2018 State of the Borough
I want to thank the voters for returning me to office for the next four years. The confidence you have shown in me and in this Council is something I take very seriously. 2017 was a year fraught with challenges, but we met and overcame every obstacle. While it might be tempting to rest on one's laurels this year, it's just not my style.
Last year the Council Ordinance Committee and the Administration began the arduous task of rewriting our Zoning ordinance. While the Code has been modified in bits ahd pieces over the years, this is the first major overhaul since adoption of the original ordinance in the 1950s. We have devoted countless hours in meetings, discussions and through creation of drafts, devoting four meetings to definitions alone. I am hopeful to finish the review and update of the code and have it passed by years' end.
In 2009 we reduced our Police Department from 32 officers to 30, as part of the Christie Administration's effort to cut property taxes. Working with the PBA we kept the promise made at the start of 2017 and hired our 32nd officer at our most recent Council Meeting. We created the position of Special Officer as well and with our 2 specials the Borough will have the greatest manpower in the Department's history. Being located next to the 3rd largest city in New Jersey brings many challenges. Chief McAuliffe, our superior officers and our patrol officers do an outstanding job protecting our residents.
This year our Fire Department will make history installing the first female line officer. Our membership remains strong and we recently purchased a new engine to replace the engine used by Fire Company Three. Our Department continues to respond to the Borough of Glen Rock. While technically it is considered mutual aid, we are in fact first responders.
Our ambulance corps suffered a loss last year with the passing of Dan Vanderhook. Dan's service to the Borough was close to 45 years, and he will be missed. The Corps is capably led by Chief Ken Houtsma who is now the longest serving EMT in the Borough's history.
Our Department of Public works led by Director Robert Scully and Superintendent Ronnie Gonzalez continues to do an excellent job keeping are roads safe and our water pure. The men of our DPW are our unsung heroes, working at times under extreme temperatures both hot and cold. They make me proud on a daily basis.
I have the privilege of working the Borough's white collar workers daily. They are the face of the Borough and greet our residents with a friendly and respectful reception. They go out of their way to solve the problems of our residents. We saw the retirement last year of our long-time CFO Mary Jeanne Hewitt but have witnessed a seamless transition with Laurie Foley taking the reins. It is a testament to the team concept we have in this building and the people of this Borough are the beneficiaries.
Early this year we should see the completion of 2 major projects. The restoration of the former Decker Dodge site at 300 Lincoln Avenue should help revitalize the area and promises to attract new businesses to town. The transformation from an abandoned property to an attractive ratable was due to working with the property owner and discussing alternatives to a car wash. The second was a project approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Hawthorne Square. It is a rental property that will transform an industrial area into apartments. While I would have preferred an industrial use, there just wasn't any viable industrial tenants available.
We are working with a nearby business owner to hopefully put the Pyrolac property back on the tax rolls, and we are negotiating with the owners of 204 Wag to make better use of their property as well. We continue to insist that those responsible for the condition of the Pan Chemical site complete an environmental clean-up so that this eyesore can be restored to proper use.
In 2017 we completed Phase One of our Downtown Streetscape Project. We will continue to apply for grants to continue to beautify our downtown.
2018 will mark the 10th Hawthorne Day celebration. The committee is working hard to make it a memorable day. We will continue to observe National Night Out in August and once again it will be at our Band shell. Speaking of our Band Shell, if you haven't enjoyed a summer concert, then you're missing out on small town living at its best. Try to make it a point to attend one of this year's concerts.
My door is open to all residents to come in and share ideas and problems. Through the years I've come to realize that you learn more from listening than speaking. Some great ideas have come from residents, including putting a handicapped parking space next to the ramp at the post office.
Lastly, I want to thank the Borough Council for their support. We work well together because we have a common goal of doing what's best for Hawthorne and its residents.
May God bless you, May God bless Hawthorne and may God bless the United States of America.
Mayor Richard S. Goldberg