HOPATCONG, NJ – Richard Hoer took his place on the Borough Council at its reorganization on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
Hoer replaces Howard Baker, who didn’t run for re-election after serving an unexpired term for the late Bob Modick in 2009 and then running for one term of his own.
Sworn in along with Hoer was Councilman Michael Francis, who was re-elected in November.
John Young was elected council president by his peers.
Most mayor and council appointments were reappointments, but new officers were sworn in for the borough fire department. Tom Brown takes over as chief from Wade Crowley. The other new officers are Steve Kucevic, first assistant chief; John Wilkerson, second assistant chief; Richard Cook, fire marshal, and Franklin Steinberg, deputy fire marshal.
Other new appointees sworn in were Joel Servoss as alternate 2 for the environmental commission and Justin LIjo as alternate 4 for the land use board.
Major Connie Janowski, USA Nursing Corps Ret., agreed to another term on the senior advisory committee and was sworn in. New members of that committee are Ida Brown and Joanne Curtin.
Rita Russomanno, captain of the ambulance squad, is a new member of the emergency management council.
Mayor Sylvia Petillo read prepared remarks about the highlights of 2013 in the borough. Many were the result of seeing the need for improvement in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Meetings led to a better relationship with representatives of the various public utility companies. In addition, the borough was named a Regional Emergency Location and received emergency supplies from Sussex County.
Hopatcong CERt also purchased an Emergency Personnel Sheltering Trailer with a donation from Burlington Labs in Vermont. Petillo explained two entertainers came to Hopatcong High School while it was being used as an emergency shelter and one works for a subsidiary of Burlington Labs. He told his employers what he saw in the borough “and they gave us $14,000 toward a trailer,” Petillo said.
She also cited the generosity of the Mount Arlington Elks in funding Eli, the police department drug dog.
Grant funding came to the borough in 2013 and was used for road repairs, the rehabilitation of the senior center, Hopatchung Avenue streetscape completion and work at the softball field at Veterans Park. In addition, the borough received $50,000 from the US Department of Agriculture to issue low-interest loans to homeowners who needed help bringing various aspects of their homes up to code.
Petillo also talked about the special events held throughout the year, including the Christmas Tree Lighting on a snowy night. “We were concened that no one would brave the weather and come out to join us. Suddenly, we saw . . . a caravan of cub scouts.”
She also cited Hopatcong Days and two young athletes honored by the borough, Dylan Capwell and Kimberly Platt.