January 2019 Mayor’s Annual Address

Together We Are At Our Best

There is no greater honor for this hometown boy than to serve you as Mayor of our great community. The past four years have been stellar for New Providence. We have made great strides and accomplished many great things together. We are a growing and evolving community with a proud tradition of excellence that has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve, uphold, and represent. Thank you for your faith in me and for your continued support. I would also like to thank my wife and family, friends, and neighbors, and all wives, husbands, families, and friends of all who serve. It is a team effort. Without their support, patience, and sacrifice, we would not be able to serve our community in the capacity we do, so on behalf of all of us here, we thank you. 

Together we are at our strongest. Together we are at our best. Great people make a great community, and ours is pretty incredible. 2018 began with an unforgettable blizzard which dumped 23 inches of heavy snow upon us. Downed trees and power lines made transportation almost impossible. Full restoration took long agonizing weeks, but we never lost our resolve. We pulled together with neighbor helping neighbor in the most incredible display of generosity and compassion ever witnessed. Businesses, churches, organizations, the borough, and residents opened their doors and homes to help house, shelter, and feed those of us most deeply impacted. The strength, fortitude, patience, and compassion was beyond compare. I will never forget the kindness of so many and for the exceptional job our borough employees, especially our DPW and Public Safety, and our Emergency Management Team performed, even risking their own safety to help others. 

Our volunteer fire and rescue squad puts in countless hours not only responding to emergency situations, but also continually training and maintaining equipment to serve our residents  24/7. They are all to be commended and thanked for their selfless service to our community. 

Public safety is our number one priority. That being said, our police department was extremely busy this past year, hiring additional class two and class three officers to ensure our schools and courts were provided with added security. This year we also hired an additional police officer to bolster our traffic bureau to help address our traffic control and speeding issues.

We were able to implement many infrastructural upgrades this year due to receiving over one million dollars in grants, including $462,000 for Safe Routes to Schools,  $310,000 for road resurfacing, $143,000 from Union County, and many more smaller grants. 

Thanks to the Union County Kids Recreation Trust Grant, construction will begin shortly on Harmony Park, which will be a family-friendly recreational space with large hands-on musical instruments.  Harmony Park will be next to Veterans Park on South Street and will be a fun new addition to our community.

The long awaited street scape project (phase 2), which includes additional paver bricks and lamps, has finally been approved by the Department of Transportation and should begin construction shortly.

14 streets were paved this year, and if the weather cooperated, Livingston Avenue would have also been completed. New sidewalks were installed on Central Avenue, Floral Avenue, and on Division Avenue. Various other locations were also completed this year. The sidewalk installation program will continue throughout 2019 to ensure additional safe walkability throughout the borough. 

Shared services with our neighboring communities has saved us tens of thousands of  tax dollars. We renewed our sewer management contract with Summit, as well as sharing municipal court with Berkeley Heights and Summit. Moving all shared court operations to New Providence, has enabled us to enhance security and renovate our council chambers.

Our business community is an essential part of our New Providence way of life. Almost all of our events and promotions in our community are made possible through generous business contributions. A thriving business community translates into a thriving local economy, so please remember to support our local businesses by shopping New Providence. We thank our local businesses for their continued generous support.

I would be remiss if I did not thank our borough employees who take care of the day-to-day operations. They certainly are hard-working, knowledgeable, and competent, always working together for the sole purpose of serving our residents.

There are numerous boards and committees that deal with so many different facets of local government. These volunteers spend long hours performing their respective duties and are the backbone of our community. We are all extremely fortunate for their service. Thank you also to our school district not only for molding and educating our students, but also for instilling the importance of community service which is invaluable in a small community like ours. Our Board of Education and Administration need to be commended for working closely with our police department to ensure a higher level of security in our schools. The police presence in our schools has been a great success. 

This year, we will begin putting together a Veterans Council to work with Union County and private organizations to explore Veterans needs and all available benefits. Our Veterans should be honored for their service to our country and supported in every way possible. This Veterans Council will help ensure that our Veterans receive all available benefits that they are entitled to, and be proudly honored for their service to our country.

Looking ahead to 2020, planning will begin this year on our borough’s 300th anniversary. Celebrations and preparations at our historical sites will be organized to commemorate our proud heritage. Anyone interested in assisting with this project can reach out to me.

Great communities are built and maintained on hometown pride and spirit that fosters volunteerism and generates tremendous community contributions. When people feel connected to something good, they engage in it, invest in it, believe in it, and thrive in it, doing all they can to nurture it, contribute to it, protect it, and encourage its growth. That is what we have built here together in New Providence, and with your support, we can continue to build a vibrant, safe, welcoming, and affordable community together. Together, we are at our best.

Thank you for allowing me this great honor of serving you as Mayor of our great community. May God continue to bless New Providence and all of you.

Happy New Year!

– Mayor Al Morgan