Mayor’s Reorganization Address
Posted: January 3, 2019
Mayor Jim Loveys addressed attendees at Randolph’s January 3, 2019 reorganization meeting. The following is the text of his speech.
I’d like to thank all of you for attending tonight’s reorganization meeting and I wish everyone a belated safe, healthy and happy new year. It was felt this slight deviation from the past several year practice of a New Year’s Day meeting would provide the opportunity for attendees to spend New Year’s with family and friends without conflict.
Special thanks to my wife Karen and my daughter Abby for being here and sharing this night with me. Our daughters Chelsea and Anna, and our son James, are unable to attend, but I know they are with us in spirit. A commitment to public service places demands on family life and, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your continued support and understanding.
I congratulate my running mates on their victories in this past year’s election, Councilwoman Marie Potter, Councilman Lou Nisivoccia and outgoing Mayor Mark Forstenhausler. I look forward to working with each of you during these next four years. Councilman Forstenhausler, again I thank you for the leadership you provided this past year. It was a privilege to have served as your deputy. And I congratulate Deputy Mayor Carey on her nomination and selection. I’d also like to thank Al Napoliello and Mike Guadagno, who have just finished multiple terms as council members, 16 years and 8 years respectively. You both will be truly missed.
It’s difficult to express how honored I feel to serve this community as its mayor and I thank all of my council colleagues for their much appreciated support. I love this town in which my wife and I chose to live and raise our family 27 years ago and thank the many volunteers, past and present township council members, past and present township staff, and our public safety and emergency response personnel who have worked so hard to make Randolph such a great place to live.
One of the council’s first tasks will be the review and adoption of the 2019 municipal budget and capital improvement plan which is our guiding policy document for this and future years. As always, the goal is to adopt a financial plan which meets both the short and long term needs of the community while minimizing tax impacts and maintaining fiscally prudent reserves. Due to several years of responsible fiscal planning, and the diligent efforts of our township manager and staff, the tax levy for the municipal portion of our tax bill has not increased for the past two years. Three budget meetings are planned—January 26, 8:30 a.m., February, 7 at 5 p.m., and February 9 at 8:30 a.m. All will be held here at the municipal building, are open to the public, and your input is always welcomed.
There are many ongoing and new initiatives slated for 2019. Working with our township manager and staff, the following is some of what this council plans to accomplish:
- Working with our economic development committee to complete a new economic development website including an updated community profile, videos marketing the community, and targeted data emphasizing Randolph’s qualities for those looking to locate/re-locate their business.
- The timely completion of our new Veterans Community Park, currently under construction, located on Calais Road.
- Existing park improvements—replacement of the basketball courts, improving the ingress/egress and overflow parking at Freedom Park, new field lighting at Brundage Park, and the completion of a new septic field at Heistein Park.
- Awarding a contract and beginning site improvements at the Bennett Ave. property where Habitat for Humanity plans to construct 25 affordable housing units.
- Completing the water main replacement, installing the sewer pump station, and beginning road improvements on Meadowbrook Road; completing the sewer pump station at CCM; and the Woodlawn Terr.-Schuman Rd. sewer extension. The completion of sewer improvements in the Mt. Freedom area, together with the adoption of two ordinances to be introduced early this year which support the approved Mt. Freedom Planning Study Update, helps set the stage for future development/redevelopment in the area known as the Village Center.
- Working with the County of Morris on the replacement of the bridge on Combs Hollow Road leading into Mendham Twp.; the overlay of Dover Chester Road south of the intersection with Sussex Turnpike; and the overlay of a portion of Quaker Church Road.
I thought I might try to give you a much abbreviated version of, and perhaps shed some light on, our state’s affordable housing situation and where Randolph finds itself as a result. The New Jersey Supreme Court’s interpretation of our state’s constitution in the mid 1970s required municipalities to use their zoning powers to provide realistic opportunities for producing affordable housing to low and moderate income households. In 1985, our state legislature enacted the Fair Housing Act which created the Council on Affordable Housing, or COAH, to assess the statewide need, allocate that need on a municipal basis, and review and approve towns’ housing plans developed to address their fair share obligations. From 1999-2015, COAH failed to establish quota numbers and guidelines for municipalities. Therefore, in 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered our state courts to assume responsibility. In essence, towns were forced to determine their own affordable housing obligations and could file their housing plans with the court, for final determination. This is essentially where our town stands today. Randolph continues to work with its legal, planning, and land use experts as matters continue to be reviewed by the court. Undoubtedly, our community will be faced with more residential development to help satisfy our affordable housing obligations in the future. As things continue to unfold we will be working to keep our residents informed of potential impacts on our community.
As mayor, I will serve on a work group comprised of township, board of education, and school administration representatives. Over the years, the township and the board of education have shared services and facilities, and continue to look for ways to increase efficiencies to better serve our residents, the most recent example of which is the replacement of a water main at Shongum School saving significant taxpayer dollars. We value our relationship with the school administration and the board, and the quarterly meetings provide an opportunity for discussion as well as working to identify and resolve any issues that may arise.
I continue to be thankful and appreciative for the opportunity to serve my community and all of our residents. I look forward to working with my fellow colleagues, our township manager, and township staff in 2019, all of whom I admire and respect, and will continue to be guided in my decision making by what is in the best interest of Randolph Township.
Thank you, and again, have a safe, happy, and healthy new year.
Mayor Jim Loveys
January 3, 2019