SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Village President Alex Torpey called for unity and transparency in the new year between the town’s government and residents during the annual state of the village address on Monday.

Torpey held his speech in the loft of South Orange’s Performing Arts Center, recapping the town’s progress during 2014 and voicing its plans moving forward. Torpey lauded the village’s introduction of South Orange Connect, a mobile app through which residents can directly voice complaints over town related issues such as snow removal and request for resolutions.

According to Torpey, such plans have already helped the village government in maintaining open communication with residents. Early on in his address, Torpey mentioned the Third and Valley project currently in construction, before acknowledging the $164 million revenue brought in by completed projects within the past four years.

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“We get to create homes for people to live in,” Torpey said. “And we’re doing all this development as best we can with an eye toward sustainability. Not only do our jitney’s run on biodiesel and more and more of our municipal vehicle fleet is made up of fuel efficient and hybrid vehicles, but we’re doing major renovations to buildings like village hall with an eye toward sustainability by improving H-vac efficiency and with that building, if we do renovate it and move back in, powering that with geothermal.”

In addition to praising the village’s Public Works department for its work over the snow season and general maintenance around town in the past year, Torpey reinforced plans for the village’s new water contract, following a proposed switch from East Orange Water Commission to New Jersey American Water.

“The tax increases are going downwards, the budget is stabilized. More money and more investment is coming into this town right now than ever before in its history,’” said Torpey

Torpey noted the village’s decline in crime over the past years, in addition to an increased response rate from the fire department and the volunteer rescue squad to service calls.

“South Orange is on the map, no doubt, not just as a place where the government is performing well, which is the easy story to tell,” said Torpey. “South Orange is on the map as a place where people want to visit, want to move to, want to start their families, and want to be part of because the community is performing well.”​