For the second consecutive year Ken Short and Bill Roehrich will be Washington Township’s mayor and vice mayor.
The two were both elected by their fellow committeemen Wednesday night at the township’s annual reorganization meeting. Short and Roehrich were both re-elected in November to three-year terms.
This is the fifth consecutive term for Short and the second for Roehrich. Short will also serve in his fourth consecutive year as mayor.
“This was an extremely difficult year in Washington Township,” said Short after the committee approved his appointment as mayor. “I thank the committee for placing their trust in me, but everyone needs to realize we are five equal members, and we’re all responsible for the decisions made for this town.”
Short made mention of some of the positives from 2012, including the five miles of roadways that were paved; the down payment on a new ambulance and fire truck; and, with the aid of county funds, the purchase of a new senior citizen bus.
As budget season for 2013 nears, Short said it would be another difficult year for expenditures, citing the state-mandated 2-percent tax cap municipalities are bound by.
“We’ve done a good job of keeping costs done, but it has been difficult,” Short said. “We’ve decreased the budget $900,000 over the past three years, and I’m inviting all township residents to our upcoming budget meetings. There are 18,500 of you, and just five of us. We want to hear from you.”
Short laid out his goals and that of the committee’s for 2013, including:
- Additional road paving projects
- Purchase of digital sign boards
- Generator systems in certain municipal buildings
- Upgrade communications systems
- Make trail systems more publicly accessible
- Add sidewalks to downtown area via grant funds
- Pursue the possible relocation of the Long Valley Fire Department building
Short thanked the town’s volunteers, many of whom were on hand to be sworn into their positions in the fire departments and first aid squad.
“These are the folks who leave their homes in a time of need to help others,” Short said. “It’s the volunteers in this community that gives that little extra to make this a nice community.”
The Washington Township Committee’s first work session of the year is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the municipal building on Jan. 16.