Village invites community feedback post Hurricane Sandy

This noticed was placed on the Village on Friday, please take the survey and let us know what you think! The Board of Trustees and OEM invite all community members to participate in this brief survey regarding Hurricane Sandy. This information will help the Village prepare for and continue to improve our response to these types of events in the future. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions. Thank you! Below is the schedule of neighborhood association meetings that have been scheduled to discuss the impact of the storm, and the response, with each neighborhood. Meetings are at 730pm.  Jan 9 - Montrose Historic Park Association Jan 10 - Upper Wyoming Neighborhood Association + Wyoming & Ridgewood Neighborhood Association Jan 16 - Tuxedo Park Neighborhood Association Jan 17 - West Montrose Neighborhood Association Jan 24 - Newstead Neighborhood Association

A brief recap of 2012

Happy New Year!I'm excited for 2013... I think this year will bring many challenges, but many opportunities as well. And although I am beginning the planning for 2013's State Of The Village address (which will be much more in depth), I wanted to recap some of the great things from 2012 that we accomplished in South Orange. And make no mistake... these kinds of achievements take a team working together. No one can go at it alone, and we saw the amazing teamwork, not just among village staff but our entire community this year so many times (Most notably in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy). Here are some notables: The second lowest tax increase in over a decade. (The first lowest being the 2011 budget). Read more about the budget and the exciting new transparency tools building upon last year's precedent setting release of the budget in downloadable spreadsheet. The creation of a downtown management corporation called the South Orange Village Center Alliance, which is a turbocharged version of Main Street, with more access to grants and funding sources, that will help local merchants invest back into our downtown and continue to grow it to continue to help make our village a more attractive arts/culture/food destination for...

VP Torpey writes an open letter to NJ Mayors on Improvement of Utility Preparedness

This is a copy of an email I sent to about 400 New Jersey mayors/clerks (whose contact information were available online). This letter and this initiative are not communications or official action on behalf of the Village. Dear fellow mayors and municipal colleagues, My name is Alex Torpey and I’m the Mayor and Emergency Management Coordinator for the Township of South Orange Village.  I’m emailing you today because, like many of you, I'm frustrated. And like many of you, I want to see decisive actions and results from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities working with our utility companies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. But we need to do this together.All of our communities have been dealing with the challenges and destruction from Hurricane Sandy - some of us are still recovering and rebuilding and will be continuing to do so for the foreseeable future. Our first responders, relief workers, community members and utility workers have all stepped up to the plate in incredible ways across our state. Many local governments have already begun looking at what went well and what needs improvement. It's time for the utility companies to do the same. Last year after the storms, we tried to lend...

Village President Speaks with Rutgers Students About Local Planning

On Thursday, Village President Alex Torpey spoke with a group of graduate students at Rutgers Edward J Bloustein school of Planning of Public Policy. The event was organized by Rutgers Bloustein students who wanted to bring a local official's perspective to students in their planning program. Torpey spoke with about 30 graduate students about topics such as affordable housing challenges facing local governments, sustainability initiatives happening in South Orange, like complete streets and bike lanes, EV charging stations, LEED certifications for new developments and more, as well as emergency planning and preparedness efforts, especially in relation to planning and advocating for a more redundant power infrastructure. South Orange has recently taken the lead on advocating for solutions from the state legislature to help fix problems related to utilities response to Superstorm Sandy. Read more about that.  Students asked questions and engaged in a long Q+A session about local planning initiatives, the role that the mayor plays in the planning process, what challenges exist to expanding public transit access at the local level, and the relationship between town development and Seton Hall University.  Brandon McKoy, a South Orange resident and Bloustein student who co-organized the event said that "The event provided an excellent opportunity for students to gain...

How the Community Will Help Us Prepare for the Next Super Storm

Below is an op-ed I wrote, as Village President and Office of Emergency Management Coordinator: Superstorm Sandy was one of the worst storms ever to hit the state of New Jersey. However, despite its seeming rarity, it will not be the last, as weather events seem to be trending towards the more extremes. As a result, a unique opportunity exists to collectively and comprehensively assess what happened and to make improvements and recommendations before the next major storms hits. Although from the feedback we've received, the response and communication from the Village itself was generally very good, we can, of course, always do better. And it is critical to remember that, for an event this large, the Village’s response is significantly impacted by the response of others, for example PSE&G and NJ Transit.

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ACLU NJ recognizes New Jersey leaders, including Village President Alex Torpey for Open Government

This Thanksgiving, the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union thanked a few New Jersey leaders who they feel made a positive impact for the citizens of New Jersey in 2012: Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno & Board of Elections Director Robert Giles for protecting voters South Orange Village President Alex Torpey for commitment to open government All of the emergency crews, public servants, and New Jersey residents who supported each other before, during and after Hurricane Sandy Read the full press release from the ACLU.