BRICK – Lisa Crate agreed to stay on as council president for a second consecutive year, and was sworn into office by Mayor John G. Ducey during the January 5 virtual Reorganization Meeting.
The mayor said it had been great working with Crate in 2020, who organized the council meetings and kept everything under control during “severe, difficult times.”
Also, Art Halloran accepted the nomination to serve as council vice-president for the second year in a row.
During the Mayor’s Comments portion of the meeting, Ducey called 2020 “the worst possible scenario…we have experienced, witnessed, and certainly have heard of sickness, death, financial ruin, social chaos, isolation, and many other things occurring around the country and across the world,” due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Serving the public was not easy for the township to do in 2020, he added. Sixty township employees selflessly took a COVID furlough to help the budget, and the employees who stayed had to work harder than ever to make up for the employee shortfall while risking their own health, he said.
Meanwhile, the need for township services reached record highs, including the most ever leaves put out to the curb for leaf pickup; the most ever storm debris put to the curb (with the exception of Sandy) due to an August storm; the most bulk pickups; the most season beach passes ever sold; the most wellness calls made by the Senior Center to seniors; the most recycling and garbage cans ever sold; the most calls to Code Enforcement; and the most food deliveries ever made, Mayor Ducey said.
Also, residents applied for a record number of gun permits in 2020. Normally there are some 700-750 applications annually, but during this past year the township received some 3,000 requests for gun permits.
Some of the township’s normal activities had to be done in a different way, including a socially-distanced Farmer’s Market, drive-in movies at the Drum Point Sports Complex (instead of in-person), and virtual inspections by the Building Department.
“We provided high school athletes with a ‘Final Friendlies,’ which is a final game or match in their high school careers, because they weren’t able to do so through the school system,” he said.
“We had to adapt to the times and come out of our comfort zones, and offer variations of our own,” Mayor Ducey said.
The police developed a “Good to Go” website to advertise open restaurants and businesses in town so people could learn where to go and shop to support the economy, Mayor Ducey said.
The Recreation Department created “Play at Home,” which included chalk drawing contests, Friday night karaoke, a Halloween house decorating contest, a recipe book, and other activities that could be done at home. The department also became a hub for collecting donations for the hospital staff, he said.
The governing body passed ordinances to help businesses stay afloat during the pandemic, such as allowing restaurants to serve food and alcohol outside of the building, and permitting gyms, dance studios and fitness centers to operate outdoors.
If fitness facilities had no place outside their building, they were able to operate fully at the Havens Farm Park on Herbertsville Road, Ducey said.
Ducey also named 2021 Mayoral appointments and reappointments to the Architectural Review Committee, BMAC, the Environmental Commission, the Historic Preservation Committee, the Planning Board, the Property Maintenance Board, the Shade Tree Commission, Sustainable Brick Township, and the TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) Committee.
The next council meeting will be on Tuesday, January 19 at 7 p.m.