Hearon Sworn In As Committeeman
With residents and prominent Mercer County elected officials looking on, Princeton Township welcomed Committeeman Bill Hearon to its governing body.
Additionally, Phyllis Marchand was unanimously voted by her peers to a ninth term as mayor of the Township.
The capacity crowd on hand was augmented by newly-elected Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, Senator Shirley Turner, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, County Freeholder Tony Mack, former Township Mayors Michelle Tuck-Ponder and Kate Litvack, and former Township Committee members Roz Denard and Steve Frakt.
The reorganization event served as the foundation for the beginning of Mr. Hearon's three-year term and as a precedent for 2004.
In her annual state-of-the-town address, Mayor Marchand spoke to the gallery emphasizing the successes of the 2003 and how they will ultimately impact the current year. She focused on the Township's commitment to preserving open space, public safety, planning, environmental protection, deer management, installation of a new cable infrastructure, and municipal services.
The Mayor began her remarks by extending thanks to Leonard Godfrey, who, while no longer serving on the Committee, has agreed to a one-year term on the Sewer Operating Committee'an area of focus throughout his tenure.
"I applaud your continued service to the Township, and we are now sure that your nine years on the Committee will not go down the sewer," she quipped.
She made specific mention of the 62 percent decrease in deer-related automobile accidents since the deer management program began in 2000. She said that over 35,500 pounds of venison have gone to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey as a provision of the program.
"We will continue the Township's deer management program until the deer population is in balance with our environment," she said. "I thank the members of this community who have supported and encouraged this critical and environmental public health and safety issue."
It was a banner year for parks, open space and recreation, the mayor said. She cited Greenway Meadows, a 53-acre tract off Mountain Avenue that will feature two soccer fields, one baseball field, and extensive passive recreational areas. The park is slated for opening later in the year.
After lauding the successful preservation efforts of Coventry Farms on the western side of the Great Road the Mayor mentioned the recently-released Princeton Community Task Force report on shared facilities between the Township and Borough and noted Committeewoman Casey Hegener's involvement with that project. While a formal municipal task force has not yet been established, Ms. Marchand said the efficacy of the report has already been felt. The report was released calling for more joint Borough-Township oversight of various facilities in the area, including academic, recreational, and social service facilities.
She complimented Committeeman Bernie Miller's work on the Cable Television Committee with the transition from RCI to Princeton's current cable provider, Patriot Media.
Mr. Hearon fills the seat of former-Committeeman Leonard Godfrey, who chose not to seek re-election in November. Mr. Godfrey first served on the Committee from 1989 to 1991 and was elected again in 1997.
In his first year on the Committee, Mr. Hearon will serve on the Housing Board, Traffic Safety Committee, Human Services Commission, and the Sidewalk and Bikeway Advisory Board. Mr. Hearon's Republican challenger in the 2003 election, Colin Vonvorys, was also selected to serve on the Housing Board.
Deputy Mayor Bill Enslin also received the unanimous vote of Township Committee members to a third term.