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Posted on: January 9, 2019

Mayor Puzio's 2019 re-organization speech

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I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and welcome all of you to Rockaway Township’s 2019 reorganization meeting. It is my privilege to serve as your Mayor and I am eager to highlight some of Mayor Michael Dachisen and our Administration’s accomplishments from 2018 and share with you my vision for the future.

As required by code 2-3.1 the Mayor shall annually report to the Council and the public on the work of the previous year. In 2018:

  • Purchased and refurbished a used curbside recycling truck sorely needed in the division. Saving the tax payers $215,000.
  • Provided curbside collection to the township residents, along with the collection and disposal of 13 containers at the 2 recycling centers. 
  • Installed over 800 feet of drainage pipping and catch basins. 
  • Milled 2 intersections with the townships shared service Road Zipper and paved the roads in house. 
  • Rehabilitated the townships basketball court at Peterson field. Which included soil grading, storm basin rebuilding and paving.
  • Rebuilt basins and prepped 9 streets for capital budget paving. 
  • Plowed and salted streets during 3 back to back Nor’easters. 
  • Provided snow removal on 4,000 feet of sidewalks and stairs at township buildings. 
  • Completed the Omaha Avenue Water Main Replacement Project with the   installation of 2,600 feet of new service lines and seven new fire hydrants. 
  • Replaced eight older style fire hydrants throughout our distribution system. 
  • Replaced 20 plus year old control panels at North Lake Shore sewer pumping stations with a new control system. 
  • Flushed almost 10,000 feet of sewer lines for preventative maintenance. 
  • Completed repairs to 29 water leaks of various sizes. 
  • Designed and painted on a weekly bases 52 soccer fields, 3 football fields, 3 lacrosse fields and 22 baseball fields, for men’s and women’s league sports as well as boy’s and girl’s little league. 
  • Provided services to Recreation summer programs
  • Designed and accepted the delivery of a new KME Fire Apparatus. 
  • Accepted several new members to the volunteer fire/ems service. 
  • Completed the purchase of a new fire/rescue boat. 
  • Completed one hundred and twenty-nine Life Hazard Registration Inspections. 
  • The police department introduced the ALICE System for responding to active shooter incidents into all of the township’s public schools. Instruction was given to all of the school employees so that they would be prepared should the unthinkable happen in our schools. Refresher follow-ups will continue in 2019.
  • Police Department started a new Honor Guard unit. This team of officers represent the PD in appropriate ceremonies and public events throughout the year, such as the Memorial Day parade. Praise for the professionalism and sharpness of the officers has been forth coming from the public, other departments and the Governor’s Wife, to name a few. 
  • The department successfully intervened in 12 overdose incidents as of this date by delivering doses of NarCan, which resulted in saving the lives of those who were suffering opioid overdoses. Without the timely intervention of these officers, additional lives would have been lost to the opioid epidemic.
  • The department has hired seven new patrol officers in 2018 and promoted a total of eight officers to higher rank ranging from captain to sergeant. 

Along the lines of shared services. 

  • Generated $230,000 in offsetting revenue through shared services agreements that provide public and environmental services to four additional municipalities in Morris County.
  • These shared agreements not only generate considerable revenue for the Township, but also realize efficiencies in service delivery, forge sensible relationships based on geography, demographics and service needs, and enhance the Township’s potential for relevant grant funding. By comparison, the Division of Health brought in $33,087 in 201
  • Notably, the Division of Health successfully implemented the first year of a new public health shared services agreement in Jefferson Township
  • Improvements to Rockaway Township Senior Center roof, funded largely by $60,000 Community Development Block Grant secured by joint departmental in-house staff.
    • Successfully applied for $75,000 Community Development Block Grant to provide necessary restoration to interior of Rockaway Township Senior Center.
    • Performed 167 communicable disease investigations in Rockaway Township, Butler Borough and Borough of Victory Gardens, stopping and preventing spread of infectious disease.
    • Construction Department received more than 1,700 new permits
    • Board of Adjustment heard 19 application 
    • Planning Board heard 25 applications
    • Accessible walkway was completed at Peterson Fields
    • Started the long anticipated drainage improvements to Richard Mine Road
    • Received New Jersey Department of Transportation grant in the amount of $290,000.00 for Taylor Street roadway improvements
    • Applied for serval other grants and are awaiting the results
    • New Dining establishments in Rockaway Township are the Cheesecake Factory and Miller’s Ale House.
    • Expansion and addition to Shoprite located within the Rockaway River Commons retail area is underway
    • CIBAO meat products will soon open a newly renovated 94,000 square foot warehouse and processing facility along Green Pond Road.  CIBAO meat products, operating for over 40 years in Bronx, NY looked to Rockaway Township for a larger facility to accommodate their growing business.  The facility is currently undergoing inspections from the United States Department of Agriculture and is expected to create approximately 75 new jobs once they are up and running
    • Worked with developers in 2018 to ensure our new residential communities at Pondview and Lennar are compliant with State and local regulations
    • Worked with Verizon and JCP&L to complete their cell tower to the point where they are up and running. 
    • Met with NJDOT to discuss upcoming safety improvements to RT 46 corridor within Rockaway Township

I want to assure the residents that Rockaway Township is moving forward providing the services you expect.  We have a great staff that is committed to providing professional services.

Another part of the administrative code (2.3.1(b)) is to recommend to the Township Council goals that I believe are in the best interest of the public. I would like to recommend the following goals for 2019:

  • I would like to see completion of the Township basketball courts at Peterson Field
  • Gazebo project at Parks Lake Completed
  • See new businesses brought to the town (WAWA-reactivate & explore)
  • Improve our efficiency and to assist the residents through technology such as: Online payment of licenses, viewing open and closed permits, submitting applications and permits online to name a few.
  • New field, tennis courts and improvements to Peterson Field
  • Continuing our paving schedule 
  • Website redesign and improvements

I would like to thank the volunteers, staff, and professional, without whom we would not be able to continue to provide the level of service that residents expect.

To the Township Council, I wish them luck in 2019 and I am looking forward to working with you to accomplish these goals and working together for the betterment of our community.  I am committed to put the time and effort for our citizens. As Steve Jobs said “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people”.

Together we can succeed.

Mayor Michael Puzio

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