Residents of West Long Branch
Thank you for the continued public trust and support that you have given to me as your Mayor. I respect this position and consider it an honor and privilege to serve the residents of West Long Branch.
I would like to begin the New Year by congratulating Councilwoman Barbara Ruane and Councilman Steven Cioffi on their impressive reelection victories. It is a testament to their dedication and effectiveness as governing officials that they were reelected to office without opposition.
Barbara has served the Borough well as liaison to both the Fire and First Aid Departments. Her extensive knowledge and background in emergency management have definitely benefited the residents of West Long Branch. Barbara has also been an active participant in both the Police and Finance Committees as well. She is a bright, hard working and dedicated individual who is knowledgeable and fair when making decisions.
Steve has most recently served as liaison to the Public Works Department. He is a hands-on individual who supports all projects in town with enthusiasm, and dedication. Steve spends time gathering information for his committee reports as well as researching background which assists us in making important Boro decisions and policies. His background in law enforcement has been a beneficial means of support to our fine police department as well. Steve personally volunteered countless hours assisting with police dispatch services during the recent hurricane.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our other fine council members, John Aria, Fred Migliaccio, Chris Neyhart and Jose Villa. They devote countless hours to Boro business, without accepting any financial stipend. How fortunate we are that all of these individuals are willing to serve as true public servants.
I would like to congratulate all of the officials sworn into office today. On behalf of the residents of West Long Branch I thank you for the commitment that you are willing to offer by performing your volunteer positions with expertise and dignity.
How very fortunate we are that because of our outstanding volunteers on the Recreation, Shade Tree, and Environmental Commissions our residents can enjoy summer concerts, a summer recreation program, outdoor movies, recycling opportunities, a diminishing presence of Canadian geese, as well as a new butterfly garden in front of the Police Building. I personally want to thank all of you for the time that you devote.
Our Police Chief Arthur Cosentino will be retiring next month after serving the Boro faithfully for 37 years in law enforcement with the last 7 years as Chief. He personally demonstrated great leadership and expertise in helping to make our new Police Building a reality that will serve the needs of our community in this, the 21st century. Artie’s dedication and professionalism is truly appreciated and we wish him only the best in the years to come. He has been a loyal life long member of our community. We will be swearing in Captain Larry Mihlon as our new Chief next month. We look forward to his command as well. Larry is also a dedicated, knowledgeable police officer who cares about our Boro and has demonstrated prideful leadership of our fine Police Department.
The team effort demonstrated by all Boro personnel and volunteers during “Hurricane Sandy” this past October was outstanding! We were able to successfully address all of the issues that we could control. Fortunately West Long Branch successfully survived with minimal damage, unlike many surrounding towns. Our residents heeded police advice and secured personal property, remained off the roads and limited police calls so our emergency operation ran flawlessly. Our excellent Public Works Department, under Mr. Earl Reed’s supervision, amazed residents with the efficient and timely manner in which trees and debris were removed both during and after the storm. Unfortunately we had no control over the massive power outages that were experienced. We did our best to continually solicit any and all resources, as many of us were without power for over a week.
This continues to be a very difficult time for local government. We are forced to work within a budget that does not allow for increases in items that are needed to provide the services that our residents expect and are entitled to. We continually look for ways to save money through shared services and consolidation. In 2010 our library became a branch of the Monmouth County Library System saving approximately $400,000 a year that no longer has to be raised by WLB tax dollars. We now share police dispatch services with the Borough of Oceanport. We also currently rent court facilities from the Township of Ocean.
This year the Boro has again investigated and studied
many projects which will directly impact residents. We have recently entered into a shared service agreement with the city of Long Branch for our Building Department. Our present inspectors and staff tried their best to accommodate our residents. Many times this was quite difficult to accomplish as a part time office. This new arrangement will provide a full time staff to conduct inspections with daily appointments being available. We will no longer have to rent office space or pay salaries for part time inspectors in each of the required trade areas.
Last year we were mandated by the Monmouth County Tax Board to conduct a reevaluation of property values. This project will be completed this month. Residents will see their homes assessed to better reflect the current market values. However, we must continue to raise sufficient money to meet the needs of our Boro budget. We also plan to demolish our former Borough Hall at 95 Poplar Ave. After conducting a feasibility study, it was determined that it is too expensive to rehab the building due to water issues and the need to adhere to more stringent present day building codes.
In conclusion, I promise to continue to provide the same readily accessible, problem solving and responsive approach as your Mayor. My ultimate mission has always been to see that West Long Branch remains a great place to live and raise a family. It will also continue to be a safe place for our children as well. I will be working closely with school officials and the police to guarantee this. May each of you have a New Year full of love, good, health and peace.
GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU AND GOD BLESS AMERICA. MAY HE WATCH OVER THOSE 20 BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN AND 6 BRAVE ADULTS FROM NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT WHOSE LIVES WERE BRUTALLY TAKEN.