Mayor's Message

2018 Mayors Message

A Sense of Community

Mayor John R. Spodofora

It has been five years since Stafford endured the wrath of super storm Sandy, and at that five year anniversary I have been contacted by numerous media groups wanting to know how well we have recovered.   During an interview with a reporter from the New York Times I was told that Stafford was one of the most successful towns in its recovery, more than any other town he had researched.  Soon after that there was a film crew from FEMA doing a documentary who selected Stafford as a town that excelled in its recovery efforts.  Our successes are due to our people, it has been said that adversity does not build character, it reveals it, and that has been proven true over and over for our community.

During each interview I was able to reflect back to better understand the great community that we have.  It can be hard to define a community, we are group of individuals, from all backgrounds, educational levels, ages and affluence, we are different yet we are one.  A community is a team that will come together as one and reach out to help one another.  This universal brotherhood within Stafford is truly our most powerful and precious possession.

All of our successes from the clean-up and restoration of Manahawkin Lake, to those who reached out to help their neighbors during Sandy, were the result of a strong caring community.  In many cases we have proven that average people in an average community can change the world.  Many of our policies and programs such as our storm water management standards continue to be used by other communities all over the world.  We have shown that by common sense, determination, persistence and patience we can reach out beyond Stafford and help the larger world community. 

When people, government, land, and community work together we all prosper and share in the overall success; when they compete with each other all are exploited.  Stafford residents should always maintain a strong sense of belonging, and together we can overcome any challenge.  They say that coming together is a beginning, working together is a start, and staying together is success.  Our residents have a strong sense of community and that is true success.

Our community of volunteers are second to none, our fire departments, EMS members, clubs, civic associations, coaches, hospital volunteers, the members of our planning and zoning boards, the members of our historical society and environmental commission, and so many others who volunteer and commit time and expertise to continue to make Stafford a community of pride.

We should all take great pride in our recreation programs, parks and fields.  Stafford remains committed to assuring that every segment of our community from the elderly to the children have programs and events, and we continue to grow our recreational opportunities.

All of us are part of the fabric of our community, and mutuality and we all share in its destiny.  Whatever affects one, affects all of us indirectly.  The generosity, the caring and the overall support I have seen over the years from our residents continue to make me proud, and the ability to share with others the dedication of our residents to the common good sets an example for others to follow. 

Many times when holding public office we have to make tough decisions, we always need to look at all of Stafford and make decisions that are best for the common good.  We must always base our decisions to assure we maintain the quality of life our residents deserve while controlling your tax dollars.  Our employees work hard to always exhibit the professionalism, skills, knowledge and expertise to assure our residents receive the services they require. Our police are highly trained and are committed to protecting and serving our residents.  It is important that we supply all of our emergency and first responders with the support they need to protect us.

Our Township resources must always be managed based on priorities.  Each year when a budget is developed all of our roads, and infrastructure is evaluated and projects are scheduled based on the greatest needs.

All of this, all of the things that make Stafford so special is due to the community spirit.  We all need to participate in continuing to make each other's lives better.  Joining organizations, participating in neighborhood watch programs, volunteering to help others and most of all remembering no person and no part of town is an island, we are all part of the whole.  We cannot live only for ourselves; we need to recognize that working as a community with community goals we will continue to thrive.  We live in a world in which we are all connected, that connection is critical to the success of all of us.

I continue to have great faith in democracy.  However, I have an even greater belief in the people within our community.  I remain proud of each of you who can look beyond your own self interests and concern yourselves with betterment of your community.  I remain humbled to serve as your Mayor, and look forward to working with all of you toward continuing successes in Stafford.