LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Democrats Chris Vancheri and Tanya Seber were sworn in as members of the Little Falls Township Council during a ceremony on Jan. 1 in town hall council chambers.
According to Mayor James Damiano, the swearing in marks the first time that the council is comprised of all Democrat members in the history of the Township.
A resident of the township since 2004, Vancheri was appointed to take over the council seat vacated by Damiano one year ago when he was elected mayor. Vancheri was granted the seat for the time remaining of the four-year term, out of two other candidates vying for the same seat. He won to keep his seat this past November after being challenged by former Republican Councilwoman Mercedes Gonzalez.
With his wife and two children beside him during the ceremony, Vancheri said his focus in 2018 is to continue to work with his fellow council members and Damiano to help the residents of the township.
"My role on the Passaic River Flood Advisory Board will remain the same," Vancheri said. "Along with the committee, we will continue to address with FEMA, our congressman, and others, the challenges our residents face and look to seek solutions to ensure the residents in the flood zone are satisfied."
Vancheri also said he will take over the Transportation Committee this year.
"I plan on working closely with the committee and Little Falls Police Department to address concern residents have from speeding to the heavy volume of traffic on our streets," he added. "Councilwoman Maria Cordonnier made great strides in 2017 with the committee and I'm looking forward to continuing the work that she started."
At the swearing in ceremony, Damiano announced a new program that will be unveiled in 2018 called "Listening to You, Working for You." The program is led by the mayor and council members to address any questions or concerns residents may have.
"Our goal of continued transparency and working with the residents of Little Falls is a prime focus in 2018," Vancheri further added. "I'm honored to have another year to serve as a member of the Township Council."
Newcomer Tanya Seber, a Little Falls resident of over 27 years, was also sworn in. Seber ran against Republican Marc Benitez, who was appointed as a Little Falls council member at the April 3, 2017 council meeting. Benitez filled an unexpired council seat vacated by Joseph Maceri, who stepped down in February 2017 due to personal reasons.
Surrounded by her husband and two daughters during the ceremony, Seber said her primary goals as a councilwoman are to keep taxes as low as possible, while investing in the township's infrastructure.
"I also plan to partner with Mayor Damiano and the Council to find new tax ratables that will help offset the loss of residences in flood prone areas, while balancing quality of life for all residents," she said. "Finally, I want to help expand our parks and recreation space by continuing to pursue grants - an effort that the governing body have already undertaken. With creativity and sound management, we can continue to invest in Little Falls while keeping taxes flat."
Damiano commented of the historic significance of the ceremony.
"Tonight was a historic evening in Little Falls, and it was my honor to be a part of the swearing in of Chris Vancheri and Tanya Seber," he said. "I am certain that both of them will be instrumental in making the vision for the future of Little Falls come to fruition. I am so proud of both of you and the work ethic that you have demonstrated over this past year."