FROM THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
Eric F. Wilsusen
Happy Fall, Jefferson! Please get out and enjoy all the beautiful scenery our community has to offer.
So those who know me understand that I am a goal- and list-oriented person. I like to get things done and checked off my list and get to the next project. I am finding that things like COVID and the crisis of the day, ie. Tropical Storms, HABs and other events tend to take over your agenda! COVID has slowed my agenda down a bit and has forced the Township to cancel many events this year. Unfortunately, we were unable to host our employee professional day, and many other community events had to be canceled. I cannot wait for 2020 to be over!
In working with our Township Council early this year, the 2020 budget was adopted earlier than most municipalities. By doing so, this allowed the Township to take bids and award early on the road improvement projects, and take advantage of some cost savings. The cost savings allowed the Township to complete a few more projects this year. My Administration requested additional funding for road improvements, and I am happy to report that we completed all our major road projects by the end of August. This is much earlier than in past years. Now is it time to get ready for winter! Thank you to our public works employees for all their hard work. We have a small crew of 12, but they do a great job!
Work is underway on the 2021 Municipal Budget. We expect to present to Council shortly our long-term strategic plan. It is a 10-year plan that will help guide us with capital projects and any long-term funding into the future. Our major challenge over the next few years will undoubtedly be adequately funding road improvement projects and balancing affordability for all our residents.
I know for many, our annual rolling tax reassessment program was a source of heartburn for those who did not understand the process and purpose. Due to a lawsuit filed in Paterson, any Municipality outside of Middlesex County, which is where the pilot for this program started, will have to go back to the traditional method of revaluation, which will occur on average every 8-10 years. The Township will migrate back to the traditional method in 2021.
At the September 15 Council meeting, a five-year garbage/recycling bid was approved and adopted. Blue Diamond was the only bidder, and we were pleased with the bid, which we felt came in better than expected. We truly expected the cost to go through the roof. All will stay the same except, due to the escalating cost of recycling, beginning January 1st, we will have to go back to dual-stream recycling, which means separating cardboard and plastics once again and each will be picked up on alternating weeks. The survey results received on the garbage/recycling contract were used to help guide the Township in preparing and deciding which bid option to choose. The results indicated the overwhelming consensus was that our residents were very pleased with our garbage/recycling program. The Municipality is not required to collect garbage; if each homeowner was to contract independently, the cost would be significantly higher. The average cost increase will be approximately $27.96 for 2021 based on an average assessed home of $320,919.00.
As we move into winter, we ask that you remove any basketball hoops and other playground objects in the roadway and a reminder that overnight parking is prohibited when roads are ice or snow-covered.
Enjoy the beautiful fall colors!