to be effective. An hour-long response time by the NJ State Police to a 911 call, while appreciated, is not acceptable or sustainable. ■