By NICOLE GILLESPIE, Mayor of Moorestown
In her first Mayor’s Message, Moorestown Mayor Nicole Gillespie highlights the progress made by the township in the past year and previews what’s in store for 2020.
Happy New Year, Moorestown! I am honored to be serving you as mayor this year and humbled by the responsibility. I am also deeply grateful to Lisa Petriello for her service as mayor last year and all that we accomplished under her leadership.
Continually improving communication and transparency between citizens and government officials is a top priority for me. This new, monthly Mayor’s Message is one step in that direction, where I will share updates on progress and discuss what I see as key issues. I welcome your feedback and suggestions for future topics. Continuing a tradition started by Mayor Petriello last year, I also will be scheduling monthly “listening sessions” as an informal opportunity to hear directly from residents. I will share the time and location in this paper and other outlets, and on my Facebook page (@MoorestownMayorNicoleGillespie), where I will also post brief meeting takeaways after each council meeting.
Council made some other positive changes in 2019 under Mayor Petriello’s leadership that we are continuing in 2020. For the first time in six years, we issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for all township professionals, which encouraged a more competitive bidding process. In 2020, we issued RFPs for a subset of those positions. Continuing this pattern into the future, all professionals would be rebid every few years, thus ensuring the township gets the best services for the best possible price.
In 2019, we also made participation on township boards and committees accessible to more residents and continued with this principled approach in 2020 to ensure that Moorestown has access to the broadest, most diverse range of talent and expertise and to give more residents an opportunity to serve their community.
There is a lot more happening in Moorestown, and here’s just a few highlights:
- Our two new water treatment facilities should be completed this spring. Once operational (Hartford Road for the first time in more than 20 years), they will reduce our dependence on outside, commercial water suppliers and help guarantee Moorestonians their right to safe, clean water.
- Thanks to a partnership with Moorestown Business Association, we have new benches on Main Street. We also replaced seven foundation beds with brick or concrete to improve sidewalk accessibility and will be adding new plantings in the remaining beds this spring.
- In 2019, we received notice of additional federal aid for the engineering and design phases of the Lenola Township Improvement Project, which will save Moorestown more than $300,000. Preliminary engineering for this project began on Jan. 8.
- With a lot of input from the community, we are very close to finalizing our plan to meet our affordable housing obligation. Our compliance hearing is currently set for March 11 and continued engagement with the community will be critical as we begin to implement this plan in 2020.
How else can council better serve the residents and businesses of Moorestown? What else would you like to hear about in this column? Please feel free to contact me and share your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.