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A Message from Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr

Here is the Mayor's quarterly message to the people of Fanwood.

As we come together in our time-honored tradition of attending our beloved Memorial Day Parade on Monday May 28th, we should thank the SPF Memorial Day Parade Committee for their efforts, in particular Fanwood resident Bobby Camisa, Councilman Anthony Parenti and Scotch Plains Councilman Kevin Glover.

This year marks the start of a new tradition of paying tribute to the men and women who have served in the armed forces by presenting a patriotic concert on Sunday May 27th on the north lawn of our historic train station. I hope you will join me and my family as the Westfield Community Band plays those stirring songs that remind us of our pride to be living in the United States of America. T

his free concert is a reminder that Memorial Day is a remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation, not simply a vacation to the beach or a barbeque with friends

On May 29th Borough Hall will begin “summer hours”; opening each morning at 7:30 a.m. instead of 8, and closing at Noon on Fridays. Monday through Thursday closing time will remain at 4 p.m., and on Thursdays, evening hours will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Very soon the Borough will be introducing the added convenience of accepting credit cards payments.  Look for details on the Borough website in the coming months.

All the chatter about a consolidation of Fanwood with Scotch Plains seems to have quieted down. Thank heavens! But we continue to meet regularly with Scotch Plains on details surrounding a potential merger of our police departments and I am pleased to see their renewed interest and sense of urgency in moving this important discussion along. I will be the first to admit it is slow. But perhaps it is right to be slow.

This is not the kind of project that I want to push through without having addressed every imaginable scenario – we must get it right and we will. I am fortunate to have a willing partner in Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo and a bipartisan Council that understands that we need property tax relief.  

A key driver for this study has been understanding the escalating financial pressures from Trenton. In cutting state funding, while limiting our options to act, by imposing caps and accepting the reality that small towns in NJ are under assault for their very survival, it forces us to re-think how we deliver every service to you.     

Under these circumstances, local government requires leaders to examine every service we provide for cost efficiency. Our latest shared service success, thanks to the good work of Councilman Parenti, is an agreement with the City of Linden to provide Fanwood with animal control services. This change will save real dollars in the 2012 budget also improving service by cutting response time.  No matter the size of the expense, in Fanwood we scrutinize every penny.

By now you’ve noticed that the scaffolding is down and sidewalks are under construction at the Fanwood Crossing building. This fall we anticipate reviewing the application for the neighboring building on the former Sovereign Bank and Livingston Wilbor sites on South Avenue. I am hopeful that by spring 2013 the framing will be up and we’ll see exactly how the finished South Avenue will look. 

We’ve received a SmartGrowth grant to help us design street crossings and do some façade improvements. It’s hard to believe this is all finally coming together.  It’s taken a tremendous amount of work, but our new downtown is beginning to reveal itself!

I wish to bid a fond farewell to two of our senior police officers who retired last month. Sergeant Tom Jedic and Patrolman Joe O’Neill both left us after decades of fine service. Also retiring is long-time Public Works employee Joe Ferraro. After many years of service Joe has decided to hand in his rake for a hunting cap, so come fall he’ll be living his dream!

Fanwood has been well served by these three men and they deserve our best wishes. They have spent years keeping our community safe and in good working order. When someone stays with a job for decades it’s more than a job – and I know that was true for all three retirees. I wish them all the best for happy days ahead.

As you scan through the latest issue of The Fanwoodian, you will see many activities that will keep our children occupied. Be sure to review the newsletter for offerings from the Fanwood Memorial Library and the Recreation Commission. Hats off to our recreation staff – the summer programs just get better and better: And it’s not all about the kids – we have plenty of offerings for senior citizens as well.

To keep abreast with the latest activities,  remember to check the borough website at www.fanwoodnj.org, and please consider signing up for weekly “E-Blasts.”  Each Friday you will receive a summary e-mail of the weeks news and events.

I wish you the best of health and happiness for the summer of 2012 and hope to see you at the Memorial Day Concert on the 27th and parade on the 28th. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

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