As Mayor and a member of the Chatham Township Committee I remain committed to:
I have been committed to increasing communication with Chatham Township residents. During my tenure I initiated the formation of the Township Communications Committee; developed our communications protocol and procedures guidelines creating a framework for all Committee-related external communications; established the Committee's presence on Facebook and Twitter and instituted a bi-monthly e-newsletter.
I also introduced a resolution to ensure that Committee meeting agendas were posted online with hyperlinks to related discussion items and that all Committee meetings were posted on the Township website so you can view them at your convenience.
I also coordinated the re-branding and marketing of Alert Chatham Township (ACT Now) to ensure residents are registered for this free community and emergency alert system. In 2015 we saw a 15% increase in registrations and we now have more than 4,100 subscribers.
In our continuing effort to inform and educate our residents, we launched Chatham Township Perspectives, a series of Q&A-style videos with key Township employees and volunteers.
These initiatives have helped to ensure that residents are kept abreast of the important issues impacting their lives.
In an effort to ensure that Chatham Township remains a safe place to live and raise a family I helped launch a new Neighborhood Watch program. This nationally recognized program brings neighbors together as a community so that they can assist our Police to ensure that Chatham Township remains one of the safest towns in America.
Mayor Ritter Swears in Officer
Additional public safety measures included my effort to increase awareness of living with bears. In conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection I hosted a Bear Awareness Seminar for residents. This video remains posted on the Township website and I encourage you to view the video to educate yourself on what to do if you or your children encounter, a bear. I will look to further address this issue and explore the possibility of including the Great Swap National Wildlife Refuge in future bear hunts.
In addition, I was a proponent of establishing four way stop signs on Sandy Hill, restricting parking on Spring Street and lowering the speed limit on Lafayette in an effort to ensure the safety of our children. I also recommended that the Township acquire M4 rifles for the Police Department, and allocate funds for training and any related equipment that will be necessary to effectively utilize this new equipment.
I will work with my fellow Committee members to revitalize our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in an effort to identify community volunteers who can assist the Police and the Office of Emergency Management in their efforts should the need ever arise.
I have previously spoken of the importance of increasing awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention. In conjunction with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I assisted in the coordination of Suicide Awareness training for our first responders, and hosted a separate Suicide Awareness and Prevention seminar for residents (view presentation here) to increase awareness of this important issue. In addition, this past September we hosted our first annual "Out of the Darkness Walk" at the Chatham High School raising nearly $70,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. If you are ever in crisis, please call 1-800-273-TALK.
I coordinated community-based presentations on the Zika Virus and Domestic Violence, was a proponent of establishing four way stop signs on Sandy Hill, restricting parking on Spring Street and lowering the speed limit on Lafayette in an effort to ensure the safety of our children.
In an ongoing effort to stop the Pilgrim Pipeline I signed Resolution 2016-96, which authorized Chatham Township to join the Municipal Pipeline Group, a group of municipalities who are collectively fighting the proposed pipeline.
Ensuring that your tax dollars are being prudently spent remains of utmost importance and I continue to take pride in the Committee's efforts to prudently manage expenses while increasing awareness of the budget process so all residents understand how their tax dollars are being spent. In 2015 and again in 2016, we cut local taxes reflecting the lowest local purpose tax rate in more than 10 years! Few, if any municipalities in NJ can tout this significant accomplishment.
Looking ahead, we will continue to maintain a balance of prudent fiscal responsibility while meeting the quality-of-life needs of our residents. We have made a concerted effort over the past two years, to increase transparency and awareness of the Township budget process in an effort to educate and inform our residents on how their hard-earned money is being spent in the Township. I encourage you to view replays of our prior Committee meetings where we discuss the budget.
We need to use common sense when it comes to reviewing proposed regulations, and review these proposals in a thoughtful manner to ensure that they are not onerous. I continue to review proposed rules and regulations from a broader perspective with a view of what’s best for the broader community and not necessarily what’s expedient or will benefit a select few. This is reflected in a recent discussion around regulating outdoor fireplaces.
I’m committed to finding ways to further protect our environment and investigate initiatives that will further beautify our community and increase greater awareness and use of our open space.
Last year we opened the 136-acre Giralda Farms Nature Preserve to the public as a result of the Committee's decision to acquire the property. For the first time in more than a century the general public is now able to walk freely on the property. This acquisition will forever be protected for future generations and is one all residents should take pride in.
Recognizing the important role our seniors play in our community, during our 2016 Senior Center Donors Event I pledged to support our seniors and work on their behalf to Build a Better Chatham. Please see the attached pledge.
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A Commitment To: