WOODBRIDGE – Mayor John McCormac gave his seventh annual State of the Township report before the Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, again pointing out that Woodbridge is the “Best Town Around.”
The mayor highlighted the township’s response to Super Storm Sandy, saying that “unlike many towns, Woodbridge was prepared.”
During the storm and in the days afterward, the Woodbridge Police Department responded to nearly 2,200 calls for emergency service, the township’s independent fire companies responded to nine structure fires and 525 calls for service and the first aid squads handled 337 medical emergencies, McCormac said.
“Significant stream cleaning efforts in the year since Irene helped mitigate some of the damage in town, but there was little that could stop a 16-foot storm surge,” McCormac said. “We are working with an independent engineering firm to seek a more permanent solution to the flooding in Woodbridge.”
The mayor said that the township has waived permit fees for storm-related repairs and noted that the building tax assessment was reduced 90 percent for 34 homes that were rendered uninhabitable. McCormac also noted that the township is publicizing all grant programs and said, “We promise that we will do everything possible to help people get this funding and to get them back into their homes as quickly as possible.”
Saying that public safety is “perhaps the single-most important contributing factor to our township’s quality of life,” McCormac noted that the Woodbridge Police Department put more uniformed officers on the street in 2012 and expanded the Community Police Unit.
The mayor called Woodbridge’s economic development efforts “outstanding” in 2012 and promised even better for 2013. The mayor noted that a ten-story office building in Metro Park that was built on spec with no tenants is fully rented just months after opening. McCormac also noted that Upper Main Street has had a “real revitalization” and cataloged some of the major businesses that expanded their corporate offices, including Hess, Proctor & Gamble and Prudential.
McCormac did note that Hess will be closing part of its Port Reading operations in the coming months, which will result in a loss of 170 jobs. However, he spoke of a new warehouse project in Avenel with the potential to bring 500 jobs and a manufacturing facility and warehouse project in Fords that could bring another 500 jobs.
Before beginning his speech, McCormac recalled Marine Cpl. Kevin James Reinhard of Colonia who was killed while serving in Afghanistan last January, and 40-year veteran volunteer firefighter Chief Bruce Turcotte, who died of a heart attack while helping to fight a fire on Jan. 19, 2012.
The full text of McCormac’s speech, as prepared for delivery, is available on the Woodbridge Township website.