Boards reorganize for 2020

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In North Brunswick, Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack was sworn into an historic fifth term on Jan. 1, while Councilman Ralph Andrews and Councilwoman Amanda Guadagnino were sworn into their sixth and second terms, respectively.

“The reason all of us do this up here is we’re here to serve our residents. We want you to get the message that if you have anything in town you need taken care of … that’s what we’re here for, to make sure our town is a better place,” said Andrews, who was later sworn in as council president for 2020.

Guadagnino said the township is looking forward to finally securing its train station, and urged residents to fill out the U.S. census this year to ensure North Brunswick receives its fair share of funding and Congressional representation.

“We’re here to do what’s best for the town and make a difference, and we’re going to keep on trying,” she said.

Andrews cited the installation of new water meters at the township water plant, at commercial businesses and at residential homes; creating a tower system to communicate with meters; notifications of leaks; and monthly billing. He also mentioned the Livingston Avenue improvement process is moving forward, and advocated for the township fleet to change to electric vehicles.

Councilman Bob Davis noted that the township’s veteran street naming project will resume in March, asking residents to nominate the 81st veteran to have a secondary street named after him or her.

“[And] we ask residents to shop locally when they can, there are a lot of good options now,” Andrews said of the resurgence of local businesses in town.

There were no municipal offices up for re-election in South Brunswick in 2019.

During the South Brunswick Township Council reorganization meeting on Jan. 6, Joe Camarota was once again appointed deputy mayor under the leadership of Mayor Charles Carley.

Ron Schmalz, public affairs coordinator for the township, said the council members thanked the volunteers who staff the town’s boards and commissions for the important functions they perform in serving the community of South Brunswick.

“For 2020, I expect to work with my colleagues on the Township Council to advance a couple of initiatives,” Carley said. “The first is to redevelop underutilized properties – and we have in mind the South Brunswick Square Mall, on which we have been involved with the property owner and prospective tenants to re-invigorate that place as a vibrant commercial property. Second, I’d like to see us improve the flow of traffic through the town, particularly at the intersection of New Road with Ridge Road in Monmouth Junction. Already, we’ve improved traffic control devices along Ridge Road. In 2020, I expect to improve the roadway and sidewalks through that neighborhood. And we’re working with transportation engineers and planners to explore opportunities for significant improvements to this intersection. And, going down the road, there’s recreational infrastructure initiatives that we’re studying, continued improvements to services – all in context with presenting a balanced municipal-purposes budget.”

 

During the South Brunswick Board of Education reorganization meeting on Jan. 6, incumbent Joyce Mehta and newcomers Ray Kuehner and Joseph Scaletti were sworn into their three-year terms.

“I am honored to have been elected by the taxpayers of South Brunswick to represent their voice on the Board of Education,” Kuehner said. Challenges we will face [include] state mandated, but not funded, programs; further reductions to our state funding; increasing costs related to our special needs students; rising cost for employee health care benefits; providing fair and competitive wages to all district staff. I look forward to working with the superintendent, business administrator and my fellow board members to overcome all of the challenges.

“We must do everything possible to assure the students of South Brunswick continue to receive the highest quality education possible. Their education must be in a safe and caring learning environment; this too will be a challenge as this comes at a cost to the district. We must continue to provide our students with teachers and administrators that meet the highest of standards.

“Our students and community deserve nothing but the best,” he said.

Former board President Harry Delgado, who did not seek re-election, was succeeded in the position by Barry Nathanson. Arthur Robinson was selected as board vice president.

During the North Brunswick Board of Education reorganization meeting on Jan. 6, incumbents Barry Duran Harris, Traci Rubin and Colleen M. Keefe were sworn in to their positions.

Gloria Gonzalez was elected board president, while Harris was elected vice president.

“We are looking forward to a very exciting year for our district. In addition to continuing our efforts to improve graduation rates and deliver services that enable all students to succeed, we are excited about the renovation of Linwood Middle School, which will house our fifth and sixth grade students, allow the relocation of our Early Education Childcare Center students back to our district and move the Board of Education offices to the Linwood campus.

“In addition, our new middle school campus will open in the fall, with state of the art technology, new theater and music spaces and a modern and open design focused on preparing our seventh and eighth graders for high school and beyond.

“We are committed to enabling access to continuing education for our teachers and administrators and have taken extra steps to tighten our cybersecurity while increasing access to Chromebooks, at school and at home, to ensure every child has the tools to succeed,” Gonzalez said.

“I am honored to be serving a second term on the North Brunswick Board of Education and as vice president this year. Our focus remains strong in the areas of educational equity and equality, bridging the learning gaps and increasing our high school graduation rate. In addition, we are preparing for the transition to K-4 elementary, 5-6 Linwood, and the opening of the new North Brunswick Township Middle School,” Harris said.