Also, Mayor Dan Teefy provided a State of the Township looking ahead to the new year at the Jan. 8 meeting
Mayor Dan Teefy and council looked toward a new year with new opportunities at the 2018 reorganization meeting on Monday, Jan. 8. Following the appointment of new Council President Rich Dilucia and Council Vice President Ron Garbowski, Teefy addressed the State of the Township for the coming year, setting priorities, goals and objectives for the municipality.
At the meeting, council voted unanimously for Dilucia and Garbowski to fill the leadership roles, both having been nominated by Councilman Marvin Dilks Jr. Dilucia had served as council vice president in 2017 next to former Council President Bart McIlvaine.
“I’d like to thank everyone on the council for the confidence they have given me by electing me president of council,” Dilucia said. “I hope I do a worthy job.”
Dilucia, joined by his daughter ReRe Devine, and Garbowski, with his wife Kathy, were sworn into office by township Clerk Susan McCormick.
Teefy also made appointments, including the designation of township solicitor to newcomer Louis Cappelli Jr., who will serve as the Monroe Township director of law. Cappelli will replace former township Solicitor Charles Fiore. Additionally, council voted unanimously to appoint Aileen Chiselko as the new deputy clerk, taking the place of Sharon Wright, who retired earlier this year.
Entering his fourth year as mayor, Teefy’s State of the Township provided an outlook on the municipal budget for 2018. While 2017 municipal taxes did not have an increase, Teefy said this year’s objective is to stay away from large purchases with the goal of leveling the township’s tax base. According to Teefy, one factor that will influence the township’s basis for incoming revenue will depend on the 2017 property reassessments.
“Once we get those in and figure out our tax base, I think we’re going to be in good shape in 2018,” Teefy said.
Additional projects slated for the new year include improving the township’s trash pick-up services, Teefy said. The township will be hosting an interview process early in the year to ensure the services provided to residents are consistent and more efficient than what has been experienced in the past.
Teefy said upon his election in 2015, one of his priorities was to increase the number of police officers to provide better coverage of the township’s 48 square miles. Since then, the Monroe Township Police Department went from 62 officers to 66, however, due to recent retirements, the number of officers has once again dropped to 64. Teefy said he is looking to keep the coverage at approximately 66 officers, so there will be new hires in 2018.
“We want to make sure we have the right number of police officers to protect our town,” Teefy said.
Additional developments and opportunities in the new year include the township’s road program, which Teefy said will include repairs to at least half of South Shore Drive, as well as Kirk Road and Forest Drive. According to Teefy, a number of roads were repaired in 2017, including Winslow Road, Whitehall Road and the intersection of Gordon Avenue and Princeton Avenue, to name a few, all based on grant money and funds from the $5 million, five-year program instituted by the council to improve roads.
Expansion plans for Owens Park are also anticipated this year, with hopes of getting “shovels in the ground” in 2018 for the new dog park that will be located on site. Additional developments include two breweries, Cross Keys Brewing Co. and 13 Child Brewing, which Teefy said have received approvals from the township and are awaiting feedback from the state. The breweries are expected to be operational by spring.
Among the objectives for the new year, Teefy said redevelopment is also a main priority, with hopes of designating the Cross Keys area and Main Street to draw in business and development to Monroe Township and Williamstown.
Council members spoke positively on the new year, with the collective goal of working together for the betterment of the community.
“Everybody up here wants exactly what’s best for this town,” Councilman Bob Heffner said. “I thought  was one of the more come-together years. We got a lot done, and we have a lot to still do.”
In other news:
As recommended by Dilucia, Councilman Joe Marino was appointed as the Ordinance Committee chairman with the rest of council serving as committee members. The Ordinance Committee regularly holds public meetings on the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building.
The next council meeting is scheduled for Jan. 22. The work session will be held at 7 p.m. and the regular meeting at 8 p.m.