FROM THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
Eric F. Wilsusen
Happy Fall to all our Jefferson residents! Enjoy all the beautiful scenery our community has to offer.
I hate to start with COVID in my Mayor's Message, we are all tired of it at this point, but it is unfortunately still with us. In May, I stopped issuing the weekly COVID RAVE notifications; the weekly reports and now weekly case graphs are still posted on our COVID 19 Resource page. While our numbers have not been what they were a year ago, we still see positive cases, so please continue to be vigilant when gathering, especially indoors.
Our Spring newsletter was a big hit, and we received lots of positive feedback. Thank you to our social media/web coordinator Aimee Hannon for putting it all together; Aimee did a great job! We plan to continue a Spring and Fall edition each year. This coincides with my commitment to better communicate with the community and to be transparent as possible
For the second year, working with our Township Council, we adopted our 2021 budget earlier than most municipalities. Once again, we were able to take bids and awards early on our road improvement projects, and we were able to take advantage of some cost savings. This allowed us to complete a few more projects this year. I am happy to report that we completed all our major road projects by the end of August once again. Before my taking office, approximately 700K in road improvements was budgeted. This year the budget was 1.9 million with no major impact on the municipal tax and aligned with our ongoing 10-year strategic plan. NJ Natural Gas is finishing up the gas main installation on Edison Road so the County can pave Edison Road & Espanong Road. The purpose of this extension is to provide natural gas to more areas of Lake Hopatcong at some point. Stay tuned!
Our police addition is progressing nicely. This new space will finally give our 37 officers the locker room space they deserve, including a female locker space. If you saw the area they currently occupy, which only accommodates 23, you wouldn't believe they all fit! This project was at least 25 years in the making. It will also provide adequate evidence storage, a proper arrestee processing area, and a muster and conference room area. We hope to have it completed by winter.
I have to mention and plead with our residents and motorist. Please drive safely. Speeding in residential areas is always a problem and hard to solve and the biggest complaint our police receive. Please pay attention to posted speed limits. It is 25 mph unless otherwise posted. This is our community. We can all do our part to pay attention when driving to make this a safer community.
Our newly formed trails committee is working hard on some new trails for our residents to take advantage of. A million-dollar private donation was pledged to create new trails and improve some of what exists. This is in alignment with the Economic Development Committee I formed, which recommended focusing on eco-tourism to make Jefferson a destination for walkers, hikers & bikers with the hope that they will patronize our existing businesses after all that exercise! More to come, I will be sure to share any future plans.
Enjoy the beautiful fall colors!