Happy New Year! Thank you for allowing me to represent Rockaway Borough as Mayor. I am thankful for the Council I have in place. I have empowered them to be the leaders that are expected as elected officials, challenge them to take risks and be a change agent.
As we jump into 2022, my mindset from the start is that government needs to run as efficiently as possible, which includes budgeting, staffing, as well as a focus on the prioritization of any operations where needed. It is imperative that our policies at the municipal level lessen our overall tax burden, enhance our quality of life and protect Rockaway Borough property values. As Mayor this needs to be accomplished while continuing to deliver responsive and quality services to each one of our residents. We need to create an environment that promotes growth.
We need to continue to look for ratable businesses coming into town to supplement our tax base. To do that, we need to be an active partner with our Town planner, local businesses and building landlords to create incentives to attract tenants.
In 2021, The Borough of Rockaway had kicked off an initiative for Downtown Re-Development working with our Land Use professionals. This expansive, non-condemnation plan includes commercial and business areas throughout the business center of the Borough.
The Re-Development Plan will allow updates to permitted uses and standards, ability to regulate design and architecture within compliance to typical zoning areas. The Plan will enable partnerships between public and private agents with mutual benefiting results. There can be incentives to improve dilapidated/outdated structures which will increase property values and tax ratables. There is potential for PILOT programs for new construction with these payments going directly in the municipal budget which would be an increase from the old, assessed property values.
The Borough is taking a step-by-step process which began with a preliminary investigation to determine if any land parcels meet the statutory criteria for areas in need of redevelopment. After presentations to the Governing Body, Land Use Board and the public, the Governing Body and Land Use board had approved the Re-Development Plan.
In 2022 the Rockaway Borough Downtown Development Committee will continue to work with stakeholders to evolve the vision of Rockaway. The Borough will look to enter into partnerships and agreements with commercial property owners and developers who will share a common vision to reshape the Borough of Rockaway Downtown through the Re-Development Plan.
One thing for certain is that our emergency services, Police, Fire, and Public Works will continue to have our full support and any provisions that make our community a safe place to live. Stop by Town Hall to meet our Municipal Staff who are ready and willing to help you with any question or need you may have.
Seniors are a huge part of our community, many of whom are life-long residents, past volunteers, town workers, and are the current foundation on which this town is built. A priority will be looking at possible incentives to sustain a quality of life in the economic challenges in which will all are affected.
Rockaway Borough is a vibrant and community orientated town full of activity. The schools are overflowing with extracurricular activities to encompass a wide range of interests. The recreation program covers all major youth sports and if for some reason it isn’t offered right here in the Borough, we can find it close by. Recreation also offers trips and adult programs. Our recreational facilities are abundant, among those are Donatoni and Heady Park, Friendship, Smith and TJ Fields, Parks Lake and the Rockaway River. Every night driving by any of these facilities you will see plenty of action from youth sporting activities, fishing, folks walking around the lake. Rockaway Borough is a community where I am happy to raise my family in a safe and nurturing environment.
All the Best in 2022!
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