Newsletter

Springfield Newsletter (June 2016)

COMMUNITY
For a current listing of Springfield events, you can always visit my up-to-date Calendar at http://calendar.shehady.us

– The Springfield Senior Citizens Calendar for July 2016 is online at http://zszs.us/SNJSrCz. Please share with family, friends and neighbors.

– Join me at the annual Independence Day celebration this Monday, July 4th at Meisel Avenue Park. Organized by the Springfield Office of Emergency Management in conjunction with our Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by several local businesses, the celebration will have all the usual fun and excitement…music, food, drinks, entertainment for the kids and FIREWORKS! Gates open at 5 p.m. and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. The fireworks start after dark. More information is available at http://zszs.us/4thJuly16

– The Community Pool & Summer Camp is open for the season! For registration and the information brochure, visit http://zszs.us/1Mno7lY

ANNOUNCEMENTS

– As you may have heard, there was a very serious and unfortunate incident in town on Monday. Springfield Police discovered two deceased individuals at a residence on Meckes Street. The Union County Prosecutors Office and Homicide Task Force led an investigation which revealed the stabbing victims were Thomas Brown (a member of the Springfield American Legion) and his daughter Roth Brown (a graduate of Jonathan Dayton High School). James Brown was arrested on Route 22 and charged with the murder of his mother and grandfather. He is being held on bail at the County. We mourn their tragic passing. If you were not aware of the incident but would like to stay informed about goings-on in town, I was providing public safety updates live on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ziadandrewshehady

– As promised, a Community Information Bulletin and Traffic Control Plan were published for the upcoming 2016 PGA Championship that will be hosted in Springfield from July 25 through July 31. The bulletin and maps address road closures, parking, traffic patterns, complimentary tickets, and the overall impact to the community. Visit http://zszs.us/16PGAsnjfor the details.

GOVERNMENT

– The next Township Committee meeting will be on Monday, July 18th at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. This is the only meeting for July and it will also be preceded by an Annual Joint Meeting with the Board of Education which starts at 6 p.m. in Town Hall.

At our last Township Committee meeting this past Tuesday, June 28th we presented a proclamation to Paul Ciullo, a longtime Springfield resident and selfless, dedicated volunteer who recently retired from the Springfield Girls Softball Parents Association after nearly 20 years of community service to the town. I also invited the Jonathan Dayton High School Lady Bulldogs Softball Team to be recognized for their outstanding accomplishments this season. We hired and swore-in a new Police Officer, Michael Piperato, to fill a vacancy on the Department. We heard the monthly reports from our Public Works, Recreation and Engineering Departments. We also adopted another 13 resolutions – most were routine but I’ll highlight a few:
– Resolution 2016-197 authorized our Tax Collector to send estimated tax bills (rather than actual tax bills) because the State has not adopted their budget and is refusing to allow the County Tax Boards to certify the tax bills.
– Resolution 2016-203 accepted the resignation of Jasmine Mathis who has worked in the Clerk’s Office as an Administrative Assistant and our Registrar of Vital Statistics. She has been a wonderful employee and we will miss her.
– Resolution 2016-209 approves the execution of a Settlement Agreement in response to a lawsuit by the Fair Share Housing Center concerning our Affordable Housing Compliance Plan. This is something that has been ongoing for many years and is happening in municipalities across the state. It is a very complicated matter related to the affordable housing requirements imposed on every municipality as a result of State Supreme Court decisions long ago. The County Superior Court Judge designated Fanwood as the “test” case that would chart the path for other towns in Union County to follow. Fanwood settled the case and Springfield was the “backup” case. We also decided to settle after consultation with several legal and professional experts rather than try the case. We feel the settlement, while still quite burdensome, is the best outcome we could hope to achieve, especially in light of the significant financial burden from a lengthy and difficult court case. We have already been forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers, planners and affordable housing experts so it is a relief to be able to conclude this saga. If you are interested in reading the full terms of the settlement, please let me know.

– Now that our Capital Budget and Bond Ordinance have been approved, we are starting on some infrastructure improvements around town. Our 2016 Road Improvements Projectincludes the milling and paving of 10 streets: Severna Avenue, Molter Avenue, Marcy Avenue, Green Hill Road, Stern Avenue, Ashwood Avenue, Statile Court, Laurel Drive, and North/South Trivett. After the bid process is complete, we hope work will start in August. Whenever I mention road repaving, I inevitably get asked by residents, “What about my street?” When I was Mayor, I requested that our Engineering and Public Works Department develop a transparent and formulaic methodology for determining the order in which streets would be paved. This is based on criteria to evaluate the condition of all the roads in Springfield and then rank them based on need. Additionally, the list inventories all the roads based on when they were last paved, if ever, since their original construction. There is no preference or bias in this process and it ensures fair and equal attention given to all streets. For a few years now, we have made it a point to budget money to repave several streets every year so that we have a gradual townwide improvement plan. Unfortunately, there were many years when previous administrations did not budget for road repairs and so there are many roads in poor condition and many have not been touched since they were originally constructed – now we are playing catch up.

– The Township has also embarked on a Sidewalk Improvement Program. On April 26th, we awarded a contract to repair sidewalks that have been lifted or damaged by trees in the right-of-way. The work started at the beginning of the month and is progressing around town zone by zone. Area 1 has been completed. Area 2 is wrapping up this week. Area 3 will start next week. This is a 10-12 month project depending on the weather. Click here to view the Area Map.

Springfield Newsletter (May 2016)

My apologies for the delay since the last newsletter months ago. Since taking office as Deputy Mayor in January, the year has been a very busy one with many meetings related to the downtown redevelopment, the PGA Championship at Baltrusrol, and preparing the 2016 municipal operating and capital budgets. As always, you can always contact me if you have any questions/concerns and connect with me on social media for more timely updates.

COMMUNITY
For a current listing of Springfield events, you can always visit my up-to-date Calendar at http://calendar.shehady.us

– The Springfield Senior Citizens Calendar for May 2016 is online at http://zszs.us/SNJSrCz, Please share with family, friends and neighbors.

– The Township of Springfield and the Springfield Veterans Alliance invite you to join the annual community observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 30th at 10 a.m. beginning at Veterans Memorial Park (Shunpike Rd & Mountain Ave). Please participate in honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. The parade will conclude at Jonathan Dayton High School with a picnic for all. Co-organizer Geri Bujnowski is looking for volunteers and organizations interested in marching or assembling a float – she can be contacted by e-mailing memorialday@springfieldnj.us

– Many residents asked me about Springfield hosting another paper shredding event. I worked with our DPW to make sure we could have another one this year and I’m happy to share some great news – we’ve scheduled one for Saturday, June 18th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Municipa Pool. Proof of residence will be required and there is a limit of 4 boxes/bags per person not to exceed 10 pounds. This free service is available to residents only, not businesses. (If you can’t make the town event, check the County schedule for other dates and locations – http://ucnj.org/recycling/mobile-paper-shredding)

– There is less than a month to go for Springfield’s 5th Annual Townwide Garage Sale being held on Saturday, June 4th and Sunday, June 5th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information and to register to be included on the interactive map, visithttp://zszs.us/SNJgs

ANNOUNCEMENTS

– Springfield was just awarded a Clean Communities Grant of $35,960.83 from the State Department of Environmental Protection. We also recently received an Infrastructure and Municipal Aid Grant for $64,000 grant from the County of Union Board of Chosen Freeholders. Additionally, we received a grant from the State Department of Transportation for $190,000. These revenue streams will greatly help keep tax increases minimal. On Monday, May 16th, I’m meeting with several department heads to pursue another grant opportunity that will help improve pedestrian safety along routes to school.

– Like neighboring communities, Springfield relies on volunteers to provide critical public safety services and maintain a responsible municipal budget to stabilize taxes. Volunteers can serve in either the Office of Emergency, as Firefighters and as First Aid Squad members. Unfortunately, our volunteer numbers are low and so we are actively recruiting! Without volunteers, the municipal budget either increases or services elsewhere must be reduced/eliminated. If you have thought about serving as a volunteer, sign up for more information and someone from Town Hall will reach out to you! http://volunteer.springfield-nj.us

– Don’t forget that quarterly bulk pickup is on June 8th and June 9th! More information is available on the Department of Public Works page

– In case you weren’t aware, the 2016 PGA Championship will be hosted in Springfield from July 25 through July 31. Negotiations with Baltusrol and the PGA as well as public safety discussions regarding the major event on are nearing conclusion. At this point, Baltusrol and the PGA have identified just over 100 homes to receive complimentary tickets. More information about road closures, parking, traffic patterns, and the overall impact to the community will be published soon when finalized.

GOVERNMENT

– The next Township Committee meeting will be Tuesday, May 17 at 2 p.m. in Town Hall. This is a “daytime” meeting for those who are unable to attend our regular meetings in the evenings. Additionally, this meeting is extra special because we are hosting a “Civics Day” for students for Florence M. Gaudineer School. The students will learn about town government, shadow department heads and finally join the Township Committee on the dais to “run” the meeting.

The agenda consists of routine business, such as approval of payroll and invoices, some department reports, and the adoption of a “housekeeping” ordinance to bring some language on the books up-to-date. There will be about 16 resolutions to be considered as well. A copy of the agenda is available at http://agenda.springfieldnj.us

– The second Township Committee meeting for may will be Tuesday, May 24th at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. This regular meeting will include adoption of the 2016 Municipal Budget.

Committeewoman Diane Stampoulos and I make up the Finance sub-committee this year and we spent countless hours in nearly a dozen meetings with our Administrator, CFO and Department Heads to make sure that this budget is responsible and minimizes the tax impact for every resident. How are your tax dollars spent? Why and how are spending decisions made? Come find out!

With the goal of greater openness and transparency in Springfield government, the Township Finance sub-committee invites the community to a 2016 municipal budget forum to ask questions and learn as much as possible about the Springfield municipal budget before it is adopted. The first public meeting was held on Tuesday, May 10th. The next public meeting is an “Evening Session” on Tuesday, May 24th at 6 p.m. before the Township Committee meeting. There will be a third and final public hearing before adoption of the budget. All meetings will be held in the Municipal Building (100 Mountain Avenue), 2nd Floor. If you are planning on attending, RSVP at http://bit.ly/SNJ16budget

ELECTION 2016

– It seems like town elections just happened and most of us already have presidential election fatigue. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to announce the newest candidate for Springfield Township Committee – Victoria Sarracino. More information about her will be coming this summer and fall.

Public Safety Volunteers Needed!

Media - Seal of Springfield (transparent)Like neighboring communities, Springfield relies on volunteers to provide critical public safety services and maintain a responsible municipal budget to stabilize taxes. Volunteers serve in the Office of Emergency, as FEMA CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members, as Auxiliary Police officers, as Firefighters and as First Aid Squad members.

Unfortunately, our volunteer numbers are low and so we are actively recruiting! Without volunteers, the municipal budget either increases or services elsewhere must be reduced/eliminated. If you have thought about serving as a volunteer Firefighter, Auxiliary Police Officer, CERT member, or First Aid Squad member then visit http://volunteer.springfield-nj.us sign up for more information and someone from Town Hall will reach out to you!

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