Twp. Committee Reorganizes for 2017Posted on January 12, 2017
Selects Ed Trzaska for his 3rd Tenure as Mayor
The Montgomery Township Committee renewed their commitment to continued fiscal responsibility and high quality public service at their reorganization meeting January 5th. Ed Trzaska was selected to serve as mayor this year and Rich Smith was chosen as deputy mayor. A seasoned team will continue to lead Montgomery as Ed Trzaska and Patricia Graham were each sworn in to a third 3-year term on the governing body.
The Montgomery mayor and deputy mayor are chosen to hold these positions each year from among the elected Committee by the vote of all five members. Newly chosen mayor Ed Trzaska has served since 2011, including 5 years as either mayor or deputy mayor. Rich Smith, beginning his sixth year on Committee, was chosen as deputy mayor. Each Committee member is elected in staggered fashion to serve for 3 years.
Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire, a former mayor of Montgomery Township, swore newly re-elected member Ed Trzaska into office and Senator Kip Bateman administered the oath of office to re-elected Committee member Patricia Graham.
New Jersey State Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli administered the mayoral oath of office to Ed Trzaska and NJ Senator Kip Bateman administered the oath of office to Deputy Mayor Rich Smith.
In his remarks, Mayor Trzaska thanked his family for their support and congratulated Patricia Graham on her successful tenure as mayor in 2016 and Rich Smith for serving as Deputy Mayor in 2017.
“This is an exciting time for Montgomery and 2017 is going to be a great year. I know we will get the job done and make our community an even better place to live,” he stated.
Mayor Trzaska summarized the Committee’s objectives for the New Year:
“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.”
Mayor Trzaska emphasized the importance of the continued sound fiscal management of the Township, which remains a top priority of the Township Committee in 2017.
“Being fiscally conservative is the hallmark of this team. We are spending below 2005 levels and have reduced debt by almost $30 million,” said the mayor.
He said this frugality has allowed leadership to thoughtfully invest in Montgomery. He cited $5 million spent in road improvements in the past two years, the most in recent history.
Mayor Trzaska is beginning his seventh year as a member of the Montgomery Township Committee. He served as mayor in 2012 and 2013 and as deputy mayor in 2014 and 2015. The Mayor also works as Customer Insights Director for Otsuka Pharmaceutical in Princeton.
Deputy Mayor Rich Smith congratulated Pat Graham on a successful year as Mayor and welcomed Ed Trzaska back to the position. He thanked administrator Donato Nieman and Township staff for their excellent service to the community.
Mr. Smith addressed the issue of commercial development in town and how such tax revenue can counter the need for tax increases.
“There are two ways to drive taxes down, spend less and/or generate more tax revenue from new businesses. We do all we can to spend less and provide necessary services, despite escalating pension, healthcare, salaries and benefit costs,” he said. He said bringing new business to Montgomery would only be done in a smart way consistent with the town’s master plan.
He referred to construction occurring in Belle Mead near Pike Run as well as the Southern hub. He announced that a scaled down Montgomery Promenade was expected to break ground in 2017 near Princeton Airport and that a transformation of the Village Shopper and traffic flow enhancing loop road improvements were coming to the corner of Rte. 518 and Rt. 206.
“When completed Montgomery will have a first class local shopping, dining, living, sporting and public space that we all will enjoy and be proud of,” he concluded.
Deputy Mayor Rich Smith was first elected in 2012 and served as mayor in 2014. He is beginning the third year of his current term on the Committee. Mr. Smith is also a principal with HDR Architects of Princeton.
Committee member Patricia Graham was re-elected to the Committee last year while serving as mayor. She has served on the Township Committee since 2010 and served as deputy mayor in 2012 and 2013. She congratulated the new mayor and deputy mayor, thanked her husband for his support, and thanked the residents for re-electing her to serve and continue the work she led as mayor in 2016. She said last year the Committee tackled challenging budget issues, preserved 170 additional acres of open space, improved roads and parks, and continued leadership succession in Montgomery’s police department. She expressed appreciation to all the professionals, staff, and especially board and committee volunteers.
Specifically recognizing the work of the Township professionals and staff, Committee member Graham said, “The Twp. Committee sets goals and policies for the Township, and we do our best to make things happen. But the people who accomplish the nuts and bolts of the Township’s business are our Township professionals and those who work for the town. They come in every day and without hoopla keep the Township running efficiently to serve the residents of our town,” she said. “They deserve our recognition and thanks.”
Committee member Christine Madrid congratulated Mayor Trzaska and Deputy Mayor Smith and thanked the outgoing mayor and deputy mayor for their leadership. Reflecting on the accomplishments 2016, she said the Committee “kept spending low, protected public health and safety, and invested in infrastructure”. She felt the Police Department and the community’s safety were in good hands with the ongoing succession plan. She also felt that the town is seeing the last burst of commercial development as it reaches maturity and she looked forward to new retail service offerings and seeing the results take shape.
Mark Conforti spoke last and thanked the public for allowing him the opportunity to serve once again. He mentioned the Police transition and how proud he is that the new Police Captain and Lieutenant spots were hired from within.
He defined fiscal responsibility as providing the best services at lowest possible price and making wise investments, such as in township roadway maintenance. He said that, in keeping with the township’s master plan, this was the tail end of development as Montgomery reaches build-out. He also felt the current retail development will ‘fit the fabric of the community and everyone will be pleased with the results.”
The reorganization remarks, video/photos of the meeting, and the 2017 meeting dates of the Montgomery Township Committee may be found on the Township website under Elected Officials (https://twp.montgomery.nj.us/elected-officials/).