GARWOOD — As Women’s History Month comes to a close, Garwood made sure to celebrate by making some history of its own at the governing body meeting of March 23, where Jada Shucai was sworn in as the borough’s first female police officer.
Ms. Shucai began her career in April 2021 as a 911 dispatcher with the Carteret Police Department before taking on the same role in Garwood in June 2022. Ms. Shucai is not yet a certified police officer, but she will be the first officer to attend the John H. Stamler Police Academy with a Garwood Police Department patch since 1990.
“Jada, you are now showing every little girl here in Garwood that they can be anything they want to be,” said Mayor Jen Blumenstock, who administered the oath of office for Ms. Shucai. “We know [that] is so important for girls to hear, but it’s even more important that it’s something they get to see.”
In other business, Mayor Blumenstock reported that she had joined with mayors in the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association and the New Jersey Conference of Mayors in signing a letter to the state legislature and administration urging the full restoration of energy tax receipts funding to municipalities.
According to Councilman Marc Lazarow, Garwood Chief Financial Officer Sandy Bruns found that the borough would have collected about $1 million over the past eight years had the state followed through with providing the municipality energy tax receipts.
“For years, though, state officials from both sides of the aisle have diverted money from energy taxes to plug holes in the state budget and to fund state programs, but that leaves the burden on local officials,” Mayor Blumenstock stated.
Last year, municipalities received from the state $75 million in overdue energy tax receipts after a similar effort last year resulted in just over 200 signatures. Although Mayor Blumenstock believes this was a “positive first step,” the sum in no way covers the total amount of funds diverted from municipalities.
“Fully restoring this funding to the municipalities, as was promised, would directly help Garwood and its taxpayers, so I urge my fellow council members and residents to also talk with our state officials and urge them to restore the funds back to local municipalities,” Mayor Blumenstock said.
The council also introduced four ordinances on Thursday, among them one that would raise the borough’s liquor-license fee to be more aligned with neighboring towns, and another that would raise industrial sewer fees while lowering the threshold for who is responsible for these fees.
The third ordinance, if passed, would establish landlord registration fees that would be used to ensure that rentals are following new regulations and to help offset the cost of hiring a full-time residential tenancy inspector.
“All of these ordinances are essential for helping mitigate the challenges of this upcoming budget as well as implementing mandated safety regulations,” Mr. Lazarow stated.
The fourth ordinance that the council introduced would make it unlawful to park a camper, recreational vehicle, camp car or mobile home on any street within Garwood between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.