~ 2022 Mayor’s Reorganization Speech ~
Our residents, township officials, departments and staff, professionals as well as volunteers, have much to be proud of now and for the future.
As your Mayor in 2022, I serve as one of five Township Committee members. Collectively, we will work on the challenges that face our Township. Together with our township departments and committees we have the skills, experience, relationships and will to prevail, whether we are confronted with ongoing medical challenges, economic events or storms affecting our township and residents.
Readington is a special place with strong traditions. My chief goal is to preserve our quality of life and work to ensure that it continues to improve for our children and families.
We plan to encourage and promote our local businesses. We fully support community participation in local government. Our focus remains on reducing our long-term debt each year. We will continue to use our annual budget to purchase items whenever possible.
As the Chair of our Open Space Advisory Board I have focused on protection of our environment and can report we have successfully preserved over 325 acres of land in the past four years, with full reimbursement from both the County and State Green Acres program. I plan to work with our partners at the County and State and non-profits such as the Hunterdon Land Trust and Raritan Headwaters to continue such efforts.
To protect the environment, my intent is to preserve our natural habitat, our forests, our meadows, our streams. The goal is to protect 500 – 750 additional acres in the next five years, assuming funding continues to be available.
To protect our farmland, my goal is to continue to preserve farms when presented with the opportunity by local families or landowners.
To protect our streams and watersheds, my goal is to attain DEP category 1 status, a higher water quality standard for our streams and watersheds.
In the past four years we have continued to expand our trail System, adding new trailheads and trails and providing our residents with more recreational opportunities. In 2022 there will be park upgrades and an effort to plant trees and manage meadows in a sustainable manner. We are in the first year of a partnership with RVCC to jointly design an ongoing stewardship program.
These goals will require cooperation with County, State and non-profit organizations. I am highlighting these goals first as we face not only medical pressures, but development pressures and unwanted State mandates. I am sure many of you have observed the sprawl and build-out in neighboring townships. We need to continue the smart development that has made Readington a more desirable place to raise a family.
Another goal is to protect our residents on the roads. We have worked to improve the road repair process, so we have a more comprehensive and long-term approach to our efforts. In the past two years we have worked to stop several unwanted road projects, the replacement of a historic bridge on Mill Road and a roundabout at the intersection of CR523 and Pleasant Run Road. We expect further traffic safety improvements on both CR523 and State Highway 22 in the coming years.
To summarize, we plan to support local businesses, improve traffic safety, and manage our development and preserve our semi-rural environment and quality of life.
In 2022, our Sustainable Jersey Silver award, received in 2018, needs to be renewed. This is an opportunity that many of our township departments and committees can and will contribute to reaffirming. Silver is the highest-level award and only attained by 50 towns in NJ.
We will work diligently to accomplish these goals and I encourage our residents to volunteer and actively contribute their skills and time. Please contact me and my fellow committee members to learn more about how to participate. Last, I will close by giving thanks to our police, fire, emergency teams for their efforts, and their dedication in face of the medical challenges we have faced since early 2020.