MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Since being unable to attend the borough’s reorganization meeting on Jan. 2, Mayor Mirabelli gave his annual address at the regular Jan. 16 council meeting.

In his remarks, Mirabelli stated that Mountainside is “a great community” based on volunteerism. The Fire Department and Emergency Squad consist entirely of volunteers.  Both organizations have been able to increase their ranks. They are thriving because of new members and current leadership; however, more members for both the Fire Department and Emergency Squad are needed.

Mirabelli also commended other borough organizations that are based on volunteer participation. He noted that last year that two scouts achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. The borough has 15 Eagle Scouts which is remarkable for a small community, he said. He asked residents to support both the Girl and Boy Scout organizations.

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Additionally Mirabelli commended the borough’s Police Department for being on the frontline and keeping the community safe.

Mirabelli stated that the borough is “in full swing” with its affordable housing mandate. He thanked the council members, borough attorney and administration for achieving a requirement of only six affordable units per acre, while some neighboring municipalities have much higher density affordable housing requirements.

Mirabelli noted that the Barnes Track developer will be working closely with the borough. The development, which will consist of affordable housing as well as market priced housing units, will fit “the character of the town.” The commercial aspect of the development has already been omitted. The proximity of the development to the town pool will enhance the value of the site. The borough is also planning to extend the trail to the pool providing a safe route, especially for children. Moreover, the borough is planning a townwide traffic study. A comprehensive study should also involve neighboring towns and the county, he added.

The borough is thriving and it is “fiscally sound,” Mirabelli stated. The borough is taking advantage of available grants and shared service agreements in order to save money. He noted that New Jersey Monthly rated Mountainside the 12th best place to live in New Jersey.

Mirabelli said that his only concern is not seeing enough residents to step up and volunteer. The same people keep volunteering, but “we need an influx of new residents” to join in. He noted that ‘Beautiful Mountainside’ has members of all ages. He encouraged residents to come forward and volunteer.

On a positive note Mirabelli pointed out that residents are coming to borough meetings to express their opinions. “We do listen,” he said. “We strive to make decisions that are right for Mountainside,” he concluded.