MILLBURN, NJ –Family and friends filled township chambers on Tuesday, May 2, for the swearing in of Jeff Cort Sr. as Battalion Fire Chief and Felix Reyes as Fire Captain.

Cort has been with the department for 23 years and lives in Maplewood with his wife, Elizabeth, and two sons. Reyes was born in Cuba, attended St. Johns University and was an analyst with Morgan Stanley. He lives in Clark with his wife, Jennifer and family.

Vicky Powell of the Downtown Millburn Development Association presented the DMDA budget, which passed with a 5-0 approval vote. Powell said there would be no increase in the budget and that there had only been two requests for increased funds in the last 19 years. She indicated that traditional events, such as the Snowflake Parade, are being expanded and new events are also in the works. A Millburn app can be downloaded as well as access to social media to promote activities in the retail district. 

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Committee member Robert Tillotson described an ordinance to establish a CAP Bank in relation to the municipal budget appropriation. “This is not increasing spending,” he said, “but is there in the case of an unforeseen problem.” He explained that the township is allowed to create a cap of 2% for use the following year. The budget will have a 1.8% increase this year, but the CAP allows flexibility. “We won’t need to make unnecessary cuts,” he said.  Tillotson also emphasized, “We’re talking about spending, not about taxing.” He assured residents that the CAP is akin to an insurance policy that the town would utilize if needed. 

Mayor Cheryl Burstein opened the meeting for comments but noted that this is a business meeting and there should be no heckling or applause and to show respect for committee members. 

One resident asked about the plaza and road at Town Hall, which Tillotson said is “a point of contention.” Work is being done at several intersections in the downtown, removing old traffic lights, installing electrical wiring and connections for street and traffic lights, according to Township Administrator Alexander McDonald. Some residents raised questions about outdoor dining, which requires a café license, sidewalk space and protection from traffic. “A lot of issues are not resolved,” committee member Diane Eglow said. 

The next meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, in Town Hall.