January 2, 2017
I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year. As we get older the Healthy part of that becomes more meaningful. We have new and returning council members and I know in my heart that each one of them is here on behalf the best interests of our Borough residents.
We have our first brand new Senior Citizen transport vehicle. All the others were hand-me-downs. As our Seniors come to depend on this service more and more, we are looking to improve it. Thanks to our Recycling Committee, we are all becoming better recyclers, which increases our revenues in that area and makes New Milford a better citizen in the environmental world. Our Historic Preservations Commission recently awarded two beautiful NM homes an award of distinction for their initiative in maintaining the history of their homes. Our Library is a world of wonder to me. Please visit and take advantage of all they have to offer.
There are many employees and volunteers who make this town what it is and I am humbled to be your Mayor. Rest assured that my decisions are based on fact and research and I would never agree or disagree with any member based on their party affiliation. As has been said by others there is no Democrat or Republican way to plow snow.
It is my intent to work together as a team, even if there are points that we may disagree on. As long as the goal is to best serve the public we can't go wrong.
Let us welcome Councilman Ira Grotsky to the Governing Body. Thank you to Senator Bob Gordon who did the swearing in at Monday's meeting.
The meeting also included a very important conversation outlined below.
We began the presentation on our current COAH (Council on Affordable Housing) obligation which involves the Suez/United Water Property near the High School. This discussion started many years ago and has evolved through the years and has a long history. What is certain is the Affordable Housing Obligation needs to be met as ordered by the NJ Supreme Court Mt. Laurel decision. Our obligation was "parked" on this property in previous Master Plans.
Recently, New Milford was made a Defendant in three separate lawsuits which have since been consolidated. Amongst other things, the lawsuits challenge the zoning board’s denial of NMRA’s application to construct a Shop Rite, bank and 24 apartments at the property, and our unmet affordable housing obligation. I would like to recap what our three current options are:
OPTION A - Do nothing and let the Judge decide. Make no mistake that the do nothing option does not mean that nothing will happen. It is quite likely that the Judge will grant the application based on the COAH obligation. This would probably result in the Shop Rite, the Bank, and the 24 units of affordable housing which would go toward our unmet needs. There would be no 10 year repose on future obligations. This scenario would leave New Milford vulnerable to more builder’s remedy lawsuits by developers.
OPTION B - For the past several months, at the court's insistence, we have been meeting with the developer in committee* in an attempt to reach a settlement. After these meetings we have crafted a draft proposal which was presented. This proposal includes a Shop Rite, a Bank, and the transfer of 1/3 of the property to the Borough of New Milford for use as a recreation field. This proposal calls for a graded field with ample drainage to control up to a 50 year storm event. In addition to the transfer of property the developer will contribute $750,000 earmarked entirely for the development of the field. There is an offer of another $50,000 for maintenance. The developer will also transfer a new paved parking lot to service the field. The housing element would be moved to the property where the current Shop Rite exists and it would become a mixed use small retail and housing complex which would include 135 units, including the 27 affordable units (similar to what is proposed in Option A). In this agreement we would provide New Milford a 10 years repose from any further COAH obligation.
OPTION C - High density housing. No one can say how many units would be approved, since the COAH rules are still in flux. This property is currently zoned residential and could remain 100% residential. In that scenario our COAH obligation increases in order to meet the mandated percentages. It is likely to be a mid-rise apartment building with between 350 - 500 units. As a rule each 100 units includes 20 units of affordable housing. For example 400 units would include 80 units toward our unmet need. There is no assurance of the 10 year repose.
I am certain that you don't like any of these options. Neither do I. As your Mayor I must guide the Governing Body to a decision. The court is pressing us for a decision. We will have a special meeting on December 12, 2016 at 7PM to discuss this matter, which was presented to the public at our November 28th meeting.
There are many moving parts to any one of these options. There are Planners and Engineer's reports that have yet to be examined with regard to the obvious questions of flooding, traffic, lighting, landscaping, increased student enrollment, our precious heritage trees on River Road, and many other issues (including COAH) that are present in all three options.
However, we need to make a decision now as to which path we will take. I welcome your input at the meeting. If you prefer I am always available via email. firstname.lastname@example.org
* The Borough committee included Mayor Ann Subrizi, Councilman Al Alonso, Councilwoman Hedy Grant, Borough Administrator Christine Demiris, Borough Attorney Mark Madaio, Planning Board Attorney Marc Liebman and at times our Planner, Paul Grygiel.
Proclamation of Peace and Unity
Since our nation was founded, American prosperity has been fueled by the recognition that we are stronger as a nation when we work together. Our nation and our state’s success has always been the product of our unique capacity to welcome the contributions and spirit of entrepreneurship of all people – immigrants and native-born – who seek to achieve the American dream. Regardless of race, gender, creed, or country of origin, we are joined in the values of hard work and give thanks for the shared opportunity that defines us as residents and volunteers of New Milford
At no time in our state’s history has the need to work together been more necessary, and it is important that New Milford join in this spirit of welcoming and to embrace the talents and contributions of all residents. In a 21st century economy, we must create communities that leverage the full potential of all who live here. We must capitalize on diverse perspectives, cultures and talents as the most valuable assets in an economy where knowledge, creativity and innovation reap the greatest benefits, and becoming a more welcoming community means more customers for our local businesses and a thriving economy that benefits us all. Building communities that welcome all also speaks to our deepest values as Americans and to our greatest aspirations for prosperity and economic growth. By recognizing the contributions that we all make to create a vibrant culture and a safe environment, we make New Milford more welcoming to all who call it home.
This day, let us give thanks for the spirit of unity that brings together our residents of New Milford. I ask you to review your commitment to our core American values and to take action in the spirit of unity. Let us come together to build a New Milford where every resident has the opportunity to contribute at his or her best. Let us come together to create a more prosperous and safe community.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ann Subrizi, Mayor of the Borough of New Milford, by virtue of the authority vested in me, do hereby proclaim today and every day to be a day of peace and unity in our town.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have offered my signature on this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen.
Mayor Ann Subrizi
November 20, 2016
Police Station Ground Breaking Ceremony
I would like to welcome Two Brothers, along with the return of Rob Conley, to the New Milford Family and we are ready to go with our new Police Station. The discussions and the planning which has gone on for many years has finally reached the stage where we are really about to start.
As we break this ground on September 12, 2016 it is impossible not to think back to 15 years and one day ago when the ground that broke became Ground ZERO. Fifteen years ago and for some time thereafter petty politics went on vacation. There was a flow of patriotism and flag waving that has dwindled over time. Politics has played a role in getting us to this moment but now that we are here I would like to move forward with the wonderful project that will enhance the safety and security of our residents and give our first responders the tools they need to do their job.
Mayor Subrizi requested this letter be shared with all Residents of New Milford:
July 18, 2016
Dear New Jersey leader,
Now that summer is here, many of our customers are thinking about beaches, barbecues and perhaps a long-awaited vacation with their families – and rightly so. While customers are enjoying all that summer has to offer, the last thing on their minds is heating their homes this winter. Nevertheless, I am pleased to report that we’ve proposed to lower residential gas bills by another 7.4 percent on October 1, meaning customers will save even more this winter – on average, $64 per year.
Feeling good about gas bills
PSE&G residential customers can feel good about the fact that they’ve paid about 20 percent less for gas than other utilities in the region over the past two years. In our annual filing with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), PSE&G proposed to reduce its basic gas supply rate to 34 cents from 40 cents – the lowest rate in 16 years. To put this proposed rate reduction into perspective, in 2009 PSE&G’s gas supply rate was $1.19 per therm. This year that rate would drop to 34 cents per therm. That is a huge savings – good for customers and the economy of the state.
Utility work ahead
I’d like to offer a sincere thank you to the municipal officials across our service area who are supporting our efforts to upgrade our natural gas infrastructure and inspect meters for safety. This year alone, we are performing safety inspections on gas meters in 87 towns, and working in 144 towns to replace aging cast iron and unprotected steel gas mains.
The mains and service lines are being replaced with strong, durable plastic piping, which is much less likely to have leaks and release methane gas. The new elevated pressure systems also enable the installation of excess flow valves that automatically shut off gas flow if a service line is damaged, and provide better support for the use of high-efficiency appliances. This is important work that will ensure the continued safety and reliability of natural gas service now, and for the future.
We’re ready for the summer heat
This summer PSE&G customers are benefiting from significant infrastructure investments that are in service for the first time this year. Much of the work was completed as part of our $1.2 billion Energy Strong program to protect our facilities from severe weather. Notable projects completed since last summer include protecting, raising or rebuilding six substations and switching stations; installing smart grid technology to better monitor system operations and increase our ability to more swiftly deploy repair teams at 65 substations; and completing 149 projects that address critical facilities, including hospitals, water treatment plants, telecommunications facilities and police stations.
In addition to these electric distribution upgrades, PSE&G energized two transmission reliability projects that will maintain reliability by relieving congestion on other regional transmission systems. A third major upgrade is scheduled to come on line this month. These investments in transmission and distribution facilities – along with our highly trained and skilled workforce – are what keep PSE&G among the most reliable utilities in the nation, year after year.
Grid-connected solar serves the greater good In May, we filed a request with the NJBPU for an extension of our Solar 4 All® program. If approved, the extension will allow PSE&G to invest another $275 million to design and construct an additional 100 megawatts-dc of grid-connected solar capacity on landfills and brownfields in its New Jersey electric service territory. We expect that the extension would create approximately 575 direct jobs in New Jersey during construction time.
Unlike privately owned solar systems on homes, our Solar 4 All® projects are connected directly to the electric grid and are 40 percent less expensive per watt than a residential solar project. And all customers share the benefits of these large solar farms. We expect that our filing, if approved, will help bring the solar credit market back into balance at lower prices. This is a good thing since all customers pay for these credits, or SRECs, that help subsidize residential solar projects.
Thank you for this opportunity to update you on some of the projects under way at PSE&G to maintain and improve the energy services on which New Jersey residents and businesses rely.
I hope you enjoy the summer months, and know that the men and women of PSE&G will do everything they can to continue to provide safe, reliable electric service now and for many years to come.
January 4, 2016
From Mayor Subrizi at the Re-Organization Meeting
Welcome to New Milford 2016 Mayor and Council. We welcome Councilwomen Thea Sirocchi- Hurley and Hedy Grant. It is with good wishes that we say good bye to Councilmen Mike Putrino and Austin Ashley and we thank them for their years of service. I hope that as this important year moves forward that this 2016 council will be able to work together. I urge this council to consider all options and vote what is best for the residents of New Milford. We have many important issues facing us, as always, and we must always decide what is best for all.
We begin the year with remodeled Firehouses at Company 1 & Company 2. Firemen put themselves in harm's way whenever they answer a call. There was no reason for them to risk their personal safety in their own firehouses. We are happy to have corrected the deficiencies and the NMFD buildings are now equipped to sustain the needs of present and the future.
After three years of planning and discussions, we are ready to begin work on our new Police Station, which was needed in order to bring our police headquarters into modern day compliance with prescribed standards and create safe conditions for all of our policemen, as we have done for the firemen. I understand that not everyone is happy with the plan, but as Mayor I have found it is hard (almost impossible) to please everyone. I am looking forward to breaking ground in the spring and I will look for everyone's support as we move forward..
The other hot topic on everyone's mind is the introduction (once again) of the idea that we need the addition of a turf field that will augment our facilities at our Recreation & High School areas. This discussion has just begun and it will continue this year. If you look at other towns that have turf fields it is easy to see that the conversation will be full of supporters and detractors. I will ask that everyone involved treat each other with mutual respect for each other's opinion. We will get the facts and the costs sorted out and report back to the public with our progress.
While the Police and Fire Department have gotten a lot of attention lately, I want to thank our other first responders, the Police Auxiliary team and the NM Volunteer Ambulance Corp. They annually contribute thousands of hours of volunteer service. We also have a new OEM department and on behalf of our OEM coordinator I urge you to go to the Borough website and sign up for Swift Reach. In addition to emergency matters you will receive timely text and/or email and notices about construction detours and other Borough information considered urgent. Our reverse 911 phone system is also still in use if you still choose to receive a phone call to your home phone.
Speaking of road and construction detours, we are reaching the end of our Energy Strong project which has included the installation of thousands of feet of new gas mains and improved connections to the households involved. The question I am most often asked has to do with the repair of the roads. Energy Strong has pledged to return our roads to what they were before they started and we have pledged our cooperation to integrate our annual road program, in order to maximize our improvements. We hope you will see the results as soon as weather permits.
New Milford has and will continue to be a small town with an amazingly active group of great volunteers. I am grateful and humbled to be your Mayor. I am available to all residents by phone and by email to help and/or answer questions. Please check in with our updated web site for contact information.
Lastly, our thoughts are with our servicemen and women, here and overseas. I pray that they stay safe and return to their families. And we thank our veterans who have already sacrificed a great deal so that we can be free.
On behalf of the entire council, we wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year!
MAYOR SUBRIZI'S OPENING REMARKS AT THE
CHRISTMAS TREE and MENORAH LIGHTING December 6, 2015
Welcome to all and special thanks to the NMHS band led by Heidi Kolb, to the Girl Scouts who always entertain us and bring us so much joy, and to the Public Events Committee for putting this wonderful evening together.
It is customary at this time to thank all of our volunteer emergency service personnel. The fire departments, the ambulance corp and the auxiliary police contribute many volunteer hours to our town to help keep you safe and healthy. Our thanks is never enough but it is offered at this most appropriate moment.
NM Volunteer Fire Department = 436 calls NM Volunteer Ambulance Corp = 1600 calls NM Police Auxiliary = 3000 hours
I have a special acknowledgement for the NM Police Department. When a police department is successful at their job no one notices. When a police department is unsuccessful at their job everyone notices. We are fortunate to have the type of police department that goes about their daily work, largely unnoticed. However, the NMPD is on the job 24 hours a day 365 days per year and it is because of their hard work that you feel safe in your homes and in our town.
This year our Borough Council has added a Menorah to our celebration. The recognition of Hanukkah is particularly special this year, as today is the first day of Hanukkah. The Festival of Lights celebrates the triumph of light over darkness. More than 21 centuries ago a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth and drove them from their Holy Land to reclaim their Temple in Jerusalem. As they attempted to light the Menorah they found they only had enough oil for a one-day supply. Miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days. Thus, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and nights. Tonight we will light the first candle.
On this night we would like to express the joys of Christmas and Hanukkah in this combined celebration. And we wish all people of all faiths health and happiness at this joyous time of year.
Dear Mayor Subrizi,
The Hirschfeld Brook Flood Control Project was recognized as a winning entry in the 2015 Municipal Engineering Project of the Year Awards Program by the New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers. This prestigious award will be presented at the Society's luncheon held on November 18th during the New Jersey League of Municipalities Annual Conference in Atlantic City.
The study and resulting design of the improvements and widening of the Hirschfeld Brook channel was necessitated due to flooding conditions experienced by homeowners and public properties during storm frequencies slightly greater than the 25-year storm events.
The successful completion of this project required the collaborative effort of various stakeholders within the municipality - i.e. New Milford's Mayor Ann Subrizi, the Borough Council, Dr. Stephen T. Boswell, P.E., affected property owners, and environmental interest groups throughout the design and construction in order to ensure the goals of the project were met in a cost effective and environmentally sensitive manner.
The beneficial effects of the project were realized through an immediate reduction in the frequency and intensity of the flooding that had long been a serious problem within the northwestern portion of the Borough. The flood control project has dramatically improved the quality of life for the local residents in this area and has enhanced the water quality of the Hirschfeld Brook.
From John Cassetta, Boswell Engineering
Ann Subrizi, Mayor