There is a burden that comes along with consolidating a fire district, eliminating lifetime health insurance for valued public employees and being the first town to take over an MUA (Municipal Utilities Authority).
There are certain stresses that come with asking your taxpayers to raise taxes on themselves for the betterment of the community in the form of preserving more open space, and there are sleepless nights when talking about enforcing eminent domain for the public good.
From being the first municipality to purchase and convert a shipping container into a fully functional and sustainable Hydroponics Farm capable of producing hundreds of heads of lettuce and other healthy greens per month, to unveiling a ground-breaking opioid intervention (C.A.R.E.) program, where the first priority is rehabilitation not prison, I am proud to say Robbinsville Township stands on the cutting edge of local governing because we are not afraid to try.
More on all of that April 30 at the 2019 State of Robbinsville Township Address and Pay it Forward event, which will be held at The Stone Terrace by John Henry to benefit Mercer Street Friends Food Bank of Ewing.
The really big news last month was reaching the homestretch regarding the former Miry Run Country Club, which the township now formally owns following a declaration of taking filed in New Jersey Superior Court March 15. Attorneys for the township delivered a check for the appraised value of $1.34 million to obtain title to the 158.5 acre property.
Three commissioners appointed by Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson are now tasked with providing a report to the court by July 15, 2019 and will set the final valuation of the parcel comprised of Block 28, Lots 14, 16, 51, 53 and parts of Lots 7, 11 and 13 as shown on our official tax maps. The Trenton-Robbinsville Airport is not part of the acquisition. The property will be used for passive recreation and added to the township’s considerable open space inventory of over 1,500 acres preserved since 2000.
Mercer County has pledged to help us with the final cost of obtaining Miry Run, and for that we are extremely grateful.
We hope to have more good news to announce regarding the Mercer Mobile Home Park and this year’s municipal tax rate at the SOTT April 30, but as we look ahead to the 2020 budget, I am thrilled to report we have another 1 million square feet of commercial ratables coming online in the Matrix Business Park. With close to 8 million square feet of leased warehouse space valued at approximately $250 million, it becomes a bit easier for the public to understand how we have been able to stabilize taxes for seven straight years.
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Speaking of C.A.R.E., we will be hosting a “Knock Out Opioid Abuse” Town Hall at the Senior Center in coordination with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey on April 9 from 7-9 p.m.
The series will focus on the issue of prescription drug dependency and heroin abuse, including collaboration from local prevention and treatment organizations, as well as local and county law enforcement, government and medical community leaders. Robbinsville and surrounding area residents are invited to join the conversation to discuss new information and the latest issues surrounding this crisis.
Dave Fried is the Mayor of Robbinsville Township.