The Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders has a new chairman, with Freeholder Andrew Koontz having been elected to hold the position for 2020 during the board’s Jan. 3 reorganization meeting in the McDade Administration Building, Trenton.
In 2019, Koontz, who is a resident of Princeton, served as vice chairman. He is joined on the board by Vice Chairman Samuel Frisby, Freeholder John Cimino, Freeholder Ann Cannon, Freeholder Pasquale Colavita, Freeholder Nina Melker and Freeholder Lucylle Walter.
Koontz has served on the board for nine years. He previously served as chairman in 2014. He was sworn in as chairman for 2020 by Hopewell Township Mayor Kristin McLaughlin.
“It is really an honor to be able to serve. It was a highlight of my elected career to be selected as chairman six years ago. I am looking forward to this term as well,” he said. “I appreciate my colleagues’ faith in me that I can serve in this capacity.”
Koontz said the freeholders have tangible goals for 2020.
“Finally moving forward and breaking ground on a new terminal at the Mercer County Airport. We have been discussing this for six years,” he said. “I think it is time to get shovels in the ground. This is one of our immediate goals and is one of my top priorities for the year.”
Another area of focus will be the county’s recycling effort.
“Recycling is in a great deal of trouble internationally, in terms of finding a market for recyclables and educating the public sufficiently. Another goal I have is to push for improved public education about what is recyclable in Mercer County,” Koontz said.
“We had a busy year last year. We moved forward on establishing a new relationship with Hudson County in terms of incarcerating inmates; and for 2020 we look forward to a new terminal project at the airport,” he said.
The lighted crosswalk on Washington Road in Princeton and the Alexander Street and Road Bridge Replacement project are some of the items Koontz said he advocated for on behalf of Princeton residents.
“The lighted crosswalk allows users of the Delaware and Raritan Canal path to cross more safely. And in spite of the difficulty of having Alexander Road closed, I have been pushing for years to get those bridges replaced,” Koontz said. “Contractors appear to be working hard and I am confident the bridges that will be in place will be a big improvement over what existed there in the past.”
The project will replace three bridges.
Mercer County’s project will be two structures – the bridge over the Stony Brook and the bridge over Alexander Creek, which are north of the Delaware and Raritan Canal.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation will replace the bridge over the Delaware and Raritan Canal between Princeton and West Windsor. The projects are scheduled to be completed in April.