Following is the address Mayor Welsh made at the January 3, 2023 Borough Council Reorganization Meeting.
Dear Members of the Borough Council, Distinguished Guests, Friends, and Neighbors:
I am deeply honored, and it is my privilege to accept the responsibility of Mayor of Far Hills. It comes with substantial pride, to be called the Mayor of Far Hills. I appreciate all of the residents that came out to vote on my behalf.
I would like to thank my wife Ashley of 17 years. Ashley has supported me through all my aspirations. Without her support, this would not be possible. I would also like to thank my 3 children Kaley, Madison, and Brooklyn. We have always believed and encouraged supporting each other in whatever dreams we pursue. My family has supported me from the beginning, and I thank them all for that.
There have been so many distinguished mayors over the years. Each has had a positive impact on Far Hills. I have had the pleasure of working with both Mayor Vallone and Mayor Karner. Both men have taught me a lot and I want to thank both mayors for listening to my desires to bring community together. In collaboration myself, Mayor Vallone and our wives worked together to bring back the Recreation Committee under the leadership of the Vallones. I thank the Vallones for the opportunity to be the Borough Council representative. We accomplished a lot over the past year and a half, and I look forward to supporting the Recreation Committee for years to come.
Mayor Vallone also led us through a tough second round of affordable housing. He was always looking to protect the borough through the many, many years of meetings on this topic. Since Mayor Vallone stepped down, Mayor Karner has taken the bull by the horns. Collectively we have worked hard to renegotiate with the Atlantic Visiting Nurse (AVN) to improve the barns at the fairgrounds with painting and carpentry work. I am happy to say the newly renegotiated long-term lease will better support the needs of the AVN and at the same time, protect our financial interest for many years to come. I am delighted to say our strong partnership and the new lease will be the first ordinance that I will sign as mayor in 2023. Make no mistake this is a major enhancement to the current lease. I am proud to have played a major part in its renegotiations and I want to thank Mayor Karner for all his hard work on this very important project. The Borough Council is also actively finishing up a financial audit of the Errico Acres inclusionary affordable housing project. I am confident that the Borough Council and I will work through the finish line as we openly communicate and protect the best interest of Far Hills moving forward.
I would also like to thank my father, Peter Welsh. He has been a great example of how a man should lead with hard work, dedication, respect, honor, and diligence. Make no mistake, our fourth-generation business with over 114 years behind us comes out of many hours of hard work. The hours on the door do not represent the time it takes to be successful. Our efforts have to be above and beyond to stand out. I intend on handling my duties as mayor just as we run our business with respect, dedication, honor, hard work and diligence.
I started my public service on the Planning Board in 2013 and have since moved onto the Borough Council. I believe it is important to give back to the Borough and at the same time protect Far Hills from the pressures of overdevelopment.
In the years ahead we will face many obstacles such as finishing the second round of affordable housing with the third round of affordable housing just around the corner in 2025, the US Route 202 bridge replacement project, as well as the increasing costs across the board and many other unknowns that may turn up over the years. I am confident our Borough Council is up to the challenges we will face.
It is evident I love Far Hills! I know it well, whether it be the Village, the Polo Club, or the Estate areas. Far Hills is so special and unique in its own way. Far Hills is a special gem. I will work hard to protect the bucolic nature of Far Hills. I will promote a community centered town, promote pedestrian safety, and will continue to promote the revitalization of the J. Malcolm Belcher fairgrounds. I live for events such as the tree lighting the Far Hills Recreation Committee put together this past December. Small town living with small town values.
My goals moving forward are to continue to improve our strong fiscal position and protect our low tax rate. I will support our community events such as the semi-annual AVN sale, the Memorial Day parade, the Far Hills Steeplechase, Veterans Day, Essex Horse Trials, holiday tree lighting event and beyond. I will support our wonderful police department. I will be open minded and transparent. I will fight to protect the heritage and way of life we all enjoy. I have and always put the Borough of Far Hills first and will continue to as mayor!
We are all in partnership together as we set forth on the next chapter. We have a great team. A great Borough Council, Planning Board, Board of Health, Board Professionals, Borough Clerk, CFO, and our Municipal Court. We are all ready to do the job. I once again thank you for the opportunity to lead our community as mayor.
God bless Far Hills and God bless America,
Mayor of Far Hills 2023