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Borough, Township Look Ahead to 2005 Liverman Begins First Commitee Term; Miller Voted as Township Deputy Mayor

Matthew Hersh

Looking ahead to set goals for a year that promises to bring a substantive change in Princeton Township and the Princeton community as a whole, Township Committee held their annual re-organization meeting Sunday.

Mayor Phyllis Marchand recounted the Township's accomplishments in 2004 as she outlined strategies for the coming year, including the continuation of the new voluntary bagged leaf program, meeting new standards put forward by the state for cleaner water, confronting problems stemming from poor race relations and gangs, maintaining the Township's AAA bond rating, and working with the state's Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) in their new housing requirements for developers and builders.

"There's a lot on our plate for 2005," said Ms. Marchand, a Democrat, after taking the oath of office administered by New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz. It is Ms. Marchand's eighth consecutive term as mayor and tenth mayoral term overall. Re-elected to Committee in November for a seventh term, Ms. Marchand was unanimously voted in by the four other members of the governing body.

"I have been privileged to do this for many years," Ms. Marchand said of her continued hold on the executive post. Joking that she was not "burned out," she said being mayor is still something she is passionate about.

"Every day is exciting. The staff, the volunteers, and my colleagues on committee, past and present, have made this job a pleasure and a wonderful learning experience for me." Among those who voted for Ms. Marchand to retain the mayor's seat included the newly-elected Arden "Lance" Liverman, a Democrat, who takes the seat of Casey Hegener, who chose not to run for re-election after serving just one three-year term. She will remain on board in a municipal capacity, however, by taking a three-year seat on the joint Borough/Township -Environmental Commission.

Mr. Liverman, 41, is the former vice-chair of Princeton Human Services Commission and will now be the -liaison to that commission, in addition to serving as the liaison to the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance, the Joint Recreation Board, and the Princeton Regional School's Board of Education.

After serving three consecutive years as deputy mayor, Democratic -Committeeman Bill Enslin chose to relinquish that title, allowing committee to unanimously vote in Committeeman Bernie Miller. Mr. Enslin, who is in the third year of his second term on committee, said Monday it was "time for someone else to have a turn," adding "Bernie Miller will do an outstanding job in that position."

Mr. Miller, a Democrat, was elected to his first term in November 2002, after filling a vacancy created by Steven Frakt when he resigned in June of 2002. Known for his dissenting opinions on committee, particularly concerning deer management, Mr. Miller has also played a significant role in working with Patriot Media to change the Borough and Township's cable infrastructure. Mr. Miller will remain the committee's liaison to the Cable Television Committee. Ms. Marchand lauded Mr. Miller for his "thoughtful approach to Township business," as she credited him for helping to "instill private sector business practices in [the] municipal organization."

Mr. Enslin, who was praised for his work on Township environmental issues, will remain as liaison to the Personnel Committee, the Regional Planning Board, the Flood Control Committee, the Environmental Commission, and the Sewer Operating Committee. Bill Hearon, who is in the second year of his first term, will continue his departmental assignments to the housing board, the Traffic Safety Committee, the Sidewalk and Bikeway Advisory Committee, and the Historic Preservation Commission.

In her annual "State of the Town" address, Ms. Marchand said that committee will meet with all of the Township's departmental heads throughout January to develop a more comprehensive list of objectives. However, she added that some of those objectives had already been identified.

The Township plans to hire a management consulting firm to work with the police department to develop a "strategic plan," Ms. Marchand said. Additionally, she underlined the need to continue addressing the "critical issues" of immigration, race relations, and gangs.

Imminent change at the University Medical Center at Princeton also topped the mayor's list for the coming year. Regardless of whether the hospital stays and expands or relocates outside town boundaries, she noted that any decision will have "a major impact on Princeton."

The Department of Public Works will also look to complete negotiations with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in hopes of building a new facility. The department currently operates at the facility at the confluence of Terhune Road, Witherspoon Street, and Route 206.

In addition to various residents present at the re-organization meeting, the swearing-in events were attended by state Senator Shirley Turner (D-Ewing), Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes (D-Princeton Township), and county freeholders Tony Mack (D-Trenton) and Lucy Walter (D-Ewing).

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