FROM THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
Eric F. Wilsusen
The first recorded COVID 19 death in New Jersey was recorded on March 2, 2020. On March 7 Governor Murphy lifted most of the emergency orders, and our schools have lifted mask mandates. Things are getting back to normal, thank God! In addition to our webpage, social media posts, and RAVE notifications, I hope many find the third edition of our Township newsletter helpful. I am trying my best to keep our community informed; it is challenging to have limited local news coverage.
My administration has been working hard with the Township Council on the 2022 Municipal Budget over the past few months to cut costs and reduce the budget in any way we can. As all feel the pain of higher gas prices and inflation, your municipal government is not exempt. 2022 will be a challenging year for us all. The Township has been fortunate to bid early on many projects over the last three years and saw significant savings. I don’t anticipate being that lucky this year. The goal has been to continue with our aggressive road improvement program, but costs are skyrocketing. NJ Natural Gas is expected to pave all the road in Cozy Lake and West Shawnee Trail in Lake Shawnee. Once bids are received and we learn the cost of our road paving program, I will publish a list of roads to be paved on our website.
All of our Spring and Summer programs, including Camp Jefferson, should be back to normal. This year the Jefferson Fest firework display is being combined with the Jefferson Education Foundation’s Annual Carnival at the High School/Middle School complex. The Carnival will be June 8-12; fireworks will be on Saturday, June 11, and the raindate will be Sunday, June 12.
The start of the Weldon Road Bridge construction is anticipated to start at the beginning of April.
Our new police addition is 99% complete. Currently, the old section of police HQ is being renovated. An expansion of some sort has been in the planning stages for at least the last 25 years. No major renovation has been made to the Municipal Building since it was built in 1972. Long overdue! An open house for the public will be held on June 11.
I have to give kudos to my wife Kristine and the JT Municipal Alliance for a Drug-Free Community for all their hard work in getting the new Jefferson Township Youth Coalition started. In partnership with Prevention is Key, they were able to secure a $150K a year grant for five years with a 5-year renewal to combat drug & alcohol issues among our youth. Great news for our community. More information can be found at www.preventioniskey.org/jtyc.
At the beginning of the year, I solicit applications from the community for our Citizen of the Year for the previous year; each year, I receive many well-deserving individuals. I thank them all for what they do for our community. This year I have chosen Terry Koontz as the 2021 Citizen of the Year. Terry has been very active in our community for many years. Terry was an extremely well-liked middle school teacher Camp Jefferson Co-Director and served on the Recreation Advisory Board for over 20 years. I was quite surprised she was never selected in the past. Terry, unfortunately, suffered a stroke in 2020 and has been slowly improving since. Terry is truly deserving of this honor.