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Looking Back, Moving Forward

Posted January 9, 2012. Article by Mayor Charles Daniel

The past year will be remembered for its unusual weather patterns – Hurricane Irene and its partner Tropical Storm Lee, as well as the Halloween snowstorm. Each storm created its own destructive forces, such as major flooding along the river, storm water runoff surges on Main Street, and excessively long power outages. Weather experts have stated that New Jersey received more precipitation in 2011 than any other year since records have been kept, and that the “100-year storm” may occur more frequently.

The message is loud and clear — the storms will continue, so plan ahead!

Well, planning has already started and is moving forward. A preliminary engineering plan is under review for the Main Street area. This project is partially funded by the federal government Storm Water Grant. The challenge for the town, however, is to fund the matching part of this grant, approximately $400,000, since the request for a waiver of the matching portion will not be approved. Califon’s finance committee will be making recommendations on how best to procure the funding.

In terms of emergency preparedness, a new committee, called the emergency management committee, will implement the lessons learned from this past year’s storms for a more successful crisis response. Beth Wolfmayer, our Emergency Management Coordinator, will lead this team, consisting of members from the Fire Department, Rescue Squad, Police Department, and Town Council.

Other challenges exist. Califon Island Park’s playground must be disassembled by 2014, due to insurance regulations. The existing playground was totally funded and built by volunteers approximately 20 years ago. If we are to follow the example set before us, a volunteer committee is needed to plan, fundraise, and implement a new playground.

During 2011, many Califon residents  have volunteered their time and energy to make Califon an extraordinary community. I’m sure this spirit of volunteerism will continue into 2012 and that our challenges will be met with the same enthusiasm and support! We – the Mayor, Town Council, and Municipal Staff  – wish you a safe holiday season and happy and healthy new year!