Last month Farmingdale resident Beau Byrtus was sworn in as the newest member of the Borough Council and the third person to hold that seat since the summer of 2012.
Following the resignation of most of the council Richard Geffken was sworn in to fill one of the seats and won the right to hold that seat in the November elections. Geffken then resigned for health reasons and on February 19 the council voted for Byrtus to fill his seat.
Sitting at the dais Byrtus said his goal now is to help Farmingdale move forward and bring stability to the council. In just two weeks the newly formed governing body has shown they are able to work together, highlighted by the establishment of a recreation commission.
Byrtus, who had been an advocate of the plan before joining the council and runs the recreation program in Old Bridge, said he believes it will be a benefit to the residents in Farmingdale. "We want to provide recreation services throughout the community and for all age groups and ability levels," he said.
The council, the newly formed commission and the schools will all work together to find the best ways to provide programming for the residents. The newest member of the council said the bulk of the activities will be run out of the Farmingdale School, the community center and other places in close proximity to the borough. "One of the nuances of Farmingdale is it's a walkable town," he said. "We wanted the commission to do things like after school programs and things that generate energy in the town."
Another benefit to the residents is that the commission will not cost taxpayers any money from the start. After doing some research Byrtus said he found an existing and un-utilized trust fund. "Everyone called it the for the boys account," he said. After contacting people at the state level Byrtus said it was determined the fund could be used for the new commission. "We have start up money for the recreation commission with no impact to the taxpayers," he said.
The Farmingdale council also recently reached a shared services agreement with Howell to join the Municipal Alliance to help prevent drug and alcohol abuse among the younger residents in the area. "In just a couple of months we've been able to provide a lot of services to the township at no additional costs to the taxpayers," he said.
With the council and the borough moving forward, Byrtus said he is hoping to put the recent council instability behind them. "In terms of the past council, they had all of their reasons and to each their own," he said. "I want to focus on the future which we're doing and is exciting in a short order."
As a former member of the Farmingdale Board of Education Byrtus said he looks forward to bringing the same passion to his new post. "There's a level of dedication that I absolutely have," he said. "I have no intention of going anywhere, I'm here to serve my community in any way I can."