CHATHAM TOWNSHIP, NJ - Nicole Hagner, fresh off an unopposed run for her third term on the Chatham Township Committee, was once again chosen to lead the township’s governing body at Thursday’s reorganization meeting.
Her runningmate, Robert Gallop, also was sworn in for a new term on the committee and was elected by his peers as deputy mayor.
In her mayoral address, Hagner thanked Kevin Tubbs for his support and hard work as deputy mayor during 2010.
Among the accomplishments of the township last year, the mayor cited completion of the Southern Boulevard Firehouse, and obtaining both a $25,000 Walmart Sustainable Jersey Grant that is being used to establish composting programs in Chatham’s schools as well as a $1.8 million county grant that will be used by the township to purchase properties for open space.
Despite a 22% decrease in state aid last year, Hagner said, Township Business Administrator Thomas E. Ciccarone managed to produce a municipal budget that enabled the community to absorb costs without an undue burden on taxpayers.
A number of shared services agreements, including one for a municipal court system with Chatham Borough, Madison and Harding Township, will save about $250,000, she added.
Challenged to improve services while trying to keep a lid on taxes, the mayor noted, Chatham Township instituted a five-year road improvement plan and joined with Chatham Borough and the Chatham Athletic Foundation to finance work on a $2 million renovation of Shunpike Field that will result in a new turf field, improvements to other fields and new lighting.
She said during her third term she will continue to push for the township’s government and advisory boards to be more resident-friendly and called upon all residents to become more involved in their community.
The evening’s festivities also saw the swearing in of new police sergeants, Maureen Kazaba and Robert Sheetz, and newly appointed Public Works Director John Pacelli.
The only disagreement on the committee came when Committee Member Bailey Brower, Jr. objected to the reappointment of VM Associates, Inc. as township auditor.
Brower said it was good business practice to appoint a new auditing firm every six or seven years “just to get a fresh set of eyes” on township fiscal practices.
He noted, to the township’s credit, $100,000 in stock had been found last year in an account the township did not know existed, but that the discovery should have been made sooner.
The auditor was the one who found the stock, the mayor said, and had done a good job, which was a good reason to retain the firm.
Tubbs added even though the township had used the same auditing firm over a number of years several different auditors actually had worked on the township’s books.
Among officials appointed and reappointed at Thursday’s session were: Township Attorney Carl R. Woodward, Engineer John R. Ruschke, Tax Assessor Glen Sherman, Recreation Director Brian McNany and Building Inspector Kevin Kelly.
The following were named to the governing body’s standing committees:
Public Safety and Emergency—Hagner and Gallop
General Administration, Finance and Personnel—Hagner and Gallop
Parks and Recreation---Tubbs and Committee Member William O’Connor
Public Works—Brower and Tubbs
Land Use (Planning Board)-Brower and Hagner
Chosen for various township advisory boards were:
Planning Board—Hagner, Ciccarone, Brower and Tom Franko
Zoning Board of Adjustment—Anthony Vivona, Karl Schmidt and Lauren Visco Rigal (Alternate #1)
Environmental Commission—Tubbs, Kathy Abbott, Frank Esposito, Shamkar Krishnan, Don Travisano (Alternate #1), and Subashree Rajagopd (Alternate #2)
Board of Health—Brower, James Brown, and John Nachgal
Joint Library Trustee—O’Connor
Colony Pool Advisory Committee—O’Connor and George Foot
Joint Recreation Advisory Committee—Tubbs, Mark Devlin, and Jeff Fritts (Alternate)
Open Space Advisory Committee—O’Connor, Susan Rigal, Dana McClintock, Sarah Fecthner, and Joe Basralian.