With even an overflow room in town hall to simulcast to crowds that couldn’t fit in council chambers, hundreds came out to applaud a new administration sworn in to Brick.
The all-Democrat mayor and council of Brick received standing ovation for their opening remarks in Brick Township Council’s reorganization meeting, swearing in Mayor John Ducey, and Councilpersons Marianna Pontoriero, Paul Mummolo, and Heather deJong to new terms.
A “100 Day Plan” presented by Ducey will create several committees to address what the new mayor said were essential issues in Brick, and offer up dozens of ideas for the township he’d like to see in place.
“These are the things we need to accomplish in the next 100 days,” Ducey said. “It’s something that will be done.”
The ideas ranged from feedback surveys to shopping discounts in town, touching upon varied elements of government services in Brick, for the resident who needs an issue addressed to the business looking to set up shop in Brick.
He pledged to rescind an executive order that didn’t allow township employees to talk to members of the council. “Why am I doing this? We need communication,” Ducey said, “if we are going to fix the things we are going to fix, accomplish the things we are going to accomplish.”
“So council now has full right to speak to all the township employees,” he said to applause.
“Mayor’s In and Mayor’s Out” is a concept Ducey would like to put in place, where he keeps after 5 p.m. hours in town hall with key administrators so residents can get their issues resolved and discuss their problems more directly, he said. “It would be like a one-stop shop,” he said of the “Mayor’s In” hours.
“Mayor’s Out” would be requests for Ducey to come out to places in the township, to address residents’ concerns. “Whether it be a clubhouse a classroom a meeting place,” he said, “I want you to tell me where you want me to go… I want to be accessible, I want to hear the good things and the bad things.”
He also wants to create reports and e-newsletters to be emailed to interested residents, providing updates on town issues. He’d like to create feedback surveys around town hall so residents who use the building department, for example, for a permit, can provide feedback on how customer service was.
Ducey would like to see more government involvement in the business community, specifically creating an Economic Development Committee that could encourage ratables to come to Brick and support existing businesses. He’d also like to reward residents who shop locally with some sort of discount on their property tax bills. Residents would sign up for the program and so would local businesses to be on the list of approved locations, he explained.
A teen advisory council would be comprised of teenage residents to hear what their concerns are, Ducey said. “They may not be old enough to vote…but they grew up here, will continue to leave here…Young fresh perspectives I think are very important.”
A key issue that needs addressing well beyond the first 100 days in office is rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, Ducey added.
“The impacts of Sandy are still here, still very prevalent,” Ducey said. “Government has failed to help the residents, in some cases government has made things worse.”
A Sandy Mitigation Committee will focus exclusively on these issues, instead of combining them with land use for residents.
“It’s the biggest issue facing our town,” Ducey said.
Similarly, the impacts of Hurricane Sandy continue to be felt on township budgets, and Ducey said coming up with solutions to trim the budget after the storm took away millions in revenue and created millions in expenses will be a big priority.
The mayor said his 100 Day Plan was ambitious, and would likely extend beyond the first 100 days of 2014, but that he’d be publishing the complete plan on the township website in order to be held accountable.
“I have confidence too in all the people of Brick, that we can work together to make Brick the best place it can be,” said the mayor.
“A new Brick starts today for everyone here,” he said, to standing ovation.