Perhaps taking a cue from highly positioned elected officials, Jefferson mayor Russell Felter chose the recent Chamber of Commerce awards dinner to deliver a “State of the Township” report.
The event, held at Casa Bianca, annually honors the achievements of township residents and groups. Invited to the microphone, Felter first thanked Chamber members for their accomplishments. Team members of The Jefferson Chronicle, media sponsor for the awards dinner, were on hand to hear the mayor’s comments, which included the following.
- Jefferson Township received a record 44.3 inches of snow this winter with a total cost of approximately $600,000 for clean-up operations. The mayor praised the Department of Public Works for its efforts to continuously keep the roads clear.
- The township received a positive outlook rating from Moody’s Investors Service, one of the “big three” credit rating services. The positive rating will help the township borrow money at a lower interest rate.
- The town is working diligently with New Jersey Natural Gas to offer services in Jefferson. The gas company is coming to Lake Shawnee this year and the goal is to reach up to Route 181 by Weldon Quarry. Approximately 2,600 to 2,800 homes are expected to convert to natural gas in this area. On the Milton side, the township looks to install gas lines from White Rock to the high school, which should result in significant savings in heating costs.
- An aggressive paving schedule will begin this year with a $1 million budget projected and $50,000 in grants that will be used to pave Brady Road in Lake Hopatcong and Milton Road in Oak Ridge.
- A new tennis court is scheduled for Prospect Point at an estimated cost of $120,000.
- New redevelopment zones are slated for Route 15 South past Black Bear Fitness as well as the former Pathmark site. The mayor reiterated his past public assurances that, contrary to rumors, there is no Wawa scheduled to be built on the Pathmark site. He noted that this type of business is not permitted due to local ordinances. The township is working hard to get another business into this location.
- Capital projects include an addition to the police station. A second floor will be added to allow for additional locker rooms and evidence room space. Also, a new fire and rescue boat will arrive after Memorial Day.
- Jefferson Township partnered with the Lake Hopatcong Foundation to work on a trail around Lake Hopatcong. The township recently received a $240,000 grant that will be used for the proposed boardwalk to Liffy Island, with construction to begin this year.
- The township recently bought 60 acres of open space near Taylor Road and 117 acres on Mase Mountain, resulting in more preserved land. The trail project includes land owned by the federal government, state, county, or township.