SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Borough of South Plainfield held its 2018 reorganization meeting on Jan. 6 and, despite below freezing temperatures, the annual event attracted a standing room only crowd.Saturday's meeting began with Taylor Kurliew singing the National Anthem and Pastor Edmund Seponosky delivering the innovation. Republican Assemblyman and House Minority Leader Jon M. Bramnick then administered the oath of office to returning Republican Councilmembers Christine Faustini and Derryck White who, in November, were re-elected to three year terms.
“…South Plainfield residents overwhelmingly placed their faith in Derryck White and Christine Faustini and re-elected them to new three-year terms. Congratulations Councilman White and Councilwoman Faustini. I look forward to working with you and the entire council in 2018,” said Mayor Matt Anesh.
With the 2018 council officially in place, a motion made by White and seconded by Faustini nominating Republican Robert Bengivenga, Jr. as council president was approved by a 5-0 vote; Democratic Councilman Gary Vesce was not present. Bengivenga, who was sworn in as council president by Bramnick, will chair the Administration, Finance & Public Information Committee as well as serve as a member of both the Public Safety and Public Works committees.
During the meeting, 2018's Council Committee assignments were made, community residents were sworn in as members of various borough committees and commissions, mayoral appointments were made, resolutions were passed, and numerous professional service contracts were approved.
Additionally, Anesh delivered his annual mayor's message, reflecting on 2017's successes and sharing the borough's goals for 2018. "I am proud of our accomplishments and remain excited about our future," said Anesh.
The mayor stated that, in 2017, the borough adopted a budget that held municipal taxes at the same rate as 2009. “I am requesting the Administration and Finance Committee to do the same in 2018. This goal will complete nearly a decade of keeping municipal taxes in check. It is a goal I know we are capable of achieving,” said the mayor.
Additional highlights of 2017, said Anesh, included record registration at the recreation department as well as record growth in registration and participation at both the senior center and the library; the opening of the Southside Dog Park – the borough’s first park in decades; the expansion of Willow Park; and the opening of several new businesses. During the previous calendar year, the Green Team earned bonze-level recertification in the Sustainable Jersey program; the Cultural Arts Commission continued to ‘provide residents with a suite of annual programs designed to educate and provide entertainment.’
In the previous calendar year, said the mayor, the Rescue Squad recorded over 16,000 volunteer hours, responded to over 800 resident calls, and expanded training for all riding members; the South Plainfield Fire Department responded to nearly 1,000 calls, held various training sessions, and christened a new Ladder Truck 7; and the police department welcomed three new officers, implemented a Special Problems Unit, launched a Special Needs Registry, and, through a collective effort between the borough and the board of education, created a School Resource Officer.
Additionally, in 2017, a grant for the design for the Hollywood Avenue project was filed and, this year, the goal is to obtain both state and federal funding for the project.
“2017 was a year of tremendous achievement and success. This success is the byproduct of proper planning, dedication, and hard work," said Anesh. "...Hard work is the recipe for simple solutions. That’s what is in store for 2018."
In the first quarter of the year, said Anesh, the borough will unveil its Estate Card Program and a motor vehicle agency will be back in operation in the town. According to the mayor, in 2018, police department will join forces with the senior center to establish a Senior Registry; the borough will implement new software and online forms to make the permit process more efficient; roads, including Hadley, will be repaved; storm sewer work planned for Orchard Drive, Ledden Terrace, Ranger Street, Lonsdale Drive and other roads will take place; and upgrades at the PAL, Willow Park, and the Southside Dog Park will be made.
“South Plainfield continues to be a model for how government can work effectively and efficiently…[and] remains one of the most affordable and desirable places to live and raise a family in New Jersey…” said Anesh. “We are a desired destination for individuals, families and businesses alike...The key is to keep South Plainfield affordable…for our youth, our seniors, and our families.”
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