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Readington Applauds Hurricane Sandy Volunteers
Mayor Julia C. Allen Comments - Township Governing Body Reorganization, January 2013
At our first meeting of the New Year, we generally take a few minutes to look back at events and accomplishments of the year that has just passed.
Of course, when we look back at 2012, we immediately think of Super Storm Sandy. It was the worst storm our area, and the entire Northeast, has ever experienced. Our hearts go out to those here in New Jersey that still try to recover from this devastating storm. After two months of a massive cleanup effort, Readington is pretty much back to normal. I would like to thank Mayor Auriemma for his hard work in leading the effort that made this possible. I would also like to thank him for publishing such a nice article in the January edition of the Readington News, appropriately thanking both the Readington Township employees and the many Township volunteers who worked round the clock to ensure our residents safety in the weeks following the storm. Readington was fortunate to have gotten help with debris cleanup from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
We can look back on some good news in 2012, as well:
Readington Township welcomed a new Township Committee member, Bettyann Fort.
The Township was pleased that Township resident and former Committee member Donna Simon sworn in as Assemblywoman from the 16th district.
Our new Recreation Director, Gabrielle Bolarakis, completed her first full year. She has expanded the offerings of the Recreation Department and continued our Township’s many successful recreation programs.
Three of our police officers were commended for being first responders that saved the life of a Township resident who had suffered a heart attack, through their quick and effective action.
At Readington’s annual volunteer dinner, the Township’s CERT team received the honor of Volunteers of the Year. The Township’s Board of Education members were deservedly commended as well as Volunteers of the Year.
Readington was cited by the State for its achievements in the Municipal Farmland Preservation PIG Program.
Our new recycling program, instituted in 2012, appears to be a program everyone is happy with! Raritan Valley Disposal supplied each residence with a big blue recycling bin, and then collects all the “single stream” recycling items every two weeks at no cost to residents. As a result, the volume of recyclables has gone way up and the amount of garbage headed for landfills has decreased considerably. It has been a win-win for residents, for the Township and for RVD.
The Ryland Inn, a historic Township landmark in the village of Whitehouse, reopened with a gala celebration this fall, after being closed for almost five years. Under the new ownership of Landmark Hospitality, the Ryland Inn’s future looks bright. It has been renovated to serve as an upscale restaurant and new improvement plans will soon make it a popular wedding destination once again, as well.
Two new Senior Citizen Developments on Route 22 in Whitehouse were underway in Readington in 2012. Country Classics added a second apartment building with 26 units. Fallone Construction broke ground
for the first phase of larger senior development featuring single family homes.
Also out on Route 22, Hunterdon Hills Animal Hospital is undergoing construction, enlarging and modernizing a long time business in Whitehouse Station.
One piece of news in 2012 shocked us all. This was the news that Merck Pharmaceutical Company had decided to move its world headquarters from Readington Township to Summit. Readington Township will be working with Merck and State representatives to help find a suitable buyer for the large office building that had served as the company’s world headquarters for the last 20 years.
Another surprise for 2012 was that the overall tax rate for homeowners in our Township did not rise in 2012. This was the result of the combined efforts of the County, the Township and the two school districts to hold the line on taxes.
It is anticipated that 2013 will be a challenging tax year for Readington Township, in part because of expenses incurred in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. Readington will, however, be looking to reduce duplication of services and debt in order to hold the line on local property taxes.
So, what will we be looking forward to in 2013? Simply put, we want to continue our past successes.
We can attribute the Township’s success to many important factors;
We are lucky to enjoy a great quality of life as residents of Readington Township. We are lucky to have a staff of very professional and
dedicated municipal employees in each and every one of the departments of our municipal government.
Essential to the quality of life that we all enjoy is the benefit of the dedication and hard work of a small army of municipal volunteers, working in so many different areas of municipal service. We are grateful to all those that agree to serve on the various Boards and Committees. We enjoy so many events and activities that volunteers make possible, for example, the Readington Museums Programs, the Readington Community Garden, the Readington Community Theater, the Memorial Day Parade, Community Day, the multitude of Township recreation activities, the Readington Dog Park, the monthly Open Space Walks, the annual Holiday Tree Lighting, and the Seventh Grade Walk in the Woods. Volunteer’s whose service is essential to our resident’s safety includes the CERT Team and the members of the fire and rescue companies.