BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Mayor Matthew Moench has issued an emergency declaration in response to the coronavirus, which will outline proactive steps the township is taking to help slow the spread of the virus in town.
"Bridgewater needs to make sure that it is doing its part in slowing the impact of the COVID-19 virus and keeping its residents safe," he said in a release. "The steps we are taking today will reduce the footprint of our municipal government and make sure that we are setting an example for conduct."
Moench said he would like to thank police, volunteer emergency responders and the dedicated public health workers everywhere who are working around the clock to ensure that residents stay healthy.
"Bridgewater, with the rest of the world, is in new territory and our public officials are working hard to make the right decision at the right time," he said in the release. "I would like to thank our residents for staying calm and patient during this unprecedented time."
The township has put a number of measures into place through the emergency declaration:
- The municipal offices will operate on a staff-only basis, and will be closed to the public.
- The Department of Finance will waive the township's online payment fee for e-check payment of property taxes until April 30. This applies to fees assessed by the township only.
- All building inspections under the jurisdiction of the Department of Municipal Services will be limited to exterior inspections, vacant building inspections, inspections for properties currently under construction and inspections for pending or anticipated real estate transactions, all of which will be conducted under the discretion of the director of municipal services or his designee.
- All health inspections will be limited to registered complaints pursuant to the health officer's statutory and regulatory authority.
- The regular meeting of the Bridgewater Township Council scheduled for March 30 will be held as scheduled, subject to further consultation and coordination with council president Howard Norgalis. The agenda session scheduled for March 27 will be canceled.
- The meetings of all other boards, committees and commissions of the township, including zoning board scheduled for March 17 and planning board scheduled for March 24, will be canceled through March 31.
- Parks and recreational facilities under the control of Bridgewater Township Parks Department will operate as normal, but be restricted to groups of 10 individuals congregating jointly. The exception to this is Kids Street Park, which, because of the equipment, will be closed indefinitely.
- All programs sponsored by the Bridgewater Township Division of Recreation will be canceled through March 31. Any resident registered for a program affected by the cancellation can submit a request for a refund to the Division of Recreation to have their participation fee refunded.
- Spring recreation programs (programs beginning on April 1 or after) will be evaluated in the coming weeks with updates provided as information becomes available.
- The Bridgewater Senior Center will be closed until March 31.
- The municipal court of the township will not hold any sessions until April 7.
- Bridgewater Township will move to an email-only response system for records requested under the Open Public Records Act, and temporarily suspend the physical copy of records until March 31.