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  • Writer's pictureAmalia Duarte

Final Township Committee Meeting & Happy Holidays!

Dear Mendham Friends: We were certainly lucky with last week's storm! We got less snow than anticipated and no power loss. That night, I had the opportunity to ride on a truck with Department of Public Works (DPW) Assistant Superintendent Joe Guanhill, for a firsthand look at how they tackle a snowstorm. The ride along was eye-opening, and my appreciation for the dedication and professionalism of the DPW is even greater than before!

JCP&L Report - Speaking of storm response, there is a detailed report from the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) investigating the response by JCP&L and other power companies to this summer's Tropical Storm Isaias. I encourage you to review the report and make sure to look at the areas for improvement listed on page 34. You may not be surprised to see that better communication is the No. 1 identified deficiency.

Here is the complete list of areas for improvement:

1. Communication and outreach with customers and public officials

2. State-wide deployment of Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to identify outages and reduce outage response time

3. Enhanced vegetation management in targeted areas

4. Tracking and valuing infrastructure hardening and resilience projects

5. Reports and other metrics

Following the storm, I joined with a group of elected officials across Morris County calling for JCP&L to make improvements. And, the Township Committee passed a Resolution asking for JCP&L to hold a follow-up Town Hall with residents. So far, that has still not been scheduled. I will continue to press for answers and action from JCP&L, before we are stuck in the dark once again. Read the report.

The Township Committee meets Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m., for the last time in 2020.

There are a number of year-end housekeeping budgetary transfer items, and the awarding of a contract not to exceed $209,000 to Cornerstone Architectural Group for the town hall project.

In addition, a Proclamation will be read honoring first responders for their support of our community during the pandemic. And, a Resolution will recognize the extraordinary work this year of our Township Clerk Maria Coppinger. Maria came to our community in 2018 and has been a wonderful addition to the town hall staff. This year, she has excelled in figuring out the mechanics of Zoom and ensuring the public had full access to our meetings. She also supported our interim township administrator and offered him guidance. She is dedicated, quietly gets the job done and is always responsive to requests. The recognition is well-deserved!

Two more Letters to the Editor appeared in the latest issue of the Observer-Tribune, asking about the transition to a new mayor and deputy mayor in 2021.

I have been a strong advocate of transparency in local government, and this is the most important decision made by the Township Committee. It's great to see residents pushing for fairness and transparency as we select new leadership for 2021.

Finally, this past weekend, Santa cruised all over town escorted by Brookside Engine Co. No 1, Ralston Engine Company No. 1, the Mendham Township First Aid Squad and our police department!

Thank you first-responders for delivering holiday cheer and smiles to kids of all ages!

I hope you and your loved ones enjoy a safe, healthy and Happy Holiday season!

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