December is a time of great thanks, appreciation and celebration.
First and foremost, I want to once again express how thankful I am for the opportunity to serve as your Mayor. I am eternally grateful to the residents, businesses and civic organizations which do so much throughout the year to ensure that Robbinsville continues to personify the very meaning of community.
Whether you are preparing to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Diwali, my sincere hope is that you have a peaceful and safe holiday with your family and friends. Our country remains a great melting pot of cultures and belief systems. I’ve said it in this space before, but we need to embrace all of our customs and cultures proudly. None of us are the same, thankfully, and it is important to remember that differences are good. Division is not. A little less talking and a lot more listening would benefit us all.
From an operational perspective, it’s been another very productive year in Robbinsville.
Thanks to the hard work of our department heads and Business Administrator Joy Tozzi, we were able to cut the municipal side of your tax bill for the fourth straight year, an accomplishment unrivaled in Mercer County since the recession of 2007-08.
Stabilizing taxes is never an easy task, but it is worth reminding that we have gone from having one of the fastest growing tax rates in Mercer County to one of the most stable. We recognize that municipal taxes are only one part of your overall burden – about 20 percent. The County makes up 21 percent, while the school district comprises roughly 56 percent. But every little bit helps, especially if we can at the same time increase open space—as we did with the addition of the former Miry Run Golf Club this year—and continue limiting the addition of school children to our system by restricting residential development with any new projects.
Township Council (congratulations to Chris Ciaccio, president Ron Witt and Dan Schuberth for winning re-election Nov. 5) and the entire staff in Robbinsville were especially dedicated to its Veterans, its senior community, individuals with disabilities and those depending on affordable housing in 2019.
The second Project Freedom is under construction in Towns Center South and the Township has received very generous feedback since our acquisition of the former Mercer Mobile Home Park on Route 130. In November, we were honored with the New Jersey Governor’s “We Value Our Veterans” Community Award for our commitment and dedication to Veterans. In addition to an ADA-compliant website, an all-inclusive playground is planned for 2020.
With a new administration in Hamilton Township set to be sworn in on Jan. 1, 2020, Robbinsville is looking forward to working with Mayor-elect Jeff Martin and the Hamilton Council on a long-lasting and fair sewer agreement that works for both towns. Hopefully, we also can reboot our quest for an independent zip code with the United States Postal Service, which has been blocked by the outgoing administration.
The Community Addiction Recovery Effort continues to save lives and pay dividends in towns throughout Mercer County, while our State of Robbinsville Township “Pay it Forward” efforts have now surpassed $250,000 raised for individuals and organizations in need.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Mayor.
It is truly an honor. May God bless you all this holiday season.
Dave Fried is the Mayor of Robbinsville.