Mayor’s Reorganization Address
Posted: January 7, 2021
Happy New Year everyone, and thank you so much for taking the time to attend our reorganization meeting via Zoom.
I especially thank my wife Susan, daughter Lauren, and mother-in-law Inge for supporting me as I continue to serve Randolph Township. Without the support of my family, I could not volunteer the time necessary to serve this fine community.
I am honored and grateful that my colleagues on the council have again selected me to serve as mayor. I will do my best to serve our township, and will always look for ways to improve our excellent quality of life.
Congratulations to Deputy Mayor Marie Potter. I look forward to working with you. Your fresh perspectives and extraordinary organizational skills will certainly help us to move Randolph forward.
Our manager Steve Mountain did an excellent job during a most unusual year, and it was clear that sound fiscal planning allowed us to function much better than many other government organizations. In fact, we were one of the few municipalities able to extend tax collection deadlines to assist our residents when they faced cash-flow issues due to the pandemic. You and your staff did a great job successfully keeping Randolph running well.
Our township clerk, Donna Luciani had another successful year, made much more challenging due to both COVID-19 and the unprecedented elections using mainly mail-in ballots. But she was up to the task, and did a great job.
As a member of our volunteer fire department for 25 years, I can tell you that you will never find a group of more dedicated volunteers who literally risk their own lives to protect others. The past year has been tough on the front lines for all first responders, but the safety protocols established by our chiefs kept the department functioning, and we were able to respond to all of our residents’ calls for assistance. They, as well as our EMS volunteers and police, have earned and deserve our profound thanks.
For the past 6 months, Marie Potter, Lance Tkacs and I have served on the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, also known as DISC. Along with members from the board of education and the Morris County Human Relations Committee, we have spent countless hours gathering information, reading, studying and discussing ways that we can eliminate bias, improve our relations with others, and celebrate our diversity. While we continue to invest the time necessary to work on our report and make recommendations, I am very pleased that this council will pass a resolution this evening recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as well as Black History Month. We must all learn from one another, and try to show and teach how to live together in peace and acceptance.
As we enter into another unpredictable winter season, think about steps that you can do to help get through the season better;
- Please sign up for reverse 911, using your cell phone number, so that you can continue to receive important messages.
- Make sure that your cell phones, and all devices, are fully charged at all times.
- Check on your neighbors who may be in need of assistance.
- And consider an emergency generator, making sure to install and operate it in a safe manner.
I will continue to work with other mayors and elected officials to push JCP&L and Public Service to make the needed improvements in our electrical grid to limit future power outages, and to press them to cut down more trees that impact our overhead wires.
In addition to working closely with our deputy mayor and council, I will serve as liaison to the board of education and the EDC.
I will also be the media communications liaison, and will continue to serve on several sub-committees, including emergency management, ordinances, and infrastructure.
I look forward to working on our budget for 2021; will do my best to minimize any tax increase, and to be a good steward of our tax dollars. For the past four years we did not increase the municipal tax levy at all, so after a very difficult 2020, our work is cut out for us.
We have many plans for 2021 including;
- Working with county and state health departments to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Any form of bigotry, hatred, or racism has no place in Randolph, so we are looking forward to seeing the final DISC report and recommendations.
- Equipping our police department with both tasers and body cameras.
- We will continue to work with Fair Share Housing, the State of New Jersey, and the courts to implement our mandated affordable housing plan.
- For many years we have been working with the NJ State DOT to improve the intersections on Route 10. We did see some success with the improved signaling at Dover Chester Road, and the eastbound turn lane extension at Center Grove Road. We plan to work closely with State Senator Anthony Bucco, and will continue to keep our concerns in front of the DOT. We already have more meetings planned for January.
- The program to replace deteriorating retaining walls in town will continue.
- Veterans Community Park will see more improvements, and once the great lawn fills in, we expect to attend many outdoor events and concerts there.
- Our new cannabis sub-committee will work to understand the new state legislation, once it is finally passed, and seek input to help us make necessary decisions early this year.
- The recycling and sustainability sub-committee will work with our residents to seek new and innovative ways to keep our community cleaner.
I have a very positive outlook for 2021, and will enjoy working with this council, township workers and all of our community volunteers to continue to keep Randolph a most desirable place to live, work and enjoy life.
Mayor Mark Forstenhausler
January 7, 2021