Committeemen sworn in to new terms

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Clerk Barbara Young administers the oath of office to Mayor Richard Palombo, with his wife Sandi. Clerk Barbara Young administers the oath of office to Mayor Richard Palombo, with his wife Sandi.

PETERSBURG – Mayor Richard Palombo and Committeeman Ed Barr were sworn in to new terms of office Friday, Jan. 4 during Upper Township Committee’s annual reorganization meeting.

 

Both men were elected to new three-year terms in November. Palombo, 56, of Beesleys Point, has served on township committee for 15 years. Barr, 49, of Seaville, was appointed last February to fill the seat of Kristine Gabor, who was elected to the county freeholder board. This was his first election.

“I don’t take public service lightly,” said Barr. “I was 25 years in law enforcement and now I’m proud to serve my community.”

Barr thanked Palombo, who he called “a good running mate and mentor.” He also thanked his family and the residents of Upper Township for their support.

Palombo also thanked his family and the community for their support, and said in lieu of reviewing the past year as he normally does at each reorganization meeting he would look to the year ahead.

“I normally reflect on what we did last year but nothing can top Hurricane Sandy,” he said.

Palombo said there are big things on the horizon for Upper Township. The B.L. England power plant in Beesleys Point will undergo a $400 million conversion to natural gas, which will extend its operation for another 25 years.

“The plant generates $6.2 million in energy receipts taxes for us and that helps support the township,” he said. “With it in operation another 25 years, we will continue to enjoy the services we’re used to and keep taxes down.”

The power plant is shutting down one of its coal-fired units and converting two others to clean-burning natural gas. 

When it is completed, a 20-mile natural gas pipeline will run from Millville to Beesleys Point to feed the plant.

The conversion will nearly eliminate emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides as well as sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain and haze, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The two coal-fired units at the B.L. England plant are the last coal-fired units in the state without state-of-the art pollution control equipment.

Palombo also said he hoped the Strathmere de-annexation attempt will come to an end this year. Citizens for Strathmere and Whale Beach have appealed to the state Supreme Court, and a decision by the court on whether to hear the case is expected.

The township will also implement a new trash collection system this year, said Palombo. In December, township committee approved a plan to purchase three new trucks and 10,000 trash cans for $1.1 million.

“The trucks are bigger, they are more efficient and most importantly they are more safe,” said Palombo.

Palombo said the township must go out to bid for the trucks and then bond the purchase price. That process should be complete by June, he said.

“We’ll provide each home with two trash cans, one for trash and one for recyclables,” he said.

Palombo said he also hoped to move forward with installing solar power panels at the old landfill on Butter Road. The solar panels could provide power for all municipal and school buildings in the future, he said.

He said he is also cautiously optimistic about new commercial ratables in Marmora, and a three-way interchange at Exit 20 on the Garden State Parkway.

Palombo also welcomed residents to the committee meetings, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. The meetings are usually sparsely attended.

“We welcome your comments,” he said. “It may help us in making some decisions.”

The reorganization meeting was opened by the presentation of the flag by Boy Scout Troop 79 of Marmora. The mayor’s niece, Alanna Grace Palombo, sang a patriotic song. The invocation and benediction was given by Msgr. Peter Joyce of the Church of the Resurrection, who is an Upper Township native.

Palombo was re-elected mayor of the township unanimously. Curtis Corson Jr. was also re-elected deputy mayor on a unanimous vote. Both have served in their respective positions for the last 14 years.

Committee members’ duties will not change either. Palombo will continue to oversee personnel, emergency management and the lifeguards. Barr will oversee sports and recreation, animal control and public buildings and grounds. Corson will oversee revenue and finance, while Committeeman Tony Inserra will oversee public works and Committeeman Jay Newman will oversee public safety.

The meeting was gaveled to a close by the mayor’s granddaughter, Lucia Palombo. Palombo has never struck the gavel once during a township committee meeting.

  Committeeman Ed Barr takes the oath of office with his wife Suzanne and daughters Leah, Alyssa and Mariah. Committeeman Ed Barr takes the oath of office with his wife Suzanne and daughters Leah, Alyssa and Mariah.

 

 


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