mayors columnAbove and beyond the incomprehensible strife of national politics is the education of our children and the quality of life of our residents.

On Nov. 8, residents of Robbinsville have another opportunity to make a real difference by going to the polls.

While your individual vote may not hold the weight any of us would like in the national election, it is very important regarding the upcoming local Board of Education election and in relation to the modest, 1.5-cent increase in the Open Space Tax I am requesting on this year’s ballot.

Robbinsville Township has fought diligently with a local developer and land owner to purchase and preserve the 220 acres of “Edinburg Village” behind Robbinsville-Edinburg Road. Your “Yes” vote on the $55 average annual per-household increase, which amounts to just over 15 cents per day, will not only help acquire a property that has been on our Open Space map since 2008, but it also will help us purchase the nearly 200 acres that comprise the former Miry Run Golf Course.

There is a great deal of misinformation and diversionary tactics being used by the group opposing the Nov. 8 Open Space Referendum. Please don’t buy into any of it.

Building 50 homes at that location will add at least 100 children to an overburdened school district over the next 5-7 years, and at least that many vehicles to an already congested and often dangerous road. Moreover, as of September, there were only 20 enrollment slots available at Pond Road Middle School. The bottom line is we cannot afford to build another school, and we certainly do not want any more accidents or traffic on Robbinsville-Edinburg Road. Mercer County has recognized the importance of Edinburg Village and has agreed to grant Robbinsville $2 million to help with that purchase.

“The property, which is wooded, farmed and contains a tributary of the Assunpink Creek, provides the opportunity for trail connections from adjacent neighborhoods to the high school and middle school and would be valuable to connect a future County Assunpink Greenway to the high school and middle school and beyond to Robbinsville Town Center,” Mercer County said in its statement.

I have worked very hard to lower taxes the last two years, so obviously I do not take this or any tax increase lightly. Once the bonds to buy the land are paid off, my plan is to roll back any Open Space increase.

Your vote does count Nov. 8. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and your exact polling location is available at robbinsville-twp.org.

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Congratulations to our former Police Chief, Marty Masseroni, who will be honored by The 200 Club of Mercer County for his decades of service to our community Nov. 1 at The Boathouse at Mercer County Lake. Additional congratulations to our new full-time Fire Chief Dan Schaffener, along with my three newly sworn RPD officers: Lt. William Swanhart, Sgt. Adrian Markowski and Sgt. Pete Galazka. Thank you to Hamilton’s Tom Goodwin and his “Friends Making a Difference” committee, which teamed with our amazing residents and business owners to raise over $13,000 for Robbinsville’s Rebecca DeVito Oct. 12 as she continues to fight a very rare form of cancer. Hang in there, Rebecca!

Dave Fried is the Mayor of Robbinsville.