FANWOOD, NJ -- The Fanwood Borough Council began the year on Jan. 4, 2021, with its annual reorganization meeting. Two councilmen on the governing body were sworn in; Jeff Banks was sworn in for his second term, while Anthony Carter took his oath and also will take over the role of council president.
Fanwood public defender Jill Lazare took her oath of office, as did Daniel Antonelli, the Fanwood prosecutor, a position he has held for the past 11 years. Mayor Colleen Mahr noted that it has not been easy during the pandemic. Court proceedings for much of 2020 occurred via Zoom.
"We are trying to move things along the best we can," Antonelli said.
Council President Carter thanked Mayor Mahr and CFO Fred Tompkins for mentoring him.
"We couldn't move Fanwood forward without them," Carter said. "Fanwood has a tremendous team. I am proud to be part of it."
He also thanked his running mate Jeff Banks and council colleagues Erin McElroy-Barker, Trish Walsh, Kathy Mitchell, and Franicine Glaser.
Councilman Banks thanked the voters for their votes.
"I will make you all proud," Banks said.
Council members McElroy-Barker and Mitchell encouraged their Fanwood neighbors to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
"I'm in the second year of my fifth term. Each year is uniquely different. That's why I continue to serve with the same zeal, interest, and passion as I did when I was first elected," Mayor Mahr said. "We should all be proud of ourselves for our work in this wonderful, small, diverse town that doesn't shy away from getting things done."
"We have one of the very few Truth and Racial Healing Transformation groups in the county. We listened... and we did get an earful," she said. "We will be issuing our report. Our next step will be the actions this governing body will take. Those happenings have come when there were openings on our police department. This group of elected officials have heard our community, and we take seriously these actions. We still do the work of the people."
The mayor spoke about some successes during 2020, including the approval of SOHO on South Ave. and a grant the borough received to $800K to improve street scapes along South Ave. between the train station and Terrill Road. She also mentioned the 13 Fanwood residents whom we lost in the past year due to COVID. She also commended The Chelsea, which she said did " a pretty remarkable job" coming out of the fear last year.
"No one understood back then how bad it (COVID) was," said the mayor, who also commended the job done by the Fanwood Rescue Squad.
"One of the biggest things will be the library. Our children's library was in the basement and it had flooded and wasn't ADA compliant," Mayor Mahr said. "We had a great application and demonstrated real need," she said of the effort to win a $3.5 million grant from the state for a new library.
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