CLARK, NJ – Four incumbent Councilmen were sworn in at the annual Township of Clark reorganization meeting at noon on the first day of 2019. Prior to swearing in the Council members, Mayor Sal Bonaccorso thanked the voters of Clark for reelecting the team. "Thanks to the voters of Clark for making undoubtedly the right choice again this November," said Bonaccorso before proceeding.
Steve Hund, Frank Mazzarella, Pat O'Connor and Brian Toal were then sworn in before the regular order of business for the meeting could begin. Shortly after, Councilman Brian Toal was elected as Council President for the year and Councilman Pat O'Connor was elected as Vice-President.
In his “State of the Township” address, Bonaccorso spoke about the strength of the Township's Administrative team. "It is because of our ability to work together..., that has enabled this administration to work successfully not only on the local level but with members of the county and state as well," said Bonaccorso.
Together, he said they have worked to provide safety and service while keeping an eye toward the future. "When you build a strong safe stable and happy community with top notch schools, property values go up and the township becomes more desirable from singles right up to our seniors, we all benefit inevitability."
As he continued his speech Bonaccorso talked about the upcoming growth in Clark such as the L’Oréal Research and Development Center, the future apartment complex on Walnut Avenue and another on Westfield Avenue to be combined with retail space below, starting what Bonaccorso envisions to be the seeds needed to build the much needed foot traffic to develop a downtown area in Clark.
Bonaccorso also pledged to continue to work with other Union County mayors on a variety of topics including affordable housing. He thanked the volunteers that work on the Clark Planning Board for their endless hours and dedication this year especially in light of the affordable housing plan that he described as a situation where "we held our noses and voted and signed the agreement with affordable housing, ultimately we had to continue to protect Clark."
Bonaccorso said he and the UC mayors are working together to reach out to legislators to develop some type of COAH agency within the NJ legislator and get the decisions related to affordable housing out of the hands of the court. Bonaccorso said he blames Trenton for the current state of affairs.
Recreational Marijuana may become legal in the state of NJ some day soon. In response Bonaccorso expressed his opinion that Clark is not ready at this time for anything related to the industry in town. He said he has asked the town's attorney to draft an ordinance prohibiting the growth, processing or sale of recreational marijuana in the town and is calling to the Town Council to pass it as soon as marijuana becomes legal in NJ.
On a more somber note, Bonaccorso paused to recognize the multiple tragedies the town suffered this year in losing members of the Clark community. He shared that the bright spot in all those hard times is seeing how the community comes together. "...when these tragedies happen I see a family coming together to support the people that are in need, the Clark family which is all of us, every citizen in this town, you are the most wonderful people in the world...I cannot be more proud of this community to see how we are there for each other...it's heartwarming," said Bonaccorso.
Throughout his address Bonaccorso managed to thank many community organizations, volunteer groups, senior citizens, Clark Township Municipal leaders, their departments and all their employees and support personnel, the citizens of the town and of course his own family. He expressed it was his honor to be in his position and that he believed there is no place better to live than the town of Clark. He closed assuring all that the township is ready for 2019.
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