Mayor’s Acceptance Speech – 2016
By Bob Petrelli
“My Corporate training has taught me that before giving any speech, one should consider the audience and the moment in time. Well, the audience here tonight is a well-informed, hard working, set of volunteers that give their personal time to the township for the betterment of all; the folks at home are a knowledgeable citizenry that demand that we think through all issues before us. Our moment in time is a significant inflection point in our township’s history.
Before us are a handful of significant issues that we, as a collective team, will not only deliberate upon, but also act upon:
The first is COAH, and I will not repeat the fact pattern from the administration’s excellent presentation in December. However, this issue will affect the township for years to come. With John and James riding point on this issue, we will make the best out of an unbounded handout to the developers.
The second is a community center, the administration and committee have been working with the BOE, the school district’s administration, and now the Jointure. These discussions have been ongoing for over a year and a half. Now is the time to put before the township a non-binding referendum to build a township community center. There is a significant demand for space from clubs, seniors, recreation, athletic teams, boy and girl scouts, etc. However, the price-tag for such a center is significant. It will certainly be millions of dollars. While the township committee has the power to construct such a center, we believe that a better way to handle this is to ask you, the well-informed voter, to buy into this construction. After all, it is your community center.
Third is succession planning and training. The face of the township, the folks that you all deal with, are the heart and soul of the town. Their dedication and hard work makes Branchburg a wonderful town to live in and enjoy. It is prudent to provide specific managerial training to our department heads and to review and develop our succession planning needs.
Fourth, ongoing litigation expenses (for COAH and other items) are signifficant. Depending on a host of variables, it may be hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2016. We will be looking for cost savings in an attempt to offset some of these expenses.
We all look forward to working these issues together and welcome your input as we continue our stewardship.