HomeShamong NewsLetter: Shamong Twp. Salutes Exiting Mayor

Letter: Shamong Twp. Salutes Exiting Mayor

Shamong Township has lost one of its great mayors. Jonathon Shevelew has retired after serving the folks here for many years. Jon, who retired from his professional career in the late 1990s, has finally retired from public service. Shamong was the recipient of a mayor who generously gave his time to serve us in a way that will be hard to come by in the future. He served us in many ways and always unconditionally. From serving on the Rent Control Board to the Planning and Zoning boards to the IMAA and Township Committee, Jon knew almost all of us in town by name. As mayor, he used the office to make sure we had shelter during Hurricane Sandy, ensured that our children had the best baseball and soccer fields in the state, if not the country. He enabled leaders in various organizations in town to fulfill their goals of serving us in myriad ways. Shamong will miss Jonathon Shevelew and all that he did for us.

The one aspect of working with Jon that I immediately picked up on after I was elected was serving Shamong as a committeeman was an act of humility and one of a great honor to serve the folks who live in town. Since our town has a very low local purpose tax and has had to endure reduction in revenues including the state reducing their payment for Wharton State Forest, the job of mayor in Shamong has meant keeping property taxes to a minimum, fighting to keep the services we have come to expect at the highest level they can be, and making sure we as residents are taken care of fiscally. Jon has done all of that and more. Here are a few of the areas Mayor Shevelew served us:

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He set up the Shamong Township website; As many of you know, this website has become a very important tool in verifying meeting dates, recycling schedules, rabies clinics, tax payments, hazardous waste drop offs and much more. Jon implemented an email notification list that has been very successful and popular with our residents to provide reminders of tax payments, Christmas Tree collections, visits with Santa, emergency notifications for hurricanes and large storms as well as road closings and goings on in town.

Under his leadership, Jon opened a local shelter during Hurricane Sandy at the Indian Mills Memorial School. He kept everyone informed during the large forest fires we have experienced over the past 10 years. He worked with Emergency Management, Forest Fire Staff, Indian Mills Volunteer Fire Company our Local Office of Emergency Management and State Police. Though he did not actively serve in the EMT squad or the Fire Department, Jon was a huge proponent of ensuring this resource was funded and always received the equipment they required, while being fiscally responsible to us and not over spending.

A major initiative that Mayor Shevelew led our and other towns was in the legal battle in stopping the state from imposing new taxes for State Police coverage. We were victorious in that fight and Jon helped save us and other towns thousands of dollars a year in possible tax increases.

Jon loves his music and hanging out with us residents, so much so that he organized the 2010 Rockin’ the Woods Concert at the Dingeltown Complex. This was a free event to the community that he organized and funded.

Shamong became a recipient of the Reverse 911 system from assistance from Jon. This system was established to notify residents with pre-recorded messages for major events such as road closings, storm notices, community events, etc.

We have solar at the Municipal Complex thanks largely to Mayor Shevelew. He brought in bidders to provide Shamong with a solar system to help keep electrical bills at a minimum. It should be noted that the system we have is now considered too small by most investors to fund. Jon got us in right under the wire before this initiative would become impossible to achieve.

Jon has left us with ideas and initiatives yet to be achieved. A community center, a cemetery and other such ideas have been explored because he would not allow our town to rest on its laurels. His plan for facilities to further serve our children and seniors are all in discussion currently.

Jon was also instrumental in getting many things done such as: 1) the expansion of the Dingletown Complex with the building of Dingeltown II. This expansion saw world-class baseball and softball fields built with batting practice cages and the overall unveiling of a phalanx of fields that would impress anyone who visits. Today, the IMAA puts of tournaments that draw many teams and players from various states. 2) The creation of the Stony Creek Soccer Complex. This is not completed just yet, we are currently seeking a grant to provide for the construction of bathrooms and a snack stand.

The issue of fighting to keep property taxes minimized was never more present than when we encountered the gypsy moth epidemic in 2006. It was a tough day when the Committee had to vote to raise taxes to cover the spraying of this menace. But under Mayor Shevelew’s guidance, the tax was reduced drastically the very next year.

As a cost cutter, Jon oversaw the combining of Shamong’s Zoning and Planning boards. This reduced costs for the town and provided an easier way for residents to get served in both capacities. Jon also supported the use of shared service agreements for a means to reduce costs in areas such as the tax assessor and municipal court offices.

Mayor Shevelew served as deputy mayor or mayor during his nine years of service in addition to serving for many years as a member of the Rent Control Board, Indian Mills Athletic Association Board, Coaching our youth, and Planning Boards. All in all, by the time Jon became our mayor, he knew almost every facet of our governing structures and who served and who needed to be served.

The Jon Shevelew I got to know is a practical, patient and almost always smiling man. If he ever lost his temper, it had to be after being brow beaten for longer than most anyone of us could stand it. And it would always be for a good reason. There were times when I thought I would be lambasted after putting my foot in my mouth (something that some of you know too well about me), but instead, Jon would just come to me and tell me that maybe next time I should think about what I need to say before I say it but always in a kind but firm manner. I have learned allot from him. I know all of us have gained from his being Mayor and servant to Shamong. I know allot of you have received Certificates of Congratulations signed by Mayor Shevelew when your children graduated from Indian Mills Memorial School. He never missed a beat in our town. We will greatly miss our mayor and I would like to personally thank him for all he has done for our community and wish him and his family luck and good health in their new endeavors.

By: Shamong Committeeman Kenneth Long


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