Elected Officials Reorganize and Set Goals for 2015Posted on January 9, 2015
Christine Madrid was elected mayor and Ed Trzaska was chosen as deputy mayor for 2015 when the Montgomery Township Committee held its reorganization meeting Tuesday amid expressions of hopes and goals for the new year.
The Montgomery Township Committee continued a tradition of rotating offices among its members. The mayor and deputy mayor are selected each year by the votes of all five elected Committee members. The other three committee persons continuing on, by seniority, are Patricia Graham, Rich Smith, and Chris Sugden.
After her swearing in, Mayor Madrid said, “We have accomplished much as a Committee, and I am excited to keep the momentum going as mayor.
Mayor Madrid begins her fourth year as a member of the Montgomery Township Committee in 2015. She originally replaced Mark Caliguire on the Committee in 2012 when he was tapped to fill a vacant seat on the Somerset County Board of Freeholders.
Freeholder Caliguire, a former mayor of Montgomery, administered the mayoral oath of office to Ms. Madrid. Earlier in the day in Somerville, he was selected to be this year’s Director of Freeholders. Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli also attended Montgomery’s reorganization meeting and administered the oath of office to Deputy Mayor Trzaska.
Mayor Madrid addressed township issues that will likely take center stage this year. She pledged the new year to be one of fiscal responsibility.
“Municipal spending remains below 2005 levels, and we have stayed within Governor Christie’s 2% property tax cap. We paid off an additional 2 million dollars of debt this year, while increasing our investments in essential services. A difficult fiscal outlook is improving, but there is always much more to do,” she said.
In her address, the mayor also noted that ensuring the public’s safety by supporting the police force in Montgomery was one of the most important things elected officials could do. She also wanted to review optimal municipal staffing levels in 2015 and said that encouraging smart growth and new businesses along Rt. 206 can create new revenues and services for citizens.
In his address, Ed Trzaska said he is excited to have Christine Madrid step-up to serve as mayor this year and that she brings a tremendous amount of organizational management experience to the table. Ms. Madrid is a Director with the New Jersey State Department of Labor and Workforce Management.
Mr. Trzaska, who is in his fifth year on the Committee, has also served two years as mayor of Montgomery. He also works as a Business Operations Director for Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
“Moving forward, we will continue to adhere to our core governing principles – doing more with less, protecting public health and safety services, and preserving Montgomery’s rural character while enhancing the commercial sections in town,” he said.
The new deputy mayor pledged that the Committee this year will approve more road projects, invest more in our parks and recreation options, preserve more open space, and partner with commercial business owners to enhance the services in town.
Committeewoman Patricia Graham is serving her 5th year on the Montgomery Twp. Committee, including two years as deputy mayor. She cited the adoption of fiscally responsible budgets and holding down municipal taxes and spending as her top priority as well as continuing work on open space. In the new year she set two additional goals: the adoption of an improved deer management plan to prevent deer/vehicle collisions and make our roads safer, as well as a comprehensive review of the township’s affordable housing plan in anticipation of new rules by the State’s Council on Affordable Housing (COAH).
Ms. Graham concluded on an appreciative note. “I want to thank all of the volunteers who give their time to Montgomery’s various boards, committees and commissions. I have worked with many of our volunteers and I continue to be impressed with their talent and dedication. I am happy to continue to serve with them.”
Rich Smith, who served as mayor last year and won his re-election bid in November, was also sworn into office for a second term. He touched on a common theme of his fellow committeepersons.
“This year I will focus my efforts on building and improving our infrastructure and growing our ratable base in town by increasing our commercial and retail business platform with a smart growth planning strategy,” he said.
Committeeman Smith thanked the municipal staff for their dedication and listed among accomplishments during his mayoral tenure the settlement of a builder’s remedy lawsuit over the Belle Mead Node property west of Rt. 206 across from Pike Run. He called it a “win-win” that Montgomery was able to negotiate down from a high density commercial/residential plan to 148 homes and development more in keeping with Montgomery’s character while recouping almost $7 million in taxpayer money.
Chris Sugden thanked the Committee for allowing him to serve as deputy mayor in 2014. He rejoins the Committee for his third year in 2015. He agreed that the settlement of the Belle Mead Node suit was a major accomplishment last year.
Mr. Sugden expanded on Mr. Smith’s statements that while improvements to the vicinity of town near the intersection of Rt. 518 and Rt. 206 were underway, further work must be done to recreate this corner. He pledged to do everything he could this year to make sure this “gateway to our town” is addressed. He noted that the Township was able to have a property owner remove two large dilapidated buildings nearby last year, calling this a move in the right direction.
The reorganization remarks and the 2015 meeting dates of the Montgomery Township Committee may be found on the Township website under Elected Officials (https://twp.montgomery.nj.us/elected-officials/).
Photos of the Jan. 6th reorganization meeting may be found at:
Source: Montgomery Twp. Clerks Office