March 2, 2020
Mayor Wilson's Monthly Report to Residents
Hello Morris Township Residents!

Continuing a tradition of the office of Morris Township mayor, I would like to update you on February events that happened in and around our community. 
As many of you know, in February we celebrated the 100th anniversary of New Jersey ratifying the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote . Our municipal building was lit in purple , one of the colors of the suffrage movement, in honor of this occasion – a reminder to all of how precious our right to vote really is! For new insight into the role NJ women played in securing it, Click here to read the resolution we passed at our February 19 th Township Committee meeting. Look for our Municipal Building to go purple again in August in commemoration of the 19th Amendment achieving national ratification (which required support by 36 states - New Jersey was number 29). 
February was also Black History Month. On February 9 th , the Morris Museum , together with Bethel AME Church, presented a moving and thought-provoking panel discussion: “What Freedom Looks Like: Anchoring African American Identities in Morris County from 1600 – 2020.” This conversation was a reminder to me of the untold (or not well known) life stories of so many people in our community who preceded us. The accompanying exhibit continues at the Morris Museum through March 29 th . I encourage everyone to visit this exhibit and continue the reflection it inspires.   
Also in February, a group of mayors, freeholders, and county staff members met to discuss our shared concerns about development and traffic, especially at and near the intersection of Park, Columbia, and Route 24. Two key outcomes of this meeting:  
 
1) NJDOT is working on a revised concept design for this intersection. Once complete, NJDOT will schedule a public information forum to explain the plan. Exact timing was not given, but the design should be ready fairly soon (months not years). Unlike the previous plan (“the flyover”), the cost and feasibility of this new plan appear viable.  
2) Agreement that this group would meet on a quarterly basis to discuss shared concerns.

Cathy’s Commentary: Development and traffic are HUGE concerns to everyone. The issues we face are complex, longstanding, and frustrating. Problems are obvious. Solutions are elusive. This meeting was a positive step in the right direction. But SO much more needs to be done! We GET that and are working hard to be proactive in pressing for progress on many different fronts.

From a municipal perspective, we’re working hard to make improvements in four major areas that impact public involvement in land use and development decisions: information, communication, education, and visioning. Building understanding of and trust in how our land use decision-making processes work is a key goal we are striving to accomplish. More about this in the days ahead . . . .

At the same time, we are among the county’s most passionate advocates of the need for regional collaboration across towns and across levels of government. The agreement that this group of mayors, freeholders, and County staff will meet on a quarterly basis was uplifting - a good beginning, more to follow. Stay tuned!
On February 17th, Presidents’ Day , the Washington Association, a local historical group dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and heritage of our nation’s first president, held its annual luncheon (as they do every year on President’s Day.) This is a wonderful event that’s open to the public. I encourage anyone who’s interested to attend. This year, children from a local group, “Kids Make a Difference” presented speeches from past presidents as an especially meaningful way to celebrate this important holiday. The child (Ari Charm) who portrayed President Woodrow Wilson (no relation!) attended our February 19th Township Committee meeting to reprise the role. You can see the video of this and the rest of that meeting per the links below: 

00:00:25 - APPROVAL OF MINUTES
00:01:00 – PRESENTATIONS
00:01:38 - Kids Make a Difference "President Woodrow Wilson"
00:05:45 - CELEBRATING THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
00:10:15 - COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD – PAT SANFTNER
00:21:30 - PUBLIC COMMENT/INQUIRY
00:26:22 - ORDINANCE - INTRODUCTION
00:29:00 – ORDINANCE – PUBLIC HEARING AND FINAL CONSIDERATION
00:32:10 - RESOLUTIONS
00:37:00 –GENERAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE
00:37:50 – STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS AND COMMENTARY BY TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE
00:58:00 PUBLIC COMMENT/INQUIRY
CONSIDERATION OF MONTHLY REPORTS
CLAIMS FOR PAYMENT - LIST OF BILLS AND VOUCHERS - $13,245,365.79
ADJOURNMENT ­­­­­­
For anyone who would like written information about our February 19th meeting:
  • The full meeting agenda can be found here
  • The full text of each of the ordinances for introduction can be found here
  • The full text of each of the ordinances for adoption can be found here
  • The full 2020 list of resolutions that were adopted can be found here
One final February event I’d like to highlight: Morristown Onstage . This annual event, sponsored by the Morris Educational Foundation (MEF), really pulled the curtain back on what our community is about: the personal stories and performance talents of the contestants, the organizational talents of the MEF team, the generosity and support of our business community, the sold-out attendance by community members, the positive energy of friends and neighbors supporting each other and our school system – all of this was incredibly uplifting and inspiring! This year’s motto said it all: Seeing is Believing. Great job all in showcasing the wonderful spirit of our community!     
Finally, if you know anyone who does not receive our Municipal Messenger, please forward this email to them and encourage them to sign up by clicking here . The Municipal Messenger is an invaluable tool to receive a wide variety of updates and information about Morris Township.

Our next Township Committee meeting will be on Wednesday, March 18 th at 7PM. We encourage you to join us, and if you have any questions or concerns before then, feel free to email me at: cwilson@morristwp.com .  


Best to All,
Cathy Wilson
Mayor, Morris Township