It has been an exciting six months since I became Springfield’s newest Committeeman. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to serve our community. You trusted me to take on the most important issues and provide solutions that work for all Springfield residents. I am working hard to do that.
I ran for office because residents were tired of our municipal government making decisions without listening to the public. I heard from many families who felt their leaders forgot that they work for the residents and need to report to them. I promised to make that my number one priority.
Since taking office, the other Democrats on the Committee and I brought back the monthly workshop session, with additional time to listen to your input. We currently have the Township Committee meetings, Board of Adjustment meetings, and Planning Board meetings on local TV, and have plans to broadcast even more going forward including the workshop meetings. We are also revamping Springfield’s website, making it easier to navigate, broadcasting announcements online, and adding more self-service options for government services to save you time and save your tax dollars by cutting down on town costs. Stay tuned.
Another top priority for me has been improving services while keeping taxes under control. Everyone I spoke to during the campaign told me that taxes are a constant challenge, and I am committed to ensuring you get the best value for every tax dollar you spend. I have already cut costs by eliminating a superfluous position within the township and personally reviewing all of Springfield’s salary ordinances to ensure we are paying our employees fairly. These changes saved Springfield close to $30,000.
Taking a hard look at our municipal budget freed up funds that the Committee used to hire two new firefighters. These new hires were necessary to comply with the nationally mandated “Two In, Two Out” Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) policy and will ease the workload that our other firefighters had been handling on their own. This means we will have more firefighters available in emergency situations and will also allow us to save on overtime payments.
After last year’s flooding, I promised to make Springfield safer for homeowners threatened by extreme weather. I am working to get Springfield into FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS) program, which provides free educational programs and flood mitigation assistance to communities threatened by flooding. Obtaining CRS certification could reduce flood insurance rates in town by up to 45%.
I also helped obtain a $4,000 Sustainable Jersey Roots for Rivers Reforestation Grant that will fund tree planting to reduce runoff and replace the trees that were uprooted or killed during last year’s storms. While Springfield also maintains lower impervious surface caps than other municipalities, lowering the risk of flooding, I am looking at requiring developers to incorporate additional flood abatement structures into their plans.
We have made a lot of important progress since January, but of course there is still work to be done and new issues come up every day. I have always believed that good leadership starts with good listening, which is why I am still knocking on doors, talking to families all over town about the challenges they face and the changes they want to see. If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas, please feel free to reach out at (908) 868-7045 or SpringChris18@gmail.com. Your voice matters, and I want to hear from you.
--Committeeman Chris Capodice