Scholarship opportunity for HS Seniors

Here is a scholarship opportunity for high school seniors serving in a branch of public safety, or whose a parent is actively serving or retired from a public safety capacity in Morris County.

Visit http://200clubofmorriscounty.com/scholarship.html for full details.

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Scholarships Available for Eligible High School Seniors

The 200 Club of Morris County is pleased to announce our 2018 Scholarship Awards Program.

Scholarships are awarded on a one-time basis for the 2018-2019 academic year. Award criteria includes academic performance, community service, extracurricular activities and financial need.

The Scholarship Committee will review and approve applications impartially with no knowledge of the applicants’ identities.

Announcement of the awards is made in mid-April followed by an Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at The Zeris Inn in Mountain Lakes.

Qualifications

Applications will be limited to high school seniors who have a parent actively serving Morris County in a law enforcement / public safety capacity, or whose parent has retired and has satisfied their agency’s retirement eligibility requirements, or are themselves in one of the following branches of law enforcement or public safety:

• Police and Law Enforcement, including Federal and State
  agencies
• Fire Department (including volunteer fire fighters)
• Volunteer Ambulance Corps/First Aid Squads

ELIGIBILITY

Eligibility is limited to the children of law enforcement and public safety personnel or high school seniors engaged in the branches reflected under our Qualifications.

State Police eligibility is restricted to those who live or have their primary assignment in Morris County. Children of personnel working in clerical or other non-related public safety duties are not eligible.

Likewise, children of members of The Two Hundred Club of Morris County are not eligible.

All eligible students may apply without regard to race, religion, color or gender.

Reorganization Meeting update from Mayor Hoven

The Borough Mayor and Council held its Reorganization Meeting on Tuesday, January 2.  Committees were formed for the upcoming year and Councilwoman Liz Gugliemini was elected Council President by her fellow Council members.  We are looking forward to a productive 2018!

Reorganization Meeting Remarks, Mayor Janet Hoven January 2, 2018:

“2017 was an extremely productive year for the governing body of Chester Borough.  The Council, Administration and Professionals are all to be commended for their efforts in making the Borough and even better place to work, play and live!

The year started out with the implementation of an inter local service agreement contracting with Chester Township for police services for the Borough.  The integration of the two forces was executed seamlessly though the efforts of our Chief of Police Tom Williver and our former interim administrator Bob Casey. Those two individuals took the ball from then Chester Township Mayor Bill Cogger and his Council and myself and the Borough Council and established a framework for increased coverage and the same as or quicker response times for our residents and businesses.  In the 2018 budget, the Borough will realize a reduction in its operating expenses as a direct result of the savings derived from the agreement.

Another highlight of the year was the Council’s approval of a feasibility study to determine if an expansion of the current sewer system would be possible. This effort will continue into 2018.  Working with our sewer consultants, the Highlands and the DEP, we are hopeful we will have a workable solution by the end of 2018.

Each of the standing council committees was able to make improvements to the Borough, either through new or amended ordinances and changes in our procedures and practices. 

The Ordinance Committee, worked very hard on a new deer management program that allows Borough residents to hunt on municipally owned land.  Liz Gugliemini and Gary Marshuetz served on the committee.

Personnel recommended a change in the benefits for permanent part time employees, particularly in the area of paid vacation days and holidays, an idea which had been discussed for awhile.  Tim Iversen and Karen Ferrone are on that committee.

The sewer committee, Russ Goodwin and Kyle Holman, met with the sewer consultants and monitored the performance of our existing plant this year, especially the videotaping and smoke testing of the current system.

In accordance with our inter local agreement with Chester Township for police, Karen Ferrone and Liz Gugliemini met quarterly with the Chief of Police in order to provide the governing body with an update on police services.

Online payments for property taxes, sewer, solid waste and the pool are now available to residents and/or users or members.  This initiative was part of the finance committee, whose members were Gary Marshuetz and Tim Iversen.

Continual communication with our key stakeholders, primarily the Historic Chester Business Association and the Chester Merchants Association, was handled by Kyle Holman and Russ Goodwin.  Between introducing themselves to new merchants and monitoring events in the Borough, they kept busy.

Per the Borough ordinance, the Mayor serves on all standing committees.

In an effort to readapt and reuse, the light fixtures from the old municipal building at 300 Main Street were refurbished by our Department of Public Works and reinstalled at the new municipal building at 50 North Road.  DPW, under the supervision of Scott Beam, continues to do an outstanding job maintaining the Borough facilities and roads, all in a fiscally responsible manner.

Much work was done this year in the area of technology, to the credit of our Clerk/Assistant Administrator Denean Probasco.  A new firewall, continued off site back up, a virtual private network, rewiring of the offices and soon a new wireless system were all spearheaded by Denean.

With the retirement of the Borough’s long time court administrator, Sharon Alpaugh, the Borough hired Lisa Conover as the new administrator.  Lisa and her staff run an extremely efficient court.  Our shared court with Mendham Borough continues to save both municipalities money in court operations.

The finance department of Helene Turner, Kellie Macguire and Jerry Shammas has implemented best practices in all areas of municipal finance, from proper Purchase Order issuances, to escrow accounts to implementing online bill payment.  Kellie did an outstanding job with pool memberships and operations.

The Board of Health amended an ordinance which allows for a more expeditious turnaround for a septic failure and we thank Nancy Shay for assistance with the Board.

The Land Use Board has embarked on a review of ordinances that pertain to applications and site reviews.  Under the guidance of Kerry Brown and our Borough engineer, Paul Ferraro, a new Checklist ordinance will soon be forwarded to the Council for consideration, and discussions continue on the review of other ordinances relating to applications.

Our tax collector, Toni Theesfeld had a most successful year.  Toni works for the Borough under a shared service agreement with Chester Township.  The Borough had no tax sale this year which is amazing. 

Thanks, too, to our municipal attorney, Brian Mason.  Brian is always available to answer questions and give guidance on all matters pertaining to the Borough.  Along with his partner, Lisa Thompson, Brian keeps the Borough out of the court house!

One of our biggest accomplishments this year was the hiring of Marvin Joss as our Administrator.  I’m sure you would all agree that the level of professionalism and knowledge brought to the Borough by Marvin will make the Borough run even more efficiently.

As for 2018, I see many of the initiatives begun in 2017 to continue, especially the exploration of the expanded sewer system.

Affordable housing and the Borough’s affordable housing quota will continue to be a challenge, especially municipal funding obligations.

Finding volunteers to serve on committees in always difficult, as we can see currently with our Recreation Commission.  We all need to be looking for residents who might be open to serving as a committee or commission member.

Vacancies on both Main Street and in our malls continue to be of concern.  The reviewing of Land Use ordinances and amendments as necessary should benefit property owners and tenants alike.  I will ask the Community Relations committee to make it a priority this year to work with our zoning officer to determine the types of businesses we currently have in the Borough and the types we would like to have in the Borough.

In the last three years we have made much progress on the improvement of our roads.  Discussions will be on an upcoming agenda to determine what roads we would like to include in our capital plan for 2018.  Additionally, as a governing body we need to determine the needs of this municipal complex and put together a capital plan not only for this building, but all of the Borough’s assets, including the pool complex.

It continues to be an honor to serve the Borough as Mayor.  It’s a challenge to keep the small time community feel to our town, buts its one that I feel we are all willing to accept.  The Borough is a special place to live, work and play and I am committed to do my very best to keep it that way!”

Morris County Strategic Planning process seeks input

The Board of Chosen Freeholders for Morris County has initiated a Strategic Planning process for the county. The goal is to “protect and preserve the quality of life of all Morris County, and ensure the effective, efficient and ethical stewardship of tax dollars.”
Please consider completing the survey found on the link below. Additionally, Chester Borough Mayor Janet Hoven was appointed by the Freeholders to serve on the Strategic Planning Committee. Should you wish to reach out to her with ideas or comments, please email her at jhoven@ChesterBorough.org

Leaf Pickup extended until Dec. 1

LEAF REMOVAL

Leaf pickup has been extended to December 1st. Leaves must be out before 8 am on December 1st for pickup. This is for leaves only.  Brush pickup ended on October 13th.  There will be another pick up in the spring.

Leaf pick up is only for residential properties. No mixed use or commercial proprieties will be picked up; leaves need to be removed immediately.

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Please place leaves in piles behind the curb line.  Leaves should not extend more than 2 feet into the street.

Leaves cannot be closer than 10 feet from the storm drain as per NJDEP regulations.

Leaves will NOT be picked up if: put in bags, mixed with grass, sticks or garden debris.

Leaves that are not picked up due to non-compliance with the above will become the responsibility of the homeowner.    

Larison’s property – update

**Update 6/7/2017 The Larison’s application has been postponed until further notice.**

From Mayor Hoven 6/1/2017:

There has been some public discussion about the Turkey Farm property, triggered by a pending land use board application for a demolition permit for the Sunnyside building on the property.  This is appropriately in the hands of the Land Use Board.  However, discussions and proposal for the redevelopment of the Turkey Farm property have been on-going for over 15 years.  It has been the subject of litigation three times.

The current litigation concerns an appeal by the property owner of the Highlands Council conferring plan conformance status to the Borough, and an objection of the Borough’s COAH (Affordable Housing) plan which is pending in Superior Court. The latter has cost the Borough a significant amount of money, which resulted in a property tax increase this year, rather than a reduction.  The Court has ordered the parties to mediate and has encouraged the parties for find an amicable resolution of the litigation. The Borough remains open to settlement negotiations with the property owner, but at this juncture, a comprehensive plan which includes Mill Ridge Lane has not been submitted for the governing body’s consideration.

Any discussion about the negotiation process is privileged and must remain confidential pursuant to the rules of mediation.

Take our Communications Survey

Chester Borough would like to be able to reach all of its residents in order to communicate information in a timely manner. Please let us know your preference about you would like to be reached by filling out a short survey with your contact information. Please open this post and click on the link in order to take the survey. Thank you!

Click here to take the survey.

Information about Prescribed Burns in NJ

From the NJ DEP

The New Jersey State Forest Fire Service advises residents that its seasonal prescribed burning program – which reduces wildfire risks by burning away the buildup of undergrowth, fallen trees and branches, leaves, pine needles and other debris on forest floors – is underway. Residents are advised that they may see large plumes of smoke in areas where these controlled burns are being conducted.

Prescribed burns will take place through the end of March, conditions permitting. These burns are generally conducted during the winter – especially toward the late-winter months – to minimize the amount of smoke produced, and when weather conditions tend to be safer for controlled fires.

“Prescribed burning is an important tool in keeping our forests and other wildlands safe and healthy,” said Bill Edwards, Chief of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. “These burns are conducted only under exacting conditions by highly trained personnel. By burning them away now, we can reduce the risk of these materials serving as tinder for wildfires later in the year. This practice also improves the overall ecological health of our forests and grasslands.”

The New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry will provide as much notice as possible of prescribed burns through its Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/newjerseyforests. The public may also contact the State Forest Fire Service at (609) 292-2977 about the prescribed burning program and where burns are expected to be conducted. When in doubt about the source of smoke or fire, call 9-1-1 or 877-WARN-DEP (877-927-6337).

The peak wildfire season in New Jersey typically begins in middle to late March and runs through late spring, when the weather tends to be dry, windy and warmer. This also is the time of year when forest canopies and undergrowth have yet to leaf out, making forest debris more susceptible to the drying effects of wind and sunshine.

Because of the types of trees and shrubs it supports, the sprawling Pinelands region of southern New Jersey is particularly susceptible to wildfires and is typically the focus of much of the prescribed burning activity conducted by the Forest Fire Service.

During prescribed burns, Forest Fire Service personnel use hand-held torches to set smaller fires to burn away fallen leaves, pine needles, fallen branches and other debris on the forest floor. The personnel take into account wind, moisture and other conditions. These prescribed fires do not reach the forest canopy or cause significant loss of mature trees as wildfires do.

While the annual burning program began late last year, the Forest Fire Service is entering peak season for controlled burns. The Forest Fire Service expects to burn between 10,000 and 20,000 acres of forests and grasslands this season, depending on weather conditions. Most burns take place on state-owned property, such as state forests, parks and wildlife management areas.

“Prescribed burning has been a successful wildland fire mitigation tool used by the Forest Fire Service since the 1920s, protecting property, lives and infrastructure by creating defensible space around developed areas and strategic fire breaks that help the Forest Fire Service quickly contain wildfires,” said Richard Boornazian, DEP’s Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources.

In 2016, the Forest Fire Service responded to 1,065 wildfires, 75 percent of which were a quarter-acre or smaller. The largest was a 464-acre fire in Bass River State Forest in Burlington County.

Roads in areas where burns are taking place are clearly marked. Motorists traveling through these areas are advised to observe posted reduced speed limits and to be alert to the presence of trucks and Forest Fire Service personnel. During the burns, firefighters employ best management practices to control smoke impacts, but nearby residents and forest visitors should expect temporary smoke.

For more information on wildfires in New Jersey, steps you can take to protect your property and other resources, visit: www.njwildfire.org. For more information on New Jersey’s Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Strategies, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/forest/docs/NJFSassessment.pdf.

Information regarding vote on school funding

A letter from Robert O. Strobel, President, West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education
November 1, 2016

Dear West Morris Regional High School Community:

Please remember to vote on November 8.  The ballot includes the following question put to the voters by the West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education:

“Shall the West Morris Regional High School District’s annual and special appropriations be apportioned on the following basis:  50% on each municipality’s equalized valuation allocated to the West Morris Regional High School District as provided by state law and 50% on the proportioned number of pupils enrolled from each municipality on the 15th day of October of the pre-budget year?”

If approved, this would change the funding of annual and special appropriations (more simply put, the District’s budget) from the current formula based 100% on each municipality’s equalized valuation.

The attached presentation, which is also available on the District website, is provided to inform your decision.  Most of it is self-explanatory, however, a couple of items may benefit from further discussion.

Some basic background provides context for the ballot question.  5 municipalities participate in the two high school District.  With only a few exceptions, West Morris Mendham High School is dedicated to the Chesters and Mendhams, which in the current year send 51.2% of the Districts’ students and pay 65.95% of the taxes necessary to run the District.   Likewise with few exceptions, West Morris Central High School is dedicated to Washington Township, which in the current year sends 48.8% of the Districts’ students and pays 34.05% of the taxes necessary to run the District.

The current 100% equalized value formula was mandated by a state law adopted in 1975.  Prior to that, and dating back to the District’s formation in 1958, the district’s budget was funded based 100% on the proportioned number of pupils enrolled from each municipality.

Pages 9-12 of the presentation contain charts that will give you a qualitative view of the potential tax impact of changing the funding formula.  They should not be viewed as providing a statement as to what you will actually pay.  This is because your actual taxes will depend on three variables that we can not predict with certainty: (1) number of students; (2) equalized property values and (3) district spending.  For this reason, the charts only provide the dollar impact for prior years, for which each of the variables is known.  These prior year charts show what would have happened if the new formula had been applied in those years.

Looking forward to years 2017-2020, the charts only provide the percentage of district funding (“% Regional Tax” in the last column) that might be paid by each municipality if the number of students currently in each of the sending K-8 districts arrive at the high school in exactly the same percentages as currently exists in the 5th through 8th grades. The actual numbers may be close, but it is highly unlikely they will be exactly the same.  As a result, the calculation of each town’s % Regional Tax should be viewed as illustrative and not absolute.

The best way to look at the charts for years 2017-2020 is to compare your town’s % Regional Tax  for the Current Formula of 100% Equalized Value in the top chart on page 7 of the attachment to future years % Regional Tax.  Assuming (1) the 5th through 8th grade student populations accurately predict the percentage of student from each town in the high school in a given year, (2) equalized property values hold steady and (3) the district’s spending is unchanged, in any year in which your town’s % Regional Tax is greater than its 2016 % Regional Tax, you will pay more tax than you will in 2016.  Likewise, in any year in which your town’s % Regional Tax is less than its 2016 % Regional Tax, you will pay less tax than you will in 2016.

The funding formula has been a source of controversy for many years, however, the Board takes no position on the ballot question other than to urge you to please vote on November 8.

Sincerely,

Robert O. Strobel, President

West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education

Click here to view the presentation.

Morris County Veterans’ Services available

Sabrina Baarda, the new Social Worker in the Veterans Services Office serving Morris County, will be working with Ken Brenzel, the Veterans Services Officer, on connecting Morris County Veterans and their families with the resources and services they need and are entitled to.  If you know a resident in your community who may benefit from these services, please encourage them reach out to their office.

 

Contact info:

Sabrina Baarda, BSW

Veterans Services Office

Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance

340 W. Hanover Ave.

Morris Township, NJ 07960

(973) 285-6866

(973) 285-6456 fax