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8:30 - 4:30


38 Park Avenue
Flemington, NJ, 08822

Reorganization Remarks, Jan. 4, 2022, by Mayor Betsy Driver

A year ago, we were here and hoping that we would be looking in the rear-view mirror at the pandemic by this time. Events started to come back to town, bringing residents out to socialize with their neighbors and visitors back to the Borough, new businesses were opening and there was a real sense of optimism in town.

Unfortunately, the world had other ideas for Flemington.

Despite not having a play book for pandemic responses, Flemington came together to continue to keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, while our infected numbers held steady for much of the year, over the previous two weeks, the rate of COVID positive tests in the Borough has skyrocketed to numbers that are above anything we saw in the first year of the pandemic. In the past week, we have seen our numbers go up by over 100 people, including another death last week - the first death we’ve seen in months. Flemington Borough is aware of the difficulties residents are having obtaining testing and so we are planning on standing up a walk-up and drive-up PCR testing site for Borough residents and employees. I expect it to start up next week. I’ve invited our OEM coordinator, Corporal Brian McNally, here this evening to share how it will work.

We had two extraordinary flooding events this year. And again, Flemington Borough and residents came together to help their neighbors. The event in July and then again in September from Hurricane Ida flooded basements throughout the Borough and unfortunately, left one residence with significant damage. Hundreds of tons of debris came out of Borough basements and was picked up by our contracted garbage hauler.

The evening of Ida, our first responders came together and rescued numerous people from cars. The rescue squad, the fire department, and the police officers working that evening rushed into the newly created rivers on Borough streets and saved dozens of people who got caught in the flash flooding.

In November, tragedy hit again with a fire in the Hunter Hills complex leaving over 70 people homeless and one person in critical condition with burns. Once again, the community rallied and, with help from outside agencies and businesses, the Borough was able to temporarily shelter and feed those who lost their homes a few days before Thanksgiving. And that evening was no exception to the heroics from our first responders, with two officers who were nearby rushing in to help evacuate residents from the burning buildings.

It was not all bad in 2021.

The Union Hotel project received an amended site plan approval for a scaled-down project. Work has been underway for months preparing the site for construction. 2021 also saw the lawsuits challenging the project approvals finally being settled. The scaled-down project and new site plan approval was key to getting those lawsuits cleared out of the way so that Flemington Borough could move on.

Other projects remain in the pipeline. Both sides of the Agway properties will see movement this year. Liberty Village will also see movement toward redevelopment this year. The monument sign that is being built on the Route 202 circle should be finished soon and will be a landmark welcoming visitors on the highway. Each of these projects is intended to ease the tax burden for every property owner in the Borough and attract new residents to patronize businesses throughout town. The residential projects will lead to much needed community benefit projects and improvements, including a potential in-town neighborhood grocery store. 144 Main Street, the site of the former gas station on Main Street, is finally back on the tax rolls and will soon be the site of an exciting new diner in town.

During the floods of this summer, it was clear that climate change is impacting the Borough in ways we’ve never witnessed before. We, as an entire community, need to start planning and working toward solutions now. Knowing how to prepare for climate change needs to be our number one priority and will be mine going into 2022. I’ll be asking our municipal engineering firm and planning board as they finally undertake a new master plan to further study how we can strengthen our resiliency against climate change throughout the Borough.

A year ago, under these same Zoom circumstances, I said the future of Flemington is bright. As we plan for that future and see some of the pieces fall into place, the glow is increasing. And it’s this community that is supplying the fuel to make it happen. Thank you to all residents who selflessly give their time on boards and commissions and other volunteer opportunities. We can’t do it without you.