SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Ziad Shehady was appointed Business Administrator in the Township of Springfield on September 14th. The township had an interim administrator since 2015 who resigned in May.
A search consultant was used and 35 applications were received. Shehady was chosen by a vote of Council.
Shehady is a homeowner in Springfield and had served eight years on the township committee, serving twice as Mayor. In 2010, he was the youngest mayor in New Jersey.
When asked about the direction he would like to take Springfield - “Government should be run with more convenience for the people," Shehady said. "It should be customer oriented and customer driven with easy access.” Shehady wants Springfield to be a model for the country.
Downtown redevelopment is a priority. It has been spearheaded by the town through the Springfield Business Improvement District. The BID is a separate taxing entity that was established in 2010 and incentivizes development. Redevelopment is about to heat up with three projects in various stages of approval on Morris Avenue and the Church Mall. The plans call for a mix of residential and retail.
Challenges for the Township include some substantial tax appeals. Baltusrol Golf Club, Metro Storage on Rt. 22 and Saks Fifth Avenue are all under appeal. Shehady plans to budget for the worst case scenario and is aiming for a zero percent increase. On the docket for 2018-2019 is a town wide revaluation whereby every property will be looked at and valued. A revaluation has not been done since 1986 and is required by the State of New Jersey.
Asked about any fun pet project in mind, he mentioned a second community garden and an area dedicated to beehives. Shehady welcomes ideas from the community.