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Mayor’s Reorganization Address

Posted: January 2, 2013

Mayor Tom MacArthur addressed attendees at Randolph’s January 1, 2013 reorganization meeting. The following is the text of his speech.

I feel very honored to serve as mayor of Randolph, where I’ve raised my family. I want to thank the council for their support; it means a lot to me. The new year is a good time to consider the blessings of the past and our hopes for the future. I want to start by thanking the people who have worked hard to make Randolph such a great place to live. We’ve had special gatherings to thank our staff and volunteers, especially for their exemplary service after Sandy ravaged NJ. We fared better than many communities, but Randolph did not escape without great loss to dear people and my heart still goes out to those affected. I want to repeat today how inspired I have been to see the selfless and effective service of so many people in the aftermath of the storm.

I want to thank Mike Guadagno for his service as mayor in 2012. I learned much from him and respect his dedication and knowledge. I also want to thank Trina Mitsch and Mike Obremski, who have just finished multiple terms as council members. They will both be truly missed.

I’ve been making new year’s resolutions my whole life, ever since my mother started me in this practice as a young boy. Over the next few months the township council will also make our resolutions. We will consider many issues and objectives for the year, culminating with the budget. I would like to mention just two issues as we begin—Highlands and housing.

Highlands
The NJ Highlands Act is something you’ll hear more about in Randolph. It was enacted in 2004 to limit development across northern NJ. The goal was to protect drinking water for about 5 million NJ residents and the act has been controversial because of its impact on private property.

Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” The township council has some discretion over how much of Randolph to include in the Highlands Plan. On January 17, 2013, the Highlands Commission is expected to approve Randolph’s proposal for participation in the Highlands Plan. When this is done, we will have taken the fork! The township will then revise its master plan and zoning ordinances accordingly. The Randolph plan calls for three designated growth centers along Sussex Turnpike, South Salem Street and Route 10. Participation in Highlands will give us the ability to encourage development where it’s beneficial and resist overdevelopment elsewhere.

Housing
My other hope for the new year has to do with housing. I believe the bonds of community are made stronger with diversity and one of my hopes is that we can help residents remain in Randolph during many phases of life.

There are four pending residential projects in Randolph that demonstrate cooperation between the private sector and government. Two commercial projects are for seniors—one for age-restricted townhouses and the other using an assisted living model. A third project is for any age, but designed to appeal to older residents. The fourth project is in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and will result in 26 lower income homes built on land donated by the town in the designated growth center at South Salem Street. We hope it will help revitalize this part of town.

In each of these projects, the township is fostering action by amending zoning ordinances if appropriate, by providing planning support to ensure the projects fit the character of Randolph, by bringing various stakeholders together to work out differences, and in the Habitat project, by directly providing the land as well as financial, engineering and planning support. All four projects demonstrate the power of the public sector helping, rather than taking over from, the private sector.

Finally, I want to express my sincere hope and prayer that each of our residents enjoys a happy, healthy and safe new year.

Mayor Tom MacArthur
January 1, 2013