Township of Readington, New Jersey

 

MAYOR'S CORNER
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GOOD EVENING AND THANK YOU ALL FOR COMING


FIRST AND FOREMOST, I WANT TO THANK MAYOR BETTY ANN FORT, DEPUTY MAYOR JOHN ALBANESE AND ADMINISTRATOR VITA MEKOVITZ FOR THEIR HARD WORK AND SELFLESS DEDICATION TO READINGTON TOWNSHIP IN 2019.

NEXT I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL OF THE READINGTON TOWNSHIP RESIDENTS THAT TAKE TIME AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILY, FRIENDS AND DAILY LIVES TO VOLUNTEER FOR OUR TOWNSHIP. THE VOLUNTEERISM THAT TAKES PLACE EVERY DAY IN OUR TOWN IS TRULY REMARKABLE. IT IS A TRIBUTE TO THE CHARACTER AND MORAL INTEGRITY THAT OUR RESIDENTS POSSESS. OUR FIRE DEPARTMENTS, THE RESCUE SQUAD AND OUR CERT MEMBERS ARE SELFLESS HEROS THAT BRAVE THE NIGHT SO THAT WE CAN SLEEP COMFORTABLY IN OUR HOMES. THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS FROM THE BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT, PLANNING BOARD, OPEN SPACE ADVISORY BOARD, SEWER ADVISORY COMMITTEE, RECREATION COMMITTEE, ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE, BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEE, HISTORICAL PRESERVATION COMMITTEE, MUSEUMS COMMITTEE, BOARD OF HEALTH AND READINGTON LEBANON SEWER AUTHORITY ALL DONATE UNCOUNTED HOURS OF THEIR TIME FOR THE BETTERMENT OF OUR TOWN.

OUR MUNICIPAL TEAMMATES IN READINGTON TOWNSHIP FROM THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, FROM BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS, FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS, FROM OUR LIBRARIANS AND OUR MUNICIPAL BUILDING TEAMMATES ARE ALL DEDICATED AND CARING CONTRIBUTERS TO OUR WONDERFUL TOWN. I HAVE TRULY ENJOYED MEETING THEM, TALKING TO THEM AND LEARNING WHAT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM CONTRIBUTES TO THE GREATER GOOD OF READINGTON.

OUR PROFESSIONALS, THE LAWYERS, ENGINEERS, PLANNERS, ACCOUNTANTS AND ADVISORS WORK DILIGENTLY TO HELP US MAINTAIN READINGTONS CHARACTER AND GUIDE US THROUGH THE TROUBLED WATERS OF MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT.

MY WIFE PATTI AND I HAVE LIVED IN TOWN FOR 26 YEARS. WE WERE MARRIED IN OUR YARD BY MAYOR RON MONACO. WE HAVE EXPERIENCED THE PROFESSIONALISM, COURTESY AND CARING THAT THE WORKING TEAMMATES AND VOLUNTEERS OF READINGTON EXUDE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR RESPECTIVE DUTIES. UNFORTUNATELY THAT INCLUDES SEVERAL VISITS TO OUR HOME FROM THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AND POLICE DEPARTMENT, NOT TO MENTION THE LATE NIGHT DPW PLOW DRIVERS OUT CLEANING OUR STREETS IN ALL KINDS OF UGLY WEATHER. I CAN ALSO ADD A RECENT RIDE IN OUR FIRST AID SQUADS AMBULANCE, ALL IN THE INTEREST OF RESEARCHING OUR EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS.

WE ALL SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT KNOWING THAT THEY ARE THERE BEHIND THE SCENES DOING WHAT THEY DO FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL READINGTON RESIDENTS.

I WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL TEAMMATES AND VOLUNTEERS AGAIN FOR ALL THAT THEY DO. THEY ARE ALL UNDERAPPRECIATED AND OVERWORKED.

2019 WAS A GOOD YEAR. THERE WERE SOME TUMULTUOUS TIMES, BUT OVERALL A GOOD YEAR. I WANT TO THANK BETTY ANN, VITA AND JOHN AGAIN FOR GUIDING US THROUGH THE POTHOLES AND PITFALLS THAT SEEMED TO APPEAR ON A WEEKLY BASIS.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING WAS A MAJOR TOPIC OF DISCUSSION IN TOWN WITH THE START OF THE WILLOWS AT NELSON STREET. CURRENTLY THE PROJECT IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION WITH THE ANTICIPATED OPENING OF THE APARTMENTS LATER THIS YEAR.

2019 WAS A GOOD YEAR FOR OPEN SPACE LAND ACQUISITION. THE 35 ACRE GALLO PROPERTY ON RIDGE ROAD WAS DONATED TO THE TOWNSHIP. THE 30 ACRE LORENZEN PROPERTY ON DREAHOOK ROAD WAS FINALLY CLOSED WITH OUR TRANSCO MONEY. THE 106 ACRE SAUMS PROPERTY ON ROCKAFELLOW MILLS ROAD IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONTRACT.

HUNTERDON COUNTY IS ALSO WORKING TOWARDS THE PURCHASE OF TWO BROKAW PROPERTIES ON ROCKAFELLOW MILLS ROAD, TOTALLING 29 ACRES. WE PARTNERED WITH THE COUNTY TO PURCHASE THE 14.6 DELANEY PROPERTY ON FOOTHILL ROAD AS A PART OF THE ROUND MOUNTAIN SECTION OF TOWN.

2019 SAW THE ADDITION OF SEVERAL NEW BUSINESSES. THE FARM OPENED UP AND NOW OFFERS SEVERAL AFFORDABLE HOUSING APARTMENTS AND CURRENTLY HAS A NAIL SALON AND BRIDAL DRESS SHOP. PROFETA COMPLETED THEIR NEW BUILDING AND HAS BEEN OPEN FOR BUSINESS. VERONA PURCHASED THE OLD WALMART BUILDING AND IS PREPARING FOR THEIR OPENING. QUICK CHEK IS CURRENTLY EXPANDING THEIR HEADQUARTERS. KAREN’S DOLL HOUSE STORE HAS OPENED. TWO NEW RESTAURANTS OPENED, STANTON ITALIAN TABLE AND CHEF’S TABLE AND THE BUILDER.

READINGTON TOWNSHIP IN 2019 IS ONE OF ONLY 53 COMMUNITIES IN THE STATE TO ACHIEVE SILVER STATUS IN THE SUSTAINABLE JERSEY PROGRAM. A PROGRAM EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES TO BUILD A BETTER WORLD FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

2020 BRINGS US THE START OF A NEW DECADE AND A NEW YEAR.

I HAVE BEEN ASKED ABOUT MY VISION AND MY GOALS AS MAYOR. I QUITE FRANKLY LIKE READINGTON TOWNSHIP EXACTLY THE WAY IT IS AND HAS BEEN FOR THE LAST 26 YEARS I HAVE LIVED HERE. I WAS NOT ABLE TO COME UP WITH ANY GRANDIOSE OR GLAMOROUS PROJECTS OR GOALS. THERE IS A LOT OF UNFINISHED WORK AND LONG TERM GOALS THAT I THINK THE TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE, BOTH PAST AND PRESENT, WOULD LIKE TO BRING TO CLOSURE. WE HAVE SPENT COUNTLESS HOURS AND TOO MUCH MONEY TO REACH THOSE DESIRED RESULTS.

WITH THE BEGINNING OF A NEW YEAR AND A NEW DECADE WE ARE REACHING OUT TO THE OWNERS OF SOLBERG AIRPORT TO BEGIN MEDIATION MEETINGS WITH THE HOPES OF ATTAINING AN AMICABLE AND MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL AGREEMENT WITH THE FAMILY MEMBERS.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING, WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON SINCE 1985. WE HAVE BEEN IN COMPLIANCE IN ROUND 1 AND ROUND 2. RECENTLY WE CAME TO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE FAIR SHARE HOUSING AUTHORITY. WE ARE CURRENTLY WAITING FOR OUR DAY IN COURT TO REACH FINAL APPROVAL OF OUR ROUND 3 OBLIGATIONS. NELSON STREET WILL BE OCCUPIED SOME TIME THIS YEAR. SEVERAL OTHER PROPERTIES ARE CURRENTLY UNDER VARYING STAGES OF NEGOTIATIONS TO HELP READINGTON MEET OUR AFFORDABLE HOUSING OBLIGATIONS.

THE TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE IS ALSO CONCERNED WITH OUR DEBT AND WE ARE ACTIVELY RESEARCHING WAYS TO REDUCE OUR OVERALL DEBT AND OUR DEBT SERVICE.

WE ANTICIPATE THE OPENING OF SEVERAL NEW BUSINESSES IN 2020. VERONA SHOULD BE HIRING UP TO 100 PEOPLE FOR ITS NEW BUSINESS. THE FARM IS ANTICIPATING NEW BUSINESSES FOR ITS PROPERTY. QUICK CHEK WILL BEGIN CONSTRUCTION OF ITS NEW CONVENIENCE STORE AND GAS STATION ON COUNTY LINE ROAD AND ROUTE 22. THE READINGTON HOP FARM IS ANTICIPATING OPENING ITS TASTING ROOM THIS YEAR. THE 388 REALTY PROPERTY ON ROUTE 22 WAS RECENTLY PURCHASED BY A NEW DEVELOPER AND WE ANTICIPATE SEEING PLANS FOR THAT PROJECT. WE ARE CURRENTLY MEETING WITH THE OWNERS OF THE GABLES AND THE WHITEHOUSE DINER ABOUT POTENTIAL IMPROVEMENTS AND ADDITIONS TO THAT PROPERTY.

THE TOWNSHIP IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON MODIFYING AND UPDATING OUR ORDINANACES. WE ARE WORKING ON A NEW TREE ORDINANCE, A REVISED SIGN ORDINANCE AND REVIEWING OUR ZONING ORDINANCES. ALL OF THIS IS BEING DONE TO CREATE A BETTER ENVIRONEMNT FOR POTENTIAL NEW BUSINESSES.

OUR COUNTY MANDATED TAX REVALUATION IS CURRENTLY UNDERWAY AND EACH BUSINESS AND RESIDENCE IN TOWN WILL BE REASSESSED TO MORE EQUALLY DISTRIBUTE THE TAX VALUES IN TOWN. THE TAX REVALUATION WILL CONTINUE INTO 2021.

OUR NEW NEIGHBOR UNICOM GLOBAL HAS BEEN QUIET, BUT THE TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE PLANS ON OPENING THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION TO DETERMINE IF WE CAN PARTNER WITH THEM TO HELP THEIR BUSINESS GROW.

I WOULD LIKE TO CLOSE BY STATING THAT THE TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE WANTS TO OPEN THIS NEW DECADE AND THE NEW YEAR BY HELPING TO CREATE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE RESIDENTS AND ALL THE VOLUNTEERS, PROFESSIONALS AND TEAMMATES THAT MAKE UP OUR MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT. WE WANT EVERYONE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE TOWNSHIP GOVERNMENT IS ATTEMPTING TO DO WITH ITS CURRENT MASTER PLANS AND NEW ORDINANCES. WE ARE YOUR NEIGHBORS AND YOUR FRIENDS, WE WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE READINGTON TOWNSHIP A LASTING PLACE FOR ALL OF US TO ENJOY. WE PAY THE SAME TAX BASE AS YOU DO, WE DRIVE THE SAME ROADS THAT YOU DO, OUR CHILDREN ATTENDED THE SAME SCHOOLS THAT YOUR KIDS DO. WE SHOP AT THE SAME STORES AND EAT AT THE SAME RESTAURANTS THAT YOU DO. WE WANT TO MAINTAIN THE SAME RURAL CHARACTER OF THE TOWN THAT BROUGHT ALL OF US HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

BUT, WE ARE BEING FORCED BY THE NJ SUPREME COURT AND THE INACTION OF NJ STATE LEGISLATORS TO COMMIT TO UNREALISTIC AFFORDABLE HOUSING OBLIGATIONS. TO MAKE UNWANTED CHANGES TO OUR TOWN. IT IS GOING TO HAVE A PROFOUND AFFECT ON OUR SCHOOLS, OUR TAXES, THE TRAFFIC ON OUR ROADS, MUNICIPAL SERVICES AND THE LOOK OF OUR TOWN. WE ARE ALL WORKING TO TRY TO MINIMIZE THE AFFECTS THAT AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS GOING TO HAVE ON OUR TOWN. WE HAVE A LIMITED BUDGET AND LIMITED TOOLS AVAILABLE TO US TO WORK WITH. BUT WE DO HAVE A PLAN.

WE WOULD LIKE TO BRING BACK THE TOWN HALL MEETINGS TO REACH OUT TO OUR NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS THAT MAY NOT BE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN OUR TOWN POLITICS AND ASK THEM TO BRING THEIR QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS TO US. WE ARE WORKING ON POTENTIAL SITES; POSSIBLY THREE BRIDGES WOULD BE THE FIRST STOP. IF THESE TOWN HALL MEETINGS ARE FRUITFUL AND WELL ATTENDED, WE WILL CONTINUE THE EFFORT.

THE TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE IS LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING THE TOWNS NEEDS AND ACHIEVING THE BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME FOR ALL OF US WHO LOVE READINGTON TOWNSHIP.
THANK YOU NEIGHBORS.


JONATHAN HELLER

Speech by Betty Anne Fort

Speech by Ben Smith

NEWSLETTERS

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September 2015

April 2015

Karin Parker, RMC
Municipal Clerk

Phone (908)534-4051
Fax (908)534-5909
Office Hours: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
509 Route 523
Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889