Bold new agenda for Sussex County Freeholder Board

Last evening was the formal reorganization of the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.  Republican Herb Yardley – who defeated Democrat Dan Perez in 2017 – will be the new Freeholder Director.  Sylvia Petillo will serve as Deputy Director.  

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In their remarks, Yardley and the two newcomers – Franklin’s Dawn Fantasia and Sparta’s Josh Hertzberg – quickly set the tone of the next year.  Their agenda can best be summed up by the core principles outlined by Freeholder Fantasia:

  • There is a need to provide safe and clean communities. 

  • There is a need to provide safe and structurally sound roads and bridges. 

  • There is a need for clear concise communication, and my goal is to improve communication between the county and the municipalities it serves, because we are in the customer service business, and our customers are the municipalities.

  • There is a need for ethical and open practice in everything we do. 

  • There is a need to provide comprehensive health and human services. We cannot ever turn a blind eye to the increasing numbers of our aging population and the services senior citizens need. 

  • There is a need to enhance services, and access to those services, for our veterans. 

  • There is a need to appreciate and recognize the hard work put forth by the county employees.

  • There is a need to support our District 24 legislators as they tirelessly push at the state level for our needs in this corner of Northwestern New Jersey.

  • And in order to move the county forward and to promote economic stability, there is a clear need to promote tourism, and truly embrace the concept of being business-friendly. 

Fantasia noted she and her colleagues would address these core principles “through prioritized spending, the establishment of county ethics board, clear communication and establishing and maintaining authentic relationships with the municipalities through municipal liaisons.  And when we engage in elective projects that exceed standard appropriations, the decision to invest in such expenditures must go to the voters.”

The new Board also appears set to finish the work of outgoing Freeholder Jonathan Rose, who pushed the old Board to start the legal process to reclaim some of the money lost on the solar program that went bust in 2014-15.  One thing the Board can do is to instruct its employee, County Counsel Kevin Kelly, to work with and not hinder the efforts of Byram Councilman Harvey Roseff and other citizen activists who are building a case on behalf of the county’s taxpayers.