FROM THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
Eric F. Wilsusen
Here is wishing all our residents a very Happy, Healthy & Blessed New Year! Overall, I feel 2021 certainly was better than 2020. I know I felt a bit of normalcy. Unfortunately, as I write my winter message, we see a COVID spike with the Omicron variant circulating. COVID will undoubtedly be something we will have to live and deal with going forward. As always, do what you feel is necessary to protect and keep yourself healthy.
Year three is under my belt, and despite all that has been thrown at me, I still enjoy being the Mayor of this wonderful community! So much so I have decided to run for re-election in 2022. As I have said repeatedly to many, I came into office with the position that I will always make decisions based on what is best for the community. This is a 28-million-dollar business. I am here to make business decisions, not political decisions; and if I am doing a good job, the community will reelect me. I hope I have earned your vote. I will be running with Councilwoman Melissa Senatore and Councilman Josh Kalish.
I need to personally thank the boss, my Business Administrator Debra Millikin, all our department heads, municipal employees, and of course, our volunteers for all their hard work & dedication all year long. I feel we have a great team. Debi & I have worked hard to instill and create a positive atmosphere with an emphasis on service to our community. We will continue to push this narrative! I would be remiss if I also didn’t thank all our volunteer Fire & EMS organizations!
Quite a bit got accomplished this past year. For the first time in our history, a ten-year strategic capital plan was completed after two years of compiling information. We were once again able to take advantage of some cost savings as we bid early on most of our big projects. I don’t think we will be so lucky in 2022 with inflation and fuel costs rising, and we also have a State budget review to contend with. We have begun the 2022 budget process, so we shall see.
Our police addition is in the final stages. New HVAC units for the Municipal Building were installed, replacing the 25-year-old units and converting from propane units to less costly natural gas. The roof replacement took care of many leaks that plagued the Municipal Building for years. Fire Company 1 & Milton First Aid each received new apparatus. Ridge Road, Winona Trail, Clover Terrace, Sachem Road, Lorettacong Road, Woodport Road, Teepee Road, Mohawk Trail, Ledgewood Road, Allegheny Trail, Virginia Avenue, Delaware Avenue, New York Avenue, Ohio Street, Chincopee Road, Iowa Avenue, Utah Street, Rhode Island Street, Carolina Avenue, and Illinois Street were all paved. All of the Peaks development was micro paved. New Jersey Natural Gas paved East Shawnee Trail and Johnson Place. It was close to the end of the paving season, but I pushed hard, and Morris County finally paved Edison & Espanong Road to Minnisink Road, which was in bad shape and never would have made it through the winter! Many outstanding and long-awaited drainage work was completed throughout the town, and we performed quite a bit of guide rail replacement. A new pickleball court was installed at the old Dogwood Court tennis courts off Heather Hills Drive in Oak Ridge. The court will be painted in the Spring, and we are looking at expanding parking.
We were informed that NJ Natural Gas would begin installing gas mains in Lake Forest starting in the Spring, so good news for that neighborhood. As always, we advocate NJNG for all of Jefferson to be gassed up!
Happy New Year to All!