FAIRFIELD, NJ — Fairfield Councilmen Thomas Morgan and John LaForgia were sworn into office for three-year terms by the Hon. Judge Frank Pomaco at Tuesday’s reorganization meeting of the Fairfield Township Council.
Both men thanked the residents of Fairfield for their vote of confidence and promised to do their best in representing them.
Morgan, who took his first oath of office to the council in 1981, said he has seen a lot of changes in the community since then—some gradual and some quick.
He recalled when there being only one traffic light in town on Rt. 46 and when the old library was across the street from the municipal building. He said the township has built a new library with the help of the Pio Costa family, bought fields for the Hollywood Avenue recreation park, built five pocket parks around the township, put in a turf field and built a new recreation complex since then—all without increasing taxes.
Morgan, who has served on the council since 1981 with a seven-year break from 1990 to 1997, said he has served under five mayors, and that every one of them had the best interest of the township at heart.
During the meeting, Councilman John LaForgia, who has been on the council since 2004, was elected to serve as 2018 council president.
LaForgia thanked his wife, Toni, and his family, stating that “the support of our families is a big part of what we are able to do on this council.” He thanked Fairfield residents for re-electing him and for their support.
He also said he has seen the township grow in many ways, including the activities of the administration and of the police and fire departments.
As Mayor James Gasparini gave the mayor’s annual address to the public, he said he was happy to report there were no surprises in Fairfield in 2017 despite the election of a president “who no one expected to win and major legislative changes throughout the country, as well as here in New Jersey, that will definitely impact us.”
“We anticipated many fiscal issues and changes in housing needs and mandates that were handed down by the state,” said Gasparini. “We have adjusted, and accordingly, are moving into 2018 fully prepared to meet these challenges.”
Anticipating housing changes, as well as legislative action taken by the Fair Share housing people, Gasparini said Fairfield was ahead of the curve by providing alternative housing in the form of condos, townhouses and rental apartments.
“These units will meet our mandated state obligations, provide alternative housing options and keep our ratable base strong,” he said. “Most importantly, the units mentioned here will be located in areas that we have chosen, not in areas decided by the state and judges.”
He added that Fairfield’s proactivity has removed the township from the probability of a builder’s lawsuit that would “most definitely wreak havoc within [the] community,” and instead provided the township with responsible development in non-intrusive areas of Fairfield.
In 2017, Fairfield also saw increased activities within the township, from the expanded July 4th celebration to the winter wonderland event. The police department coordinated the National Night Out program, and the new recreation building has hosted many events that served the entire community. Gasparini said the senior luncheon was also a huge success, along with town pool activities.
In 2018, Gasparini said the Township of Fairfield will see “the overdue renovations of our police headquarters” that will provide the township with the necessary updated facility that he said it needs and deserves.
There will also be continued road improvement programs, and in an effort to be prepared in the event of another flood, the township will continue to maintain drainage ditches and water courses to minimize flood impact.
Gasparini said the township is always diligently working toward maintaining and improving its Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) rating, which entitles homeowners to receive major discounts on flood insurance rates.
“Without a doubt, the quality of life in Fairfield has never been better, and we see no reason to expect that this trend will not continue in 2018,” said Gasparini. “Our dedicated employees work every day to ensure that you, our taxpayers, are always our first priority, and they continue to serve the community well.
“As your mayor and council, we understand the challenges that face the township and work closely with all of our professionals to make sure that your interests are being taken care of. Your suggestions and input are always welcome, and we look forward to this new year with great anticipation.”
At the regular meeting that followed the reorganization meeting, there was an introduction of a bond ordinance providing $3,000,000 for renovations to the police department and related improvements to the municipal building. It includes authorizing the issuance of $2,850,000 bonds or notes of the township for financing part of the appropriation.
The public hearing on this ordinance will be at 7 p.m. at the Monday, Jan. 15 council meeting.