Mayor’s Update February 2016
Annual State of Mendham Speech from Mayor Neil Henry delivered in January to the citizens of Mendham Borough
I would like to begin by thanking all of the Borough employees and volunteers who have helped us complete another successful year in Mendham Borough. Without them, we could not provide the high level of service our residents expect of their local government. CFO Sue Giordano and Borough Auditor Bud Jones deserve special recognition for the biggest employee accomplishment of 2015 - increasing our bond rating to a Triple A rating. This puts the borough in some very elite company in the state of New Jersey as we are one of only 20 towns or so who hold this rating.
Several other important accomplishments in 2015 included the following:
· The acquisition of Scott Farm located on Mountainside Road. Thanks to Rick Merkt, John Andrus and the entire Open Space Committee, after two years of diligent work we closed on this property in December 2015. Administrator Merkt secured the majority of the funding for this property from the County of Morris and the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority. The property will now be open for passive recreation by members of the public.
· The personnel committee, in conjunction with Administrator Merkt, updated the salary ordinance, borough’s job descriptions and employee handbook.
· A five-year deal was negotiated with our local PBA. The PBA also contributed an electronic score board for Borough Park which has been installed will be ready for use come the spring baseball season.
· Margot Kay, Borough Clerk, was appointed Municipal Clerk in the spring after successfully completing her certification courses. Her previous role as land use coordinator was reduced to a part-time role.
· The replacement of the fire house roof was completed.
· A contract was signed with Matrix LLC, a nationally recognized consulting firm based in Mountainview, CA, to assess the operational efficiencies of our police department. The results of this study are expected to be made available to the governing body and ultimately members of the public during the first quarter of 2016.
· The administration, led by Mr. Merkt, saved the Borough approximately $400,000 through a combination of grants, reductions in pension and health care costs, streamlining of open positions and finally, the retirement of the last pay phone in the town. This pay phone, located in the Garabrant Center, was costing the borough $1,000 to maintain.
2016 goals include:
· Adoption of a balanced budget
· Implementation of new accounting software
· Begin and possibly conclude a master plan re-examination
· Upgrade computer security at the Wastewater Reclamation Center
· Develop a repair plan for the Phoenix House
· Research the replacement of the borough telephone system
· Research barn and trail grants
· Reduce police department overtime
· Reduce police department security overtime by contracting with Chester Borough
· Explore the possibility of a shared service with Chester Borough for the position of wastewater superintendent/operator
· Update and upgrade the borough website
· Work with our neighbors in Mendham and Chester Township and Chester Borough and our counterparts on the local school board to determine the next steps in the potential de-regionalization of the West Morris Regional High School district.
The Mendham Borough Council continues to be a highly efficient and effective governing body. While there were differing viewpoints during 2015, council members were able to express their respective opinions while reaching agreements that benefited our Borough. This is what you elected us to do and I am extremely confident that we will continue to work together for the benefit of our community in 2016. As your Mayor, I will work diligently and do everything necessary to insure that this cooperative spirit continues.
I would like to close by asking all of our residents to take the time to consider serving on one of our many volunteer boards. Openings are available on the Planning Board, Board of Adjustment, Recreation Committee, Historic Preservation Committee and the Board of Health. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Borough Clerk Margot Kay, in the Phoenix House.
Mayor Neil Henry