Public Invited to Joint Budget Meeting 2/20

The annual joint meeting of the Chester Borough and Township Mayors and Councils will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 PM at the Borough Municipal Building 50 North Road.  The public is invited to attend.

Representatives of the Chester Library, Chester First Aid Squad (CFAS) and the Chester Volunteer Fire Company (CVFC) will present their 2018 respective budgets.
Additionally, using the recent fire on Prides Crossing in the Township as an example, the CVFC, along with the CFAS, will describe the protocol used during a major fire event. Due to the scope of the fire, mutual aid fire companies came to Chester to assist.  Hear how logistically all of these volunteer groups work together and how the CFAS provides medical services to the volunteers fighting the blaze.

Future Municipal Leaders Scholarship Opportunity

Mayor Hoven and the NJ State League of Municipalities announce a scholarship opportunity for West Morris Mendham HS juniors and seniors who reside in Chester Borough.  The Louis Bay 2nd Future Municipal Leaders Scholarship Competition offers three $1000 scholarships to students who enter a statewide competition in which they write about about “What my Municipal Government Does Best.”

Full details and an application can be found at this link. Please share this information with interested students.

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.