EAST BRUNSWICK – On Feb. 14, members of the East Brunswick Township Council filled the vacated seat of former Councilman Michael Spadafino, Mayor Brad Cohen delivered his State of the Township address, and the council adopted an ordinance intended to fund and improve various community areas in East Brunswick.
Spadafino announced his resignation on Jan. 10 citing the decision as “difficult” and “very personal.” With Spadafino’s departure, his Democratic council seat was vacated effective immediately.
As a result, nominees were required to be chosen by the East Brunswick Democratic Organization to fill the vacancy.
Thus, the Feb. 14 meeting began with Council President James Wendell opening the floor to officially select a nominee.
Council Vice President Kevin McEvoy took the opportunity to nominate Dr. Dana Zimbicki, the current president of the East Brunswick Education Association.
McEvoy prefaced his nomination by highlighting Zimbicki’s interpersonal skills and educational background.
“I believe that Dana’s intelligence, her ability to articulate well, being a people person, and willingness to do her homework in preparation for the governance of our town” would make her a good choice, McEvoy said.
In a unanimous vote, the council proceeded to appoint Zimbicki to the council. She was sworn into office by Cohen.
Following her appointment, Zimbicki expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to serve.
“Thank you so much. This is such an honor and it’s a privilege to work with this amazing team. I promise that I will do the best to serve our wonderful, beautiful township of East Brunswick,” Zimbicki said.
Cohen then took to the podium to deliver his State of the Township address. During his speech, he discussed topics related to the township’s finances, businesses, and upcoming projects.
He specifically thanked East Brunswick residents for contributing to the township’s financial health and the Department of Finance for practicing fiscal responsibility.
“A big thank you to our Chief Finance Officer Angel Albanese and her entire staff for their efforts to maintain such strict financial control. And of course, thank you to the residents for paying your taxes on time. None of the magic can happen without your cooperation and support,” Cohen said.
Cohen stated that the vitality of businesses in East Brunswick is strong, with 100 businesses joining or rejoining the township.
“This happened despite the economic downfall during the pandemic and despite the fact that brick-and-mortar businesses have faced unprecedented challenges in the past few years,” Cohen said.
Cohen also revealed that the township hopes to establish a sister city in Israel to cultivate new opportunities in culture, technology and security.
“The Economic Development Officer Robert Zuckerman will use 2022 not only to extend the business opportunities that we’ve discussed, but to work towards establishing a sister city in Israel.
“This partnership is geared towards growing opportunities in the fields of security, life and biomedical sciences, autonomous vehicles, water technology and culture exchange,” he said.
In addition, Cohen mentioned the possibility of collaborating with the New Jersey Film Commission to create a film studio within the Community Arts Center.
“With the tax credits provided by the Murphy Administration, New Jersey has become a hot destination for the film industry. We would like to capitalize on this market as our location, talent pool, and commitment to the arts can all make this an economic driver for the township,” he said.
Cohen stated that the development of residential, commercial, recreational and industrial sectors of the township will continue to progress in 2022.
“2022 will be another busy year as the department turns its attention to the new municipal hockey rink, the ongoing redevelopment projects, the regular commitment of approximately $2 million to road repairs, along with the added bike lanes, and the regular business of supporting our Planning Board, Zoning Board and Redevelopment Agency,” he said.
Following Cohen’s address, the council voted “yes” on a motion to adopt Ordinance 22-07, which appropriates $775,000 to fund various improvements throughout East Brunswick.
Joseph Criscuolo, the township’s business administrator, stated the funds will be used to improve and sustain various parks, playgrounds, basketball courts and community areas. It will also fund the replacement and maintenance of public works equipment needed to complete town-wide projects.