Message from the Mayor
Posted: December 23, 2020
As 2020 comes to a close, it’s a time for reflection. I am very proud to have served as mayor of Randolph Township this year. It has certainly been a year like no other; one that we will never forget. Beginning in March, the COVID-19 pandemic brought significant changes throughout the world and in our own community. Schools and businesses closed and public health experts formulated guidelines and recommendations as they learned more about the novel coronavirus. For the first time, many of us learned phrases like “social distancing” and “flattening the curve.” We heard about the many sacrifices made by essential workers and healthcare professionals. During the year many Randolph residents contracted the novel coronavirus, some had mild symptoms, some experienced severe symptoms and had to be hospitalized and some sadly passed away due to COVID-19 infection. The pandemic affected us all in one way or another.
Despite the challenges, Randolph Township staff worked hard and continued to deliver all essential municipal services to residents throughout the pandemic. Although we had to close and/or limit access to township buildings, we were able to offer alternative ways to conduct business. Council meetings were conducted virtually. Our public health nurses worked overtime conducting contact tracing and counselling residents. The township began issuing daily communications to keep residents updated about the pandemic and its impact on Randolph. These daily updates continue today—for almost 300 consecutive days. All of us learned to adjust to the “new normal.”
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the township council, working with the township manager and staff, was able to accomplish a great deal this year. Some key highlights from 2020 include:
- Adopting a fiscally responsible budget that balanced the short- and long-term needs of the community, maintained current services and included no increase in the municipal tax levy for the fourth consecutive year. No increase in municipal taxes is good news for everyone.
- Creating the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, in collaboration with the Randolph Board of Education and the Morris County Council on Human Relations, to assess the causes and impact of bias-related incidents in Randolph and to make recommendations for programs to address bias in our community. The findings from this committee will be reported to the council and will be used to guide development of new initiatives. We want all Randolph residents to feel welcome and respected.
- Being recognized by Safewise as the 33rd safest community in the United States, a reflection of our commitment to making the safety of all residents a top priority.
- Opening Veterans Community Park, a wonderful addition to our community. The beautiful park includes, among other features, a community garden, an outdoor stage area with event lawn seating, pickle ball courts and a quarter mile lit track for walking, running and biking. Funding for the park came from the Open Space and Recreation Trust Fund, so there was no new tax impact on residents.
- Advancing our collaboration with Morris Habitat for Humanity to build 25 affordable homes in Randolph on the former EA Porter site on Bennett Avenue.
- Making significant progress towards an overall settlement of the township’s affordable housing plan after reaching agreements with two developers.
- Welcoming several new businesses to Randolph, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, developing a New Business Welcome packet to assist businesses interested in starting up, expanding, or relocating in Randolph Township and initiating a Shop Local campaign to bring attention to the many locally-owned businesses in our community.
- Installing a new cell tower on the municipal property on Millbrook Avenue to expand and improve cell phone coverage in Randolph.
- Conducting a major debris cleanup after Tropical Storm Isaias swept through Randolph in August.
- Continuing to make improvements and upgrades to township infrastructure including completing several water and sewer projects, beginning the updating of the sewer system master plan, paving and improving roads, and maintaining detention basins and related stormwater infrastructure.
- Raising awareness about NJ211 as a resource for residents in need of health and human services, and educating staff and township leaders about NJ211 so they could share information with the public they serve who may need these services.
- Working with the state Department of Transportation to improve the safety of the Route 10 corridor with the extension of the left turn lane at the Route 10/Center Grove intersection.
I would like to thank Randolph residents for their support during this challenging year. It was truly an honor and a privilege to serve as mayor of Randolph in 2020. As the year comes to a close, I ask all residents to continue to follow public health guidelines designed to help keep us safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, we will get back to “normal” in 2021.
May the New Year bring you good health and much happiness.
Mayor Chris Carey