On December 12, 2020, Sussex County voted Mayor Michael Francis from Hopatcong Borough as the Mayor of the Year. Although Hopatcong is not one of the biggest towns in Sussex County, his achievements over the last year have exceeded everyone’s expectations.
What was delivered in 2020 under the Mayor's Guidance?
Launch of Marketplace (Managed by Vendors)
Hopatcong has had a long running Farmers Market. The change occurred starting in 2020 when the mayor turned it into a self-driven project based upon a management team of the vendors. Since that time, the Marketplace has grown to be the largest and most popular in Sussex and Morris counties. During this last weekend, the Borough of Hopatcong enjoyed a holiday Marketplace with over 100 vendors (Food, Arts, Crafts, Small Businesses) along with the Boroughs Tree Lighting.
Hudson Avenue Sewer Project:
Grant Funding was available for Sewer projects, and while the business decision for Hopatcong was clear, the Mayor allowed each resident to vote whether to connect to the sewers or not. The majority vote resulted in another 40+ homes connected to sewers to help protect Lake Hopatcong.
Taking additional septic tanks offline and adding them to the sewer project helps save the watershed coming into Lake Hopatcong.
Implementation of Solar Farm:
After almost 15 years in the process, the Solar Field was been built and complemented along with Hopatcong’s old Dumpsite. The Solar Field has turned this cost burden into a revenue-generating system for the Borough.
This once abandoned piece of land that cost taxpayers $10,000 a year for environmental checks, has now created for the Borough Town the ability to turn the land into 1.5Mw of Local Solar Power, with an Annual Total Cost Avoidance & Revenue of $36,250.
DEP Grant & Implementation of Crescent Cove:
Lastly, and most importantly, the Mayor took the time to investigate, evaluate, and select a solution that would be right for Crescent Cove’s environmental issues. The Mayor did this on his own time, without cost to taxpayers, and selected EverBlue Lake Systems for the $145,000 grant, which the mayor wrote all grant papers. The initial testing has been incredibly positive, and in addition, the mayor still continues to fight for the second phase of this project.
Above are only a few of the projects that helped make this award a possibility. Congratulations to Mayor Mike Francis for winning Mayor of the Year for Sussex County. Keep up the great work.
Note: It is our understanding that several Mayors received a similar award for their work with COVID.
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