Mayor recaps 1st year in office

Staff Writer

By brian Walsh

ROOSEVELT — One year into his four-year term, Mayor Michael Hamilton has taken stock of what he believes his accomplishments have been.

Addressing the community during the reorganization meeting of the Borough Council on Jan. 2, Hamilton spoke of the achievements he has made, as well as some of the challenges that lie ahead in Roosevelt’s future.

"I’m a businessman and I recognize the need for well-studied government," Hamilton said. "I began my term in January 2000 and studied the borough’s finances and began addressing problems."

During his first year in office, Hamilton said he has:

• reformed the finances of the borough, increasing the amount of interest earned from the borough’s funds from approximately $32,000 to approximately $80,000;

• recommended the borough take part in the free audit and recommendations from the New Jersey Local Government Finance Review Board;

• sponsored a transportation summit, focusing on the transportation needs of seniors; and

• formed a regionalization committee, focusing on sharing services with neighboring communities.

Hamilton spoke of missed opportunities during years prior to his term.

"We may have missed an opportunity to earn over $500,000 in revenue in the past 10 years," he said, because borough officials did not carefully monitor financial investments and savings accounts. He said the lost revenue could have been put to use upgrading the borough’s infrastructure.

For the coming year, Hamilton expressed the need for a systematic review of the town’s ordinances, citing some to be outdated and contradictory, as well as a comprehensive review of the borough’s infrastructure.

"We face many challenges in the year ahead," the mayor said.

He noted that the borough’s utilities systems are old and he called for an independent analysis of the water and sewer systems.

Closing his speech, Hamilton said, "Our property tax rate should be our common foe, not each other."