BEST PLACE TO LIVE – Warren Township was voted in September 2013 by New Jersey Monthly as #1 Best Place to Live in Central Jersey and #2 Best Place to Live in State of NJ.
This is due to Warren’s:
SAFEST TOWN TO LIVE IN –
Photo of American Flags above the corner of Mountain Boulevard and Mount Bethel Road by Debbie Weisman
In 2013, Warren Township was named the 2nd BEST place to live of all 514 New Jersey Towns for young families, singles and empty nesters!
In 2014, Warren Township was ranked #3 of the 50 SAFEST communities in New Jersey and in 2016, #1 SAFEST City in New Jersey!
BUDGET & TAXES — The Township Committee has a conservative financial philosophy. Our 2017 budget of $18,895,411.91 is less than the amount permitted by State Budget controls. The Township’s 2017 tax rate is .291, which is 2.28% less than last year with a tax rate of .295. The Township received an Aa1 bond rating from Moody’s Investor’s Service in 2016 and an AAA rating by Standard & Poor’s in 2014.
EAST COUNTY RESERVE – The Warren Township Committee, under the guidance of Committeeman Mick Marion partnered with The Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Somerset County Park Commission to develop a 150-acre East County Park, bordered by Dubois, Reinman and Old Stirling roads which official opened to the public in 2015. This park is one of the most picturesque pieces of property in the Township; it represents the Townships rural heritage. The trails provide a family friendly location designed for the public to enjoy walking, running, biking, or pushing strollers. The park contains walking path interconnections to both the Duderstadt and the Pop Warner fields. Planning for the expansion of the park began with Phase II for the construction of a large gazebo with permanent seating areas and picnic tables with benches. Phase II will also include the installation of a dog park in an area to be jointly selected between the County and the Township. In addition, the fence between the Pop Warner field and the trails will be open to allow pedestrians to access the trail from that location.
UTILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (UAC) – In November 2012, the Township Committee established the UAC to assist in developing alternatives to reduce power outages in the event of future storms. Thanks to work by Rutgers University Computer Science department, a Rutgers professor and his student developed a smart-phone based application in partnership with the Warren Township Utility Advisory Committee (UAC). At the request of the UAC, the phone App allowed trained Township volunteers to map and inventory leaning utility poles, trees growing into distribution lines, and other hazardous conditions throughout Warren that could contribute to future storm-related power outages. Township volunteers used the App to inventory potentially hazardous tree and utility pole conditions during August and September 2013. The Township officials used the data collected by the volunteers to categorize and prioritize hazardous and critical situations that they believe could jeopardize the delivery of safe and reliable utility service to the Township during future storms. The Township provided the data to JCP&L and PSE&G for their analysis and remediation. Both utility companies were extremely cooperative and remedied the identified hazards; this was a very beneficial program.
LIBERTY CORNER ROAD SUBSTATION – The Township is working in conjunction with JCP&L and land owners in the Somerset Hills Corporate Park by Exit 33 of I-78 to assist in the construction of a new electric substation which will provide an alternative power source in the event of power failures for residents in the western corridor of Warren Township. JCP&L anticipates an application to the Planning Board in mid-2017 with construction to follow.
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE — Under the guidance of Township Committeeman George Lazo, the Township Committee began a process to determine if Township ordinances should be updated and strictly enforced relative to property maintenance ordinances which have been updated. Property values can only be maintained with the commitment of each and every resident.
ECONOMIC INCENTIVE WAIVER FOR SMALL BUSINESSES – In 2012, the Township Committee adopted ordinance 2012-09 creating the Economic Incentive Waiver for Business Owners. Under certain zones, business owners could apply for an exemption from certain construction Subcode permit fees in an amount not to exceed $5,000. In addition, businesses applying for the exemption had to create at least five (5) permanent full time jobs to assist in the economic development of the Township. This ordinance demonstrated to the business community, that the Township Committee is dedicated to assisting businesses within the Township. This ordinance was extended until June 30, 2016.
BUSINESS FRIENDLY APPROACH – Upon entering office in 2012, Mr. Lazo and Mr. Marion determined that the Township did not provide sufficient assistance to the business community and this was resulting in vacancies of commercial space. In 2012, the Township Committee created a Business Development Committee to advise them on methods for Warren Township to become more business friendly. This committee recommended the Economic Incentive Ordinance as well as changes in the planning and zoning board application process in order to expedite the processing of applications. The committee consisted of members of the Warren Township business community and residents with a goal of improving the business climate in Warren Township. Due to their willingness to work with businesses and by providing improvements to the Construction Code office and Land Use department procedures resulted in leasing of commercial space; the relocation of such companies such as GSK to Warren Township, for example. It also promoted a dialogue between the Township Committee and the business community. A vibrant business community paying property taxes is beneficial to the residential property taxpayer.
CUSTOMER SERVICE SURVEYS — The Township Committee has been surveying residents every other year since approx. 2010, in order to keep their commitment to improve customer service of all municipal employees. These surveys have shown significant improvements from 52 complaints or negative comments in 2010 to 28 in 2016. The Township Committee is committed to improving these numbers with each survey taken.
GLAXOSMITHKLINE PHARMACEUTICAL CO. – The Township Committee worked closely with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in efforts to encourage occupancy of vacant properties during difficult economic times. GSK committed to a long term lease at Center 78 or 184 Liberty Corner Rd. This business is a new company, GSK Consumer Health, which is a merger between GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, a long-time consumer business of goods.
GSK did a $40-$50 million dollar investment to fit up their portion of the building and brought in 800-1,000 new jobs to Warren.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING PLAN – The Township Committee continues to work towards developing an affordable housing plan which meets court requirements and minimizes the impact upon the Warren community.
OEM GRANT RECEIVED — Receipt of an Emergency Management Grant in the amount of $43,000 for an AM Radio station was awarded which became operational in 2016.
GRANT FOR NEW GENERATOR – The Township was awarded with a $73,349 grant for a generator for the new Town Hall.
GRANT FOR OVERLAY – A $175,000 grant was awarded by the State of New Jersey for the paving of Round Top Road to be constructed in 2017. In 2014, a grant for $175,000 was awarded for Dead River Road which was paved in 2016.
HILLCREST ROAD SEWERS – Construction of the Hillcrest Road sanitary sewer extension provided sewers to residents living between Mountain Avenue and the Passaic River.
NEW AMBULANCE PURCHASE – The Township has purchased an ambulance for the Warren Township Rescue Squad. The Squad received the rig in November 2016 for approximately $231,000.
REVISED MASTER PLAN – During 2015, the Planning Board worked on reviewing our Land Use Master Plan for all of Warren Township. This involved the re-examination of zoning districts to make sure they are still suitable with growth and changing times. Recommendations will be made to, and reviewed by, the Township Committee for their approval which is mandated by the State every 10 years. The laws of New Jersey require a revision of the Master Plan.
NEW MUNICIPAL BUILDING – In February 2017, the new Town Hall was completed under budget and on time, allowing us to now be ADA compliant and offer more efficient customer service to our residents and business owners.