ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury Councilman Bob DeFillippo was chosen by his colleagues on Thursday to remain mayor for another year, with Roxbury Councilman Fred Hall continuing to serve as deputy mayor.
The unanimous vote took place at the Roxbury Mayor and Council’s annual reorganization meeting, a gathering that also saw the swearing-in of a newcomer on the panel, Thomas Carey, who won election in November to represent Ward 4.
The council also named Kyle Hoffman as chief of the Roxbury Fire Department and approved the appointments of Robert Hackett as first assistant chief, Michael McColligan as second assistant chief and Gerard Filipow as third assistant chief.
Anthony Bucco was re-appointed as the township counsel, Douglas Cabana retained his position as township prosecutor and Douglass Sclar was re-named as the township public defender.
DeFillippo’s wife, Morris County Freeholder Kathryn DeFillippo, was chosen to serve as the township’s official hostess for 2020.
After thanking his fellow councilmembers for re-appointing him as mayor – a position that doesn’t carry any additional weight in terms of voting power – DeFillippo spoke briefly about 2019. “It was a very interesting year,” he said.
Among the items mentioned by the mayor was the town-wide tax revaluation “which resulted in most residents paying the same or slightly less or slightly more” in municipal taxes. “There were a few outliers beyond that and some appeals, no question about it,” he said. “But for the most part, this large and complicated process – which can often be very contentious – went smoothly, leaving the township with a fair and accurate assessment of our tax base.”
Up There With American Dream
DeFillippo also cited the “new and rapid-pace, finally, of the redevelopment of the former Ledgewood Mall” into The Shops at Ledgewood Commons. He said the construction is erasing “a blight on our community,” and noted that “soon, we’ll have a new and modern shopping center with premium stores and restaurants.”
DeFillippo said that “next to the American Dream in the Meadowlands, The Shops at Ledgewood Commons is one of the most significant retail development projects in the State of New Jersey.”
Among the other 2019 accomplishments he mentioned was the completion of the first phase of the long-awaited Horseshoe Lake Park improvements, including a new artificial turf field “which was built on time and under budget with no tax dollars.”
DeFillippo pointed out that Roxbury was able to pave nearly seven miles of township roads last year thanks to “an additional $1.5 million we saved because we significantly reduced the township’s general obligation debt.” In 2018, the township “only did 3.5 miles,” he added.
Among the chief challenges the township faced in 2019 was the harmful algal bloom on Lake Hopatcong, DeFillippo said. He did not express optimism about the state’s reaction to the matter. “So far, we’ve only heard promises that have not been backed up by tangible offers to help the towns that surround the lake,” DeFillippo commented.
The mayor, a former journalist, also took a moment to point out that Roxbury, unlike many municipalities, continues to have local news coverage (by TAPinto Roxbury and The Roxbury Register).
“I am going to take a minute to thank the local media,” he said. “We are very lucky in this town to have media at all let alone two local media outlets … The most important thing you need to do is stay informed and you cannot do that without the local press … It does make sense for us to support our local media so we can stay informed.”
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