Mayor’s Updates

Mayor’s Page / Mayor’s Report

TOWN OF PHILLIPSBURG
120 Filmore Street
Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
Phone: 908-454-5500
Fax:     908-454-6511
Town Website:  www.phillipsburgnj.org

MAYOR’S REPORT – May 3, 2018

Economic Development

1. Phillipsburg was nominated and approved to be a Federal Economic Opportunity Zone. The area covered under this program includes the riverfront and a large portion of the Hill area. This will spur investment and has the potential to increase property values. US Senator Cory Booker and Governor Phil Murphy played a huge role in ensuring Phillipsburg was included in this program as did Sherry Corcoran.

2. The Ingersoll Rand property: Has been purchased by Bridge Construction Co. for $43 million. Bridge Construction Co. is well established and preparing to break ground for three (3) new warehousing units in the Phillipsburg Plan section. One (1) on the old Cameron site, one (1) on the old foundry site and one (1) along Green Street. Jobs to follow. There will also be a connecting road from Roseberry and Center Streets to route 22. Real estate speculation in property values in Valley View and the Pursel Hill area will increase. I have attended multiple meetings and signed redevelopment documents necessary to move the project forward. We did demand that an old Ingersoll Landfill be removed from the town documents. Kudos to former Mayor Wyant, Bridge Construction and Van Cleef Engineering for getting this project up and running.

3. The CVS, Shammy Shine, Bourbon Street Liquors, The River View at Delaware Station, and the former Ahart’s Markets are all still viable projects in various states of progress.

4. The Delaware Tubing Excursions: They are getting ready for another successful river tubing season. Last season on any sunny day you could practically walk across the Delaware on the all of the tubes. A great example of people being drawn to recreation on the river.

5. Eco- Tourism is growing as the Delaware River Shad Tournament filled the Riverside lot every day during the week-long event. The town did not make any revenue as parking fees were waived as a result of Council’s legislative actions but the river access was available. Resident taxes paid for trash removal and policing. 90% of participants were from PA.

6. The Amended River Front Development Plan: The River Front Development Plan has been adopted in a unanimous vote from the Planning Board. The plan will now go to Council for approval. http://s.lehighvalleylive.com/23iM5i

7. There are Airbnbs popping up in town. It is unclear if current zoning permits the use. We are currently researching this. Problems from these rentals have resulted in calls to police and parking of commercially registered vehicles parked in unauthorized zones.

8. Two investors have taken interest in purchasing the Sawmill Area Lumber yard. More info to follow.

Recreation

1. With the loss of Kelly Post-Sheedy, spring baseball, softball and soccer was organized by the Mayor’s Administrative staff (soon to be eliminated by Council). All equipment was distributed, all schedules organized and all fields assigned. There was a great deal of work and planning that required the staff to work weekends and evenings to complete. Sherry Corcoran and Sam Cappello took on the task of getting the programs ready.

2. The Town is using Summer Seasonal Supervisory Recreational staff to supervise and operate the recreation programs this summer. This summer, Richard Thompson, former Phillipsburg physical education teacher and coach, will be supervising the program this summer. He has previously managed Harker’s Hallow pool.

3. The spring weather was not cooperative and it took DPW an extended time to get the baseball and soccer fields ready. They recently ca
ught up and are now cutting grass like crazy!

4. The Town of Phillipsburg and City of Easton continue efforts to obtain possession of the abandoned Norfolk and Southern Bridge for a Greenway connecting the Delaware, Morris and Lehigh Canals. Hikers, bikers and runners could travel as far as Jim Thorpe, Trenton and New Hope on this trail system. It would bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to our region. This project will require council approval.

5. Potential new recreation facilities at the Delaware Heights Park Area are in negotiations. CEP Solar is planning to install a large scale solar field in Pohatcong Township. The electrical line will need to cross our Del River Park with an underground cable to get power to a tower. The Town of Phillipsburg is negotiating a request for:
a. Illumination of existing sports fields.
b. a new 4-acre field on the Solar Company’s land.
c. $40k for athletic field improvements throughout town.
This initiative coupled with the Open Space Referendum Passed in November of 2017 will start to bring Phillipsburg into the modern age of recreation for the benefit of current and future generations. Below is a picture of the illumination plan for Delaware Heights Athletic Fields and a new four-acre Sports facility. Please note that this also requires Council approval.

6. A new lease with Norfolk and Southern Railroad has been obtained for the abandoned rail line between Mercer and Howard Streets. This is an excellent location for a rail trail and recreational equipment:

Administration, Operations and Maintenance

1. Relations between the Mayor and the Town Council President have greatly improved and are becoming more productive. However, the Council is still on target to eliminate the Mayor’s office staff by eliminating their salaries in the 2018 budget. They are attempting to circumvent the Mayor’s authority to manage the towns staff. There is no doubt the town has been exposed to tremendous liability and the courts and attorneys will be required to sort it all out. Additionally, service to the town residents will be reduced due to this action.

2. The 2018 Budget has not been officially adopted to date but, may be by May 15, 2018.

3. We are experiencing serious odor problems with the town’s waste water treatment plant. The problem has been identified and corrective action is being taken.

4. The adaptive re-use of Freeman School as a municipal facility is working extremely well. This is at a savings to taxpayers. We were not forced to incur rental costs to the taxpayers at $11,500.00 per month as recommended by the former Council President.

5. The plans for the new Municipal Building, Police and Fire will be presented to council on May 17, 2018. Plans for the old facility are being reviewed.

6. The DPW is working hard to ready the town for the summer season. Supervisors are working alongside hourly employees to expedite the process. Kudos to all staff.

7. The offices of The Town Accessor, Mayor and Chief Financial Officer are in the process of obtaining professional services to make sure the town is receiving its fair share of all tax incentive pilots.

8. As recommended by councilman McVey, we are working with a professional website designer to develop or translate the town website that include information in Spanish.

9. I have addressed air quality complaints at the Treatment Plant this past Tuesday @ 7:00 PM. I have monitored the air quality in the Pursel Hill area with high tech equipment.

10. Dumping complaints continue to come in and are addressed.

11. Attending Sewer Litigation in Bridgewater

12. Inspect New Delaware River Train Excursion window display on The Main illuminated at night.

13. I met with DRJTBC supervisors to discuss new signage to keep trucks out of Union Square. Many thanks to William Wright, Shawn Cormandy and Jody Insco.

14. Thank you to the Girl Scouts for planting flowers downtown. The flowers were a personal donation.

15. Main Street Cross Walk Improvements. Not sure how I feel about this project ….

EVENTS:
On behalf of the town I have had been in attendance respecting, representing and marketing the town at an extremely fast pace:

1. Presenter at The Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Mayors & Municipal Officials Annual Reception

2. Greet U.S. Senator Robert Menendez at Harkers Hollow
3. Introduced US Congressman Leonard Lance to students at Phillipsburg High school for a questions and answer session.

4. With the Railroad Historians. There will be a large ribbon cutting coming this summer and we are negotiating with NJ Transit to extend the Centerville and Southern small-gauge Railroad to the Delaware River Excursion Train so children and parents can ride the small train to the large train as an added attraction.

5. Council Meetings – there seems to be an improved climate as more citizens are in attendance.

6. Preparing for the Amended River Front Redevelopment Planning Board Meeting.

7. Speaker at the Hunterdon / Warren Scholar Athlete Awards

8. Attend the annual Firth Youth Center Awards to celebrate the enhancements in recreational programing for our community and to raise funds for facilities improvements and increased programming.

9. Starting of The Annual Shad Tournament. I missed the grand finale and prize ceremony do to prior obligations, however I understand it was a huge success.

10. Introduce US Congressman Leonard Lance at Phillipsburg High School for his Town Hall meeting for constituents of 7th Congressional District.

11. Attend the 3rd Annual Old Timers Jersey Hose and Phillipsburg Fire Co. # 1.

12. Attend the NAACP Scholarship Dinner in Washington. It was exciting to see a Youth Corps graduate and two Phillipsburg High School students receive scholarships at this event.

13. Attend the Corks and Forks fundraiser for the Rotary – honoring Helene Meissner at the 11th Annual Corks Rotary Club Phillipsburg. I had the high honor of introducing a distinguished member of our community, Helene Meissner. Mrs. Meissner is Director of the NORWESCAP Food Bank and has held the role for ten years. She also serves on the Kiwanis Advisor to the Phillipsburg High School Key Club and is the Chairperson of the Phillipsburg UEZ Board of Trustees.

14. Participated in the National Day of Prayer at Shappell Park.

15. Spoke at a Key Club Lunch at Phillipsburg High School to discuss Community Service with other community members.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about anything I am working on, please feel free to private message me or call my office at 908-454-5500 ext. 303.

Del. Hights Park illumination

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Stephen R. Ellis, Mayor
120 Filmore Street
Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
info@phillipsburgnj.org
908.454.5500

Call Us: 908-454-5500

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