Sunday, January 24, 2010

Harvest Festival Back? .. kind of

For so many years, Denville enjoyed the St. Clare's Harvest Festival. It was a staple of the community. Well, this Fall it looks like we'll have a Fall Festival back in town. While I was at the Friends of the Library Book Sale yesterday at Town Hall, I bumped into former Township Administrator, Ellen Sandman. She informed me that St. Francis Residential Community has begun planning for a festival to benefit their community Sunday, October 3rd, 2010. It will be similar in spirit and activities as the St. Clare's Festival and on the same grounds. She also confirmed that I could post this news and start to spread the word. There will be more information to come.

This is great news for Denville. It will be a chance for our community to come together, help our downtown businesses and benefit a great organization, St. Francis.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Footage from the Jan. 5, 2010 Swearing In Ceremony

Here is some footage of the oaths of office taken by Tom Andes, Chris Golinski, myself and Don Kuser on January 5th, 2010.
Thanks to Fritz Mott for the footage available at Denville Community TV's YouTube Page.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Budget Workshops

One of the most important jobs of Denville Town Council is to work through, advise and approve the administration's municipal budget so that our local government can function. However, we can't do this without your input.

Our 2010 Budget Workshops have been tentaviley set and I hope you have an opportunity to attend some of them. Hopefully they won't be too long and/or boring for the public. I've sat through them as a public member and recognize sitting in our town hall crunching numbers isn't the most exciting thing to do on a Saturday. However, it is and important task and our community and tax dollars at stake so I hope you can be part of it.

The Worshops are Tentatively set for

Sat. Jan 30th, 2010 10:30am-12pm Town Hall
Discussing our Library, Police and Fire Department Budgets.

Sat. Feb 6, 2010 9am
Discussing Department of Public Works & Engineering
We will most likely discuss Road Paving at this session.

Tues. Feb 9, 2010 7:30pm
Discussing the Highlands Regional Plan

Sat, Feb 20, 2010 9am
Discussing the Operating Budget.

See you there.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Liaison to the Board of Education.

Our Town Council establishes liaison's to various committees and town groups. This year one of the groups I am liaison to is the Board of Education. I feel it's an important one because so much of our tax dollar is allocated to our schools. However, I am the liaison and not a member of the Board of Education so I believe in letting them do their thing. However, I will always try and be a voice for the education of our kids as well as being mindful of the costs associated with education. The BOE is also forming a Communications Committee to help keep information flowing to residents.

The Board of Education will also soon begin its budget process. At the end of last year the Board had a special session to educate all of us on the budget process. It's important for us to know how the budgets are prepared and what areas of the budget we have the most control of. I'm still constantly disheartened by the enormity of state restrictions on so many of our budgets. However, we still have to be very mindful and efficient to the areas we can control.

Take at the look at this presentation on the Board of Education Website.

Automated Water Meter Reading.

During our Council Workshop on January 13th, 2010 we were given a presentation by Sensus, an organization that provides automated Water Meter readings. While it is very early in the process, there is some investigation into enabling this in Denville.
There are many things to be investigated and discussed but in theory this seems like a good proposal for our town at some point.

As council, I will want to see more detail on the cost analysis and savings of such implementation, However it sounds like a good effecient opportunity. By state law, Utilities need to be a self-sustained fund. However, if we are more efficient in this department we might be able to better utilize resources in other areas of Public Works. I will be interested in more on this topic.

Friday, January 8, 2010

First Morris County Freeholders Meeting

I had a the opportunity to attend the first meeting of the Morris County Freeholders this week. Many dignitaries were in attendance including Governor-Elect Chris Christie who swore in the re-elected Freeholders. I also had a chance to share an elevator ride with him. Although we didn't really talk too much because he was being briefed on the evening ahead by his aides, it was great that he attended. Even though he had no idea who I was he did give me a big "hello" and "good to see you".

I do think the Morris County freeholders have done a good job. Especially last year when despite a huge decrease in revenue from the slowed real estate transactions and construction, the county freeholders did not increase the county tax. They have also pledged the same for this year, even hinting at a possible decrease. This has all been done with fiscal conservatism and not with financial gimmicks or tricks. They did it with efficient cuts, not devastating slashes of services or raiding surpluses.

I hope our Denville Town Council can use a similar approach. I can't promise a zero tax increase in Municipal taxes but I will do my best to push our Mayor and Administration to be continually cost-conscious. And as council person, I will work to approve a reasonable and responsible budget for our town to function.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Re-Organization Meeting & Role of the Council

Last night's council meeting was very ceremonial as many key positions and appointments were sworn into office. All resolutions were passed by the council which consisted of working with a temporary budget as well as recognition to Denville's Township Clerk, Donna Costello for her 30 years of service. A complete list of the resolutions passed on the consent agenda can be found in the official meeting minutes which will be posted to Denville's Municipal Web Site.

One of the most important roles of our Town Council is to pass the Administration's Municipal Budget. While the Municipal Budget is actually only about 18% of our total taxes, it key that we provide our community the best value of services for that cost.

I can not encourage enough that Ward 3 residents be part of the budget process. There will be several budget workshop meetings open to the public in the upcoming months. I will keep you updated via this site and hope to see you there.

-Gene Fitzpatrick

Monday, January 4, 2010

Council Re-Organization Meeting 1/5/10

Tuesday, Denville will have it's Township Re-Organization Meeting. Chris Golinski, Don Kuser and Myself will be sworn into office and Council Members. Tom Andes will also be re-sworn in as well.

The meeting's agenda will be mostly housekeeping type of things like Council Liaisons for Township Committee's as well as some resolutions to confirm Mayor's appointments, temporary budgets, etc.

But it will be an official public ceremony. I hope you can make it.