From Plainfield City Hall
  Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
One Plainfield.  One Future.
 
Happy New Year!  Here's hoping you and yours had a great holiday. 

It has been a fast pace, successful and remarkable first year for me and my administration. On Monday, January 4, I delivered my State of the City Address for 2015 where I reviewed my administration's prior year's accomplishments. 

Simply put - Plainfield is safe, strong, and is on the rise!

Creating,

One Plainfield - One Future

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield
My State of the City Address 2015

On the evening of January 5, 2015 - I stood before you, the residents of Plainfield, and gave my State of the City Address.  I want to take us back for a moment to our reorganization one year ago.   We faced many obstacles, such as the restructuring of our financial organization, public safety, and the dire need for economic development.  As you will see from the highlights of accomplishments below, Plainfield is moving forward and our City's transformation has begun. 

 

Here are some highlights from last year's accomplishments:

  • Submission of the first on-time budget to the City Council in 8 years.
  • Hiring a full time CFO - a position that was unfilled by a financial professional for more than 8 year, and through improved processes saved the City more than $ 2 million in 2014.
  • In 2014, Plainfield saw a 67% reduction in homicides.
  • Plainfield's unemployment rate dropped 4.5 percent in the first six months of 2014 and resources such as job fairs were provided for residents.
  • Settled ALL union contracts through 2017 for ALL 7 unions - police, fire, public works, and municipal managers and employees.
  • Opened the Plainfield Veterans' building and took the necessary steps to transfer ownership to the City of Plainfield, thus giving the veterans the space they need and deserve.
  • Drafted a vacant properties ordinance, which was never before on the books in Plainfield - requires owners of vacant properties to register and maintain their properties.
  • Renegotiated ownership of Liberty Village.
  • Hired a full time Health Officer and inspected two-thirds of the city's restaurants - a process ignored for years.

These are some of the accomplishments achieved through the hard work of  my administration. My administration and I will continue to work tirelessly for the residents of Plainfield.  Stay tuned for further accomplishments and developments.  

  

My State of the City Address, which contains further accomplishments and plans for 2015, can be read in its entirety on the City of Plainfield website!

     

Click Here for entire State of the City Address 

 
White House: 21st Century Policing Task Force
One of the important issues facing the nation is the relationship between communities and law enforcement, as we all know so well through the media stemming from Ferguson and New York.  However, the relationship shared by Plainfield and our police is strong and can only improve over time.  President Barack Obama signed an executive order establishing a task force on 21st century policing on December 18, 2014. The objective of this task force is to identify best practices and provide recommendations to the President on how law enforcement practices and methodologies can bring about crime reduction while simultaneously building public trust.  In addition, to find ways to foster strong, collaborative relationships between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. The Task Force will present an initial report on recommendations to the President by March 2, 2015. 
 
The Task Force is implementing a public engagement process, which will provide broad input and expertise from stakeholders (subject matter experts, community organizations, etc.) to inform and advise them in developing recommendations through a series of several public hearings consisting of a panel.  The first of these hearings titled "Listening Session: Building Trust and Legitimacy" is scheduled for Tuesday, January 13, 2015, at 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001 and is open to the public. 

My administration will review the best practices and outcomes from the final report to the President and will implement these where necessary. Please go to the following website www.cops.usdoj.gov/ to view the live webcast of the first hearing scheduled for Jan. 13, 2015. 
 
Seminar: President Obama's Executive Order on Immigration
My administration will keep residents connected with federal issues that impact our Plainfield families.  On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced an executive order on immigration.  This executive order can have a profound impact on some of the over 40% Latino population here in the City of Plainfield.

I am proud to announce my administration will be holding a free seminar on: 

The President's Executive Order on Immigration
Topic Covered: 
  • Who is eligible for a work permit
    • Parents of U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents,  Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) 
    • Changes to DREAMERS -Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • Avoiding illegal and unscrupulous people and organizations
  • Preparing a timely application

When: January 21, 2015

Time: 7PM

Where: City Hall Library - 515 Watchung Ave., Plainfield, NJ 07060 

 
Public Affairs and Safety Update
Results Driven - Working Hard for the Residents of Plainfield
The Mapp Administration is pleased to announce that violent crimes against person and the majority of non-violent property crimes saw a reduction in 2014.  This includes a 67% reduction in homicide, 33% reduction in aggravated assaults with firearms, 26% reduction in motor vehicle theft, 19% reduction in robbery, and 17% reduction in burglary.
 
Giving Back to the Community
On Tuesday, December 23, 2014 the Plainfield Fire Division Christmas Toy Drive was held at Fire Headquarters.  More than 315 children enjoyed hot chocolate and holiday treats as they waited patiently for their gift from Santa.   Smoke detectors were also given to 50 families who did not have any for their homes.  The Plainfield PBA Local No. 19 also had their Annual Toy Giveaway where they gave away more than 300 toys to children in the community.  
Economic Development Update
Ribbon Cutting Event
There is much excitement and development going on in downtown Plainfield.  On the morning of Wednesday, January 7, 2015, second ward Councilman Cory Storch and I participated in the ribbon cutting event for Los Antojitos Restaurant.  This newly opened restaurant specializes in Central American cuisine.  The extensive menu offers breakfast, appetizers and meals ranging from traditional poultry, seafood, and beef dishes.  Los Antojitos Restaurant is located at 25 Watchung Avenue and their phone number is 908-222-8009.

Economic Development Community Event
An important component of economic development is to provide resources for Plainfield businesses and my administration is doing just that. On January 7, 2015, the Office of Economic Development led by Carlos Sanchez, held an economic development workshop for local businesses.  Workshop topics and resources included entrepreneurial programs and business incentives such as: the Google Get Your Business Online, Plainfield City Loan Fund, UEZ Sign and Facade, and the Property Tax Rewards programs.  This event was also an excellent forum for discussing challenges facing local businesses, collaborating and networking.  Stay tuned for more of these events. 

Raritan Valley One Seat Ride Update

One year ago, when I  first took office as the Mayor of Plainfield, we had NO direct train lines to New York, which is vital to economic development.  I am proud to note that we now have 16 direct trains overall.  In addition, NJ Transit published the new train schedule, which includes the new evening one-seat ride service to New York starting on Monday, January 12, 2015.  
Department of Public Works & Urban Development Update
Community Pass
Leveraging technology to empower staff at City Hall is critical to achieving efficiency, customer service,  transparency and accountability.  On January 1, 2015, the Recreation Division launched Community Pass.  This online platform allows all participants in Recreation sponsored activities to register themselves and family members remotely.  Programs that may require a registration fee can be paid for using a credit card through the Community Pass system. This tool will also provide metrics surrounding registration and program participation.  Residents without internet access, can register on Community Pass at the Recreation Division offices in City Hall Annex, 510 Watchung Ave., 9AM - 5PM, Monday through Friday. 

For more information, contact the Recreation Division at recreation@plainfieldnj.gov or by calling (908) 753-3097.

New Trucks Handle Recent Snowfall
My administration continues to find ways to keep the streets of Plainfield safe from winter hazards, while adhering to environmental regulations, and raw material consumption, which will support cost savings. The department of Public Works (DPW) recently added two new international single axle dump trucks with aluminum dump bodies. These trucks meet the new strict EPA diesel emissions regulations. Also, the dump bodies are made with lightweight aluminum which reduces corrosion and decreases fuel consumption, and these trucks will be used in all areas of DPW operations.  These trucks are also equipped with snow plows and calcium chloride dispensing tanks for de-icing operations.  Adding calcium chloride to our de-icing operation helps reduce overall salt consumption. 

Plainfield City Council Meeting Schedule: 2015
Every month the Plainfield City Council holds an "Agenda Fixing Session" and a "Regular City Council meeting."  During these monthly meetings, you will have the opportunity to learn more about how the legislative and executive branches of our local government work together in areas of governmental and fiscal matters.  I believe your engagement and participation is essential to Plainfield's future. For your convenience, you can download the new 2015 Plainfield City Council Meeting schedule on the link below.  
Some Useful Resources  
PSE&G Offers Tips to Stay Warm, Control Energy Costs

(January 5, 2015 - Newark, NJ) - Frigid weather is here, and heating systems are working extra hard. With natural gas prices at historic lows and three months of bill credits this winter, PSE&G residential customers will pay up to 31 percent less for gas this season. But there are simple ways to lower your bill even more.  Some ways to stay warm and manage your heating bill this winter include:

  • Lower your thermostat by just one degree, which may reduce your heating bill by up to 3 percent. Save even more by lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during the day and 5 to 10 degrees at bedtime, if health conditions permit.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use.
  • Close and latch your windows.
  • Set your hot water heater to no more than 120 degrees.
  • Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers. Open any register or baseboard dampers.
  • Remove or cover window air conditioners to reduce drafts. Install insulated or lined drapes on your windows.
  • Open your curtains and blinds that face the sun on sunny days to warm your home, and close them at night to keep the warm air inside.
  • Use weather stripping or caulk to seal up cracks and prevent drafts in windows and doorframes. Beneath doors, install draft guards available at hardware stores.
  • Use a shrink film insulation kit on drafty windows or make one yourself from plastic sheeting and double-faced tape.
  • Seal wall switches and electrical outlets with small foam gaskets available from home improvement centers and hardware stores. Remove the cover plate, insert the gasket, and screw the cover plate back in place.
  • If you have a door leading outside from your basement, hang a full-size sheet of plastic from the doorframe to keep heat from escaping. Seal windows in the basement with plastic to create a barrier against the cold. (Make sure you allow enough air supply to keep your fuel-burning appliances operating safely).
  • Keep your garage door closed if the garage is attached to the house.
  • If your budget permits, install (or have installed) a programmable thermostat that you can set to automatically lower room temperatures when rooms are not in use and at bedtime if health conditions permit.
  • Check for sufficient water levels in the sight glass for steam heating systems to ensure maximum efficiency. Clean or replace the furnace filter on hot air heating systems.
  • Visit PSE&G's Home Energy Toolkit at www.pseg.com/toolkit. You can calculate the energy efficiency of your home and find out how to save energy and money on appliances and heating systems.

When making home improvements, always wear the appropriate safety equipment such as eye protection, gloves and a mask to protect against dust; and remember to check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors for proper operation.

Other PSE&G Programs and Services Available:

  • High usage of natural gas during cold spells may result in higher-than-normal bills. Customers can take advantage of the utility's Equal Payment Plan to manage the fluctuating cost. Residential customers can enroll by calling 1-888-275-PSEG (7734).
  • Customers struggling to pay winter heating and electric bills may receive help from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), NJ SHARES or the PAGE Grant. 
    • The LIHEAP program is based on family size and last month's income and is geared to those who are lower income. Applications for LIHEAP are available at the PSE&G customer service centers listed on your bill. Information about LIHEAP can be found at www.pseg.com/help or by calling 800-510-3102, seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. NJ SHARES (1-866-NJSHARES) and the PAGE Grant (1-855-465-8783) both help moderate-income households that are not eligible for LIHEAP. To apply online or for more information on these and other assistance programs, visit www.pseg.com/help

Educating our Children about the Three Branches of Government

I came across a graphical illustration that would be a good resource when our youth are learning about our government.  Sometimes a visual does a great job of explaining a topic. This was developed by Kids.gov and is a great website for learning resources.

Until Next Time
Stay warm and have a great weekend! 

 

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