Springfield Newsletter – February 11, 2015

COMMUNITY
For a current listing of Springfield events, check out my Calendar at http://calendar.shehady.us!

–  Please join Committeeman Jerry Fernandez and me for my monthly “Town Hall” forum this Thursday, February 12th, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., for a discussion on the issues that matter to you. Whatever your concerns or questions are, large or small, come by the Springfield Municipal Building this Thursday to talk.  I’m happy to announce that Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan will be our special guest to give a “Sheriff’s Update” and answer your questions.

– Springfield municipal offices will be closed Monday, February 16th for Presidents’ Day.  They will re-open on Tuesday, February 17th.

–  The Springfield Senior Citizens Club will have their monthly meeting this Thursday, February 12th at 11 a.m. at the Chisholm Community Center.  The Springfield Senior Citizens Calendar for February 2015 is online athttp://zszs.us/SNJSrCz. Please share with family, friends and neighbors.

–  The Cannon Ball House in Springfield will be open this Sunday, February 15th  for a special exhibit of a letter that George Washington wrote from Springfield during the Revolutionary War in honor of Presidents’ Day (weekend). If you’ve never been to the Cannon Ball House before, this is your chance as it is open to the public on a limited basis.  Stop by 126 Morris Avenue between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.  Admission is $2 for adults and free for children 12 and under.

– We’re hosting a free paper shredding for Springfield residents on Saturday, March 14th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Come to the Springfield Municipal Pool Parking Lot to shred up to 4 bags/boxes (max 10 lbs each). Shredding is a good way to make sure sensitive documents don’t fall into the wrong hands. Residency and limits will be enforced. For more information, visit http://zszs.us/1HeTRrM

– The James Caldwell School PTA is hosting a book fair at Barnes And Noble in Springfield on Monday, February 23rd through Wednesday, February 25. There will be a special event each day (including a performance by The Jersey Follettes) and proceeds from the sales will benefit local charity Springfield H.O.P.E. Buy in store or online with the special code 11490588 to help.  For more information, visit http://zszs.us/1Cc2FJi

GOVERNMENT

– Some taxpayers may have received or will soon receive an official looking letter from certified public accountants “Suplee, Clooney & Company” indicating they are performing an audit for the town. This is legitimate and it is not a scam. They are performing a vital and required periodic service to make sure everything adds up in the Finance Department between the CFO, Tax Assessor, and Tax Collector. No need to be alarmed and your help is appreciated.

– The next Township Committee meeting for February is scheduled for Tuesday, February 24th at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

–  At our Township Committee meetings this week, three ordinances and twenty resolutions were considered.  At my request, representatives of the American Cancer Society opened up the meeting to speak about their efforts and local initiatives, such as the annual Relay for Life.  We took the next step in the downtown redevelopment process that is the culmination of negotiations with a major Morris Avenue property owner that Committeeman Fernandez and I started back in 2012.  Our attorney presented a collaborative development plan for the largest property that has been signed off on by the property owner, the Business Improvement District and finally, the Township.  The last steps involve the Planning Board and the State Department of Environmental Protection before construction can begin.   To read the plan, click here to download it.

One ordinance was adopted on second hearing – it is a “housekeeping” ordinance that codifies the salary ranges for our non-union employees and another ordinance that provides for background checks of our volunteers/employees that work with children or in a recreation activity.  Two ordinances were introduced and still require a second hearing for adoption.  The first concerns the capital budget for the pool.  Committeeman Fernandez and I raised concerns about the total sum of $242,000 being requested because we want to make sure the proposed changes are meaningful, lasting, and not just “lipstick on a pig”.  In the last 4 years, over three-quarters of a million dollars has been spent on capital upgrades to the pool and until just recently, most were just to keep it running rather than significant improvements.  We are advocating for a multi-year, phased improvement plan to upgrade our pool complex so that it is appealing to more people and competitive with our neighbors.  The second ordinance concerns smoking in public and specifically bans smoking in public parks.  You can read the full ordinance by visiting http://zszs.us/1zvAnoA This may seem like common sense legislation as there are concerns about air quality and second-hand smoke, but there are also legitimate concerns about constitutionality and access for all.  I think a compromise restricting smoking in parks within the immediate vicinity of playgrounds and at large public events is fair.  I want your opinion – let your voice be heard.  Vote in my poll at http://zszs.us/1EYdPVA

Most resolutions were “routine” or of minor importance.  However, one in particular spurred a discussion on the policy for approving outside camp access to the pool and the lack of consistency between the rates these outside groups are charged.  Committeeman Fernandez and I were most concerned with the disparity – Springfield residents are charged $10 for a daily guest pass while some outside camps pay what amounts to less than $2.50 a day.  We intend to propose a more uniform fee structure.

EXTRA!

– The Springfield Republican Committee is looking for new members.  If you are interested in joining, send an email to email@springfieldnjgop.com.  They will be holding their next monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 25th at 6 p.m.  E-mail for more information.

– Senator Tom Kean, Jr. is hosting his 3rd Annual Chili & Craft Beer Tasting on Thursday, February 26th, 6-8 p.m.  Tickets are only $50 per person.  Please contact me if you’re interested in joining the Springfield delegation at this delicious event.

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