Mayor’s Update February 2015
The following comments were delivered by Mayor Neil Henry at the 2015 Reorganization Meeting which was held on January 6, 2015.
Dear Residents & Business Owners:
I would like to wish you all a very happy new year and thank the voters of Mendham Borough for electing me to my third four-year term as mayor. It is a job I enjoy for various reasons and I could not do it without the help of members of the Borough Council, all of our hard-working borough employees and our committed volunteers who donate their time to the community as members of the various boards, commissions and committees that make up our local government. I would also like to extend a special thanks to my wife, Leslie, who has been supportive of me in my role as Mayor and my newly adopted career in public administration as Township Administrator in Long Hill Township.
2014 was a very busy year in Mendham Borough. The Borough Council adopted a balanced municipal budget. We amended our property maintenance ordinance which now enables us to enforce property maintenance regulations on abandoned properties while placing a bigger financial risk on property owners for not caring for their properties. We completed a major curb reconstruction and paving project on Maple, Mountain and Park Avenues. We saved a significant amount of money by contracting with Blue Diamond Disposal to collect our curbside recyclables beginning in 2015.
Key personnel moves were also completed in 2014. Ellen Sandman moved on to become Township Administrator in Parsippany and was replaced by our new Borough Administrator, Richard Merkt. Rick, who is no stranger to the Mendham area, has been with us since November 1 and has quickly organized to move us forward in 2015 and beyond. Borough Clerk Maureen Massey retired at the end of December and we are presently searching for her replacement. I am also happy to report that our first year contracting with the Borough of Chester to use their court has been a success and that the transition has been flawless.
I would like to extend a special thanks to our emergency first responders who include the police department, fire department, first aid squad and office of emergency management. It should be noted that Chief Libertino, Sergeants Camoia and Pirello and Detective Irons were recently cited by the Morris County prosecutors for assisting in bringing a quick resolution to the recent safety threat at Mendham High School. Sergeant McNichol and Officers Barnes and Farry also helped in this investigation. The next Community Emergency Response Team Training Class will be held on March 6, 7 and 8 and I encourage all interested residents to sign up. For more information, please call our OEM Coordinator Nick Witczak at 973-922-0782.
2015 will be another interesting year in Mendham. We are committed to delivering another balanced budget for the Borough that will continue to provide our accustomed level of service. The Mayor and Council will hear a proposal from representatives of the Sisters of Christian Charity for a new overlay zone on their property. This is a major request from a planning and zoning perspective and will require much thought and deliberation before any decisions are made. Administrator Merkt and the Personnel Committee will address personnel matters including a review of the personnel manual and the employee job descriptions. We need to assess our salary ordinance to insure our salaries are comparable to the market salaries. Negotiations will continue in the early part of the year to insure a fair and equitable settlement on a labor contract with our local PBA.
Other items on the agenda for 2015 include road paving, high school feasibility studies and shared services. I would like to see a continuation of last year’s paving project by identifying additional roads to be paved in 2015 and beyond. It makes more sense financially to pave in phases rather than try to play catch up all at once. I look forward to completing the feasibility study on the reconfiguration of the West Morris Regional High District and working with the mayors from Mendham Township and the Chesters on how we will move forward once the study is completed. As for shared services, we will continue to remain open minded on any cost sharing opportunity that may present itself with our neighboring communities.
In closing, I can assure you that the Borough of Mendham is in excellent shape, both financially and also from a quality of life perspective. Our government remains fully transparent and I continue to encourage all of our residents to participate in any way possible to maintain the Mendham community that we all enjoy and value.
Neil Henry, Mayor