Council members comment on a tough year

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POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Point Pleasant Beach borough officials gave thanks to first responders, council members, borough employees and residents during their final meeting of the year on Dec. 15.

Council members brought up the challenging year and how the borough worked through issues together, all to serve one another.

Councilman Doug Vitale led off the discussion thanking the borough’s police.

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“I just want to thank the police department for everything they did, Chief [Joseph] Michigan and the entire department, for keeping us safe throughout this unprecedented summer and year,” said the councilman. “I also want to thank all of our first responders for being on the front lines in the battle against COVID. Thank you all for keeping us safe.”

Mr. Vitale said he was proud of what the council accomplished this year.

“It’s crazy to think that this year has gone by already. The year presented unique challenges, but through it all I enjoyed serving the residents of Point Pleasant Beach.”

Councilwoman Arlene Testa recounted the hard work done by all the borough’s committees and commissions who worked through the pandemic to continue serving the community.

She thanked the borough’s beautification committee, which she and Councilman Andy Cortes work directly with.

“Thank you to all our volunteers for your dedication and hard work making the town look beautiful,” she said.

She also thanked the residents for their support.

“It has been an honor this year to serve you,” said Ms. Testa.

Councilwoman Caryn Byrnes echoed Mr. Vitale and Ms. Testa’s remarks thanking first responders and borough volunteers.

“Everybody did a great job in a very unique and trying year,” said Councilman Cortes. “It’s been a difficult year, a lot of ups and downs, highs and lows.”

“I want to congratulate the three new council members for navigating through a unique first year. You guys, all three of you, did a great job,” he said to council members Vitale, Testa and Byrnes.

Mr. Cortes also congratulated Mayor Paul Kanitra for a successful first year, despite a few arguments between the two throughout 2020.

“You survived your first year as mayor, a lot of tough things to deal with,” said Mr. Cortes. “We had some healthy debates, we also had some unhealthy arguing and some name-calling, but we got past it and I think we’re going to move forward and make 2021 better for all of us up here and all of us in the town.”

Mayor Kanitra thanked the borough, its employees and residents, for making it through this year.

“This was an unprecedented year to say the least,” he said.

“There were definitely some disagreements on the council in terms of how we move forward as a municipality … but the one thing I can say, though, is that when it came to the pandemic and keeping the residents safe, this council was fully united,” he said. “I think everybody on the council can proudly look back and say we all kept this town safe through a very, very difficult time.”

Mr. Kanitra said he believed the council made the right decisions when it came to dealing with the pandemic, following shutdowns, informing residents and helping businesses along the way.

“I think the departments and all the hard workers in town hall that came out and worked through the pandemic and dealt with their jobs should be greatly appreciated,” said the mayor.

“I’m very proud of this administration and what we did to keep everybody safe,” he said. “I’m very proud of a lot of the decisions we made in terms of the future of the borough of Point Pleasant Beach.”

The mayor also echoed thanks to first responders for their sacrifices during this pandemic.

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