Get to know Oakland’s new mayor and see his to-do list

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OAKLAND — It took two photo finishes and a recount to get there, but Eric Kolmala was finally sworn in as mayor.

Kulmala beat three-term Democratic Mayor Linda Schwager by 67 votes, narrowing to 21 after a court-mandated recount of the November election results in December. He lost to Schwager by a similar margin of 63 votes in 2019.

Kulmala is 58 years old and a lifelong resident of the town. He is a graduate of Indian Hills High School, a volunteer firefighter and EMT member, served as a council member for nine years and is a Republican county committeeman.

Oakland Mayor Eric Kolmala

Oakland Mayor Eric Kolmala

Kolmala downplays the importance of returning the six-member town council to all-Republican status, including appointing Jodi Goffredo to fill his council seat. He maintains that disagreements were civil, even when Democrats and Republicans shared the stage.

“Our Republican members don’t always agree either,” Kolmala said in a phone interview. “Right now we need to be politically active.”

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Kolmala clarifies his concerns and goals in January Mayor’s messageposted on the town’s website at oakland-nj.org.

The town “moved quickly” to install a water filtration system to combat the statewide problem of PFAS contaminants, and it is scheduled to become operational in February, Kolmala said. He said the town’s reliance on private wells and sewage systems continues to hinder the development of its commercial area.

State Sen. Holly Schepisi (R-39th District) is sworn in by Oakland Mayor Eric Kolmala on Jan. 7 as his wife, Brenda, holds a Bible.

State Sen. Holly Schepisi (R-39th District) is sworn in by Oakland Mayor Eric Kolmala on Jan. 7 as his wife, Brenda, holds a Bible.

the patient Patriots Road Bridge The other side of the Ramapo River was closed for a month due to stability concerns, and a state grant in June finally facilitated construction.

“We will hold a public meeting in the next 30 to 60 days to discuss plans to replace him,” Kolmala said. “We’re ready to go.”

The new mayor has been a champion of the circa-1740 Hendrick Van Allen House, at Ramapo Valley Road and Franklin Street, which recently underwent a landscaping after securing the structure, where George Washington resided while transporting his troops through the area. .

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“We started six years ago by fixing leaks in the roof, and now we want to beautify it and repair the fence and plantings,” Kulmala said.

As an IT engineer in the telecom industry, Kulmala said his primary concern is providing maximum information to residents.

“We want to be as transparent as possible,” he added.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Get to know the new Mayor of Oakland, New Jersey Eric Kolmala and his to-do list

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