PG Mayor’s Statement, Re-Org Meeting January 4th, 2016
We’ve had a very eventful 2015. The year began with a harsh winter giving us both cold temperatures and a great deal of snow. Our DPW, Police, Fire and Rescue Squad crews met the challenge and there were no emergencies that could not be dealt with. Thank you to every person on those organizations for your efforts, ingenuity, and perseverance.
The summer was hot and dry, but that did not present any real problems for the town other than parched lawns. So far, we’ve had one of the warmest autumns in history with no snow and
as a result our town employees have had less to deal with than last year.
As for town business, we have finished 2015 with a full year running the Shared Court with Bedminster Township. Bernardsville has seen our successful court and they will join as a new,
three-town shared court in March 2016. Our borough will realize some additional savings as Bernardsville joins, albeit not as great as the initial court provided to us.
The new shared court will continue to have Judge Kathy Howes presiding, the Prosecutor will be Miles Winder, Esq., who happens to be the President of The NJ State Bar Association, and our
Public Defender will be Francesco Taddeo.
All activities for the shared court take place at the court facilities in the Bedminster Township Municipal complex.
Savings in this shared court services agreement accrue mainly from an elimination of duplicate manpower. This is working out to about $72,000+ per year for our borough.
Concerning our police services, we will begin using electronic ticketing where the officer will swipe a driver license and all information concerning the offense will transmit to the court
electronically. While we will need to buy some equipment to put this process in place, some efficiencies will be created as well as eliminating the potential for clerical errors.
Our senior van was in an accident in 2015 and thus retired. Our Borough Property Committee negotiated a shared services agreement with Bedminster where their van and driver are
available to our residents on an “as-needed” basis. Our borough pays Bedminster for each residential request and, again, this has resulted in savings.
The areas where Peapack & Gladstone participate in shared services are these: The Somerset Hills School District; Health services with Bernards Township, road work with Bedminster;
Senior Van Services, Municipal Court; and Sewer pumping with initial treatment services (STAB).
New Jersey Statutes permit and the State encourages shared services as a means of controlling expenses and remaining below the State-mandated two percent budget cap. Our Borough
Council will continue to explore and participate in such agreements whenever it makes sense for our community.
We have a new Councilman joining in 2016. Don Lemma has previous experience in IT services, law enforcement, government, and serving as a corporate officer of two Fortune 1000
companies. I look forward to his input in these areas since it is always a good idea to learn from others about how to deal with the same issues that we need to solve.
Since Don and others have been involved with our new IT committee, we have already realized savings in telephone service to the Borough. We now have WiFi throughout the Municipal
building, and we also utilize a server that simplifies our email communications. We also began using a new website for the Borough with its address being peapackgladstone.org
Our Finance Committee has simplified our budgeting process allowing us to construct the 2016 budget in a very timely manner easily arriving at a finished product for State approval before
During 2015 the borough issued a bond with an improved bond rating rising to Aa2.
The Borough Property Committee has sold the Komline house successfully in 2015 and those funds will be added to our budgetary reserves for future use. Also, the house located in Liberty
Park was repaired and painted.
Many areas of sidewalk have been repaired in 2015 which makes pedestrian travel much easier and safer. We also applied for and were granted funds to repave Mosle Road in the future.
Our Environmental Commission achieved a record turnout of volunteers to clean debris and invasive species from our stream and trails areas.
The Land Use Board successfully completed the required ten year review of our Master Plan. Work on the Master Plan continues with regard to The Gill School and Matheny.
Details are being worked out on a reconstruction and expansion of our library. Work should commence soon.
Bids will be requested shortly for completion of a meeting room above the Fire Department apparatus bay. Kitchen space will allow functions to take place there although parking is an
issue that we will need to deal with.
The Recreation Commission got the two tennis courts up and running along with the outdoor basketball court. The Summer Rec program was a great success.
Our Office of Emergency Management has acquired a surplus five- ton Army truck with the capability to ford deep water and climb over debris during an emergency situation. The truck
will be repainted, but the vehicle is in good repair and should cost little to maintain. It was secured at no cost to the town, and will avoid the necessity to use an expensive vehicle in
rescue situations. This acquisition had enthusiastic support from our first responders.
The Liberty Park Association is working to improve our park which is the centerpiece of our town. At this time no conclusions have been reached on what the finished project will look like
since it’s necessary to deal with several entities to learn what is possible. The LPA will ask what the residents wish the result to look like, and what the Department of Environmental
Protection might permit us to do. Because the Peapack Brook is a Trout breeding stream weface many restrictions on doing this project.
In order to pay for this project we will attempt to secure grants and use a portion of the Open Space Trust Fund.
Concerning 2016, your government will continue efforts to create efficiencies and cost reductions wherever and whenever possible. At the same time, we will endeavor to improve
services to the public and maintain the character of our town.
As I write this list of activities, I realize how much hard work and time our employees, elected officials, and volunteers have devoted to achieve these results. Good planning, coordination
and communication are required to get to the finish line. We are not always perfect, but I am in awe of the talent that is available in this town both among employees and volunteers. We are
As to volunteers for our various committees and commissions, we have a core group of perhaps one hundred people who give of their time and talent. If you have a desire to serve, and have
available talent and time, we would love for you to join the team. Some groups require regular meetings, others are less demanding. My experience has been that it will be a learning
experience that can be very interesting. Go to the website and email any Councilperson or myself to get involved.
Thanks for your support, best of health, happiness, and prosperity to everyone in 2016,
William C. Muller