Ocean Township Mayor Christopher Siciliano gave his first- and perhaps the first ever- state of the township address at last week’s Township Council meeting.
“It’s to let residents know where we are and where we are going,” he said.
The half-hour address focused on issues like better access to government, budget and finance, quality of life and economic development.
Siciliano said his Coffee With The Mayor program, where residents can meet with the mayor on Monday or Friday from 1 to 4 p.m., has been a big success.
“So far I have visited with hundreds of residents. It is well worth it,” he said.
He said the township’s Facebook page and web site have been updated, even to the point residents can track when a snowplow will be on their street. The township also began video-taping municipal meetings that can be viewed at Fios 22 and Cablevision 27 and the township’s newsletter was reinstated.
“We are pretty much taping every event,” Siciliano said.
The township has recast bonds saving $800,000, added shared services, stabilized health-care costs and the tax rate, while still adding three policemen to the department.
“We are always trying to think outside of the box,” he said.
Regarding quality of life, the mayor said new bicycle lanes have been added, an upcoming indoor tennis facility is being built, renovations were made to the senior center on West Park Avenue, and a new permanent band shell is being built at Palaia Park.
A special No-Knock ordinance, that prohibits some forms of solicitation, was adopted and community events increased, like bringing back the annual Memorial Day.
As far as economic development, Siciliano said the new Own Ocean program is working well, with residents receiving a rebate on their taxes for shopping at participating stores.
Siciliano said a West Park Avenue corridor traffic study is being done and the township is providing addition senior-living facilities. Improvements are also being made at Seaview Square Mall.
“It is near 100 percent occupancy now,” he said.
The township is waiving some inspection fees to help out new businesses, considering special parking for wounded veterans, and FEMA flood insurance rates have been lowered.
“We are also trying to increase our revenue streams,” he said.