TOMS RIVER, NJ – He already has his own private reporter on the books, but as taxes in Toms River skyrocket this year, up to nearly 7%, Toms River Mayor Mo Hill is looking to hire a public relations firm to get him through the tough political times that lay ahead of him.
Toms River Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill and six out of the council’s 7 member body have agreed to hire a public relations firm to assist the township with its tarnished public image ahead of a massive effort to rebuild Downtown Toms River into a city. The township already employs Stacey Proebstle, according to township records as the public information officer responsible for writing township press releases and positive municipal community promotional management. Proebstle earns $65,087 from the township.
On Tuesday the town council agreed to receive bids, “For the Township Council of the Township of Toms River, Ocean County, New Jersey, authorizing the Purchasing Division to advertise and receive sealed proposals for Public Information Consulting Services for the Township of Toms River, using a competitive contracting process.”
The measure passed by a 6-1 vote as Councilman Daniel Rodrick objected to the additional expense he feels is unnecessary, especially as taxes in the township increased by 6% this year already. Rodrick told Hill and the council, “If you want positive press, you can start by making the right choices for the people of Toms River.”
Rodrick voted no. Rodrick also voted no to a $5,000,000 expense that included engineering modifications to Herflicker Road, now a vacant backroad in Downtown Toms River, but soon will be a vital thoroughfare to Hill’s new vision of a downtown city. That $5,000,000 also included a $2.5 million upgrade to the Toms River Police Department radio network. Rodrick suggested that the township, like many other towns in Ocean County transfer to the county’s large 9-1-1 operations center to central 9-1-1 calls and to coordinate police communications countywide.
Toms River Councilman Kevin Geoghegan, a retired Toms River patrolman balked at Rodrick’s objection to the $2.5 million upgrades accusing Rodrick of “defunding the police” if he does not vote yes to the expense before taking another look at moving to the county system.