In Montgomery, the mayor and deputy mayor are chosen each year from among the elected Committee by the votes of all five members. A newly elected member, Mark Conforti, was sworn in for 2016. Christine Madrid was also sworn in for a new 3-year term as a committee member. Ms. Madrid served as Montgomery's mayor in 2015. Rich Smith continues his term on the Committee in 2016.
Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire, a former mayor of Montgomery Township, administered the mayoral oath of office to newly elected officials Christine Madrid and Mark Conforti. New Jersey State Senator Kip Bateman administered the mayoral oath of office to Patricia Graham and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli administered the oath of office to Deputy Mayor Ed Trzaska.
The 2016 Montgomery Twp. Committee is (l to r): Mr. Rich Smith, Ms. Christine Madrid, Mayor Patricia Graham, Deputy Mayor Ed Trzaska, and Mr. Mark Conforti.
In her remarks, Mayor Graham first thanked all honored officiants for attending and congratulated Christine Madrid on her successful tenure as mayor in 2015. "I am happy to continue to serve the Township and I promise to always put the best interests of the Township first," she stated.
Mayor Graham is beginning her sixth year as a member of the Montgomery Township Committee and served as deputy mayor in 2012 and 2013.
Mayor Graham cited sound fiscal management as both an accomplishment of recent years and a priority of elected officials in Montgomery for 2016.
"In the past several years we have worked very hard toward closing our structural budget gap while keeping spending below 2005 levels. In 2015 we paid off over $3.9 million in debt. And, we have continued to hold down taxes and to stay below Governor Christie's 2% cap. This has been and will continue to be my number one priority," said the mayor. Mayor Graham also emphasized the importance of the Township's open space program, noting that 35% of the land in Montgomery is now preserved.
In his address, Deputy Mayor Ed Trzaska thanked Christine Madrid for completing an outstanding year of service as mayor and said he is excited to work with Ms. Graham as mayor this year.
"Pat brings a tremendous amount of experience to the table, including legal expertise. I'm sure she will lead our team well," he stated.
Deputy Mayor Trzaska is in his sixth year on the Committee and has also served two years as mayor of Montgomery and was deputy mayor in 2015. "Moving forward, we will continue to adhere to our core governing principles - doing more with less, protecting public health and safety services, and preserving Montgomery's rural character while enhancing the commercial sections in town," Trzaska said.
He noted that the Committee has held budget spending to below 2005 and 2006 levels and reduced debt by almost $30 million. "Our success with paying off debt has started to allow us to invest more aggressively in the community, especially with our roads and parks", added the deputy mayor
Committeeman Rich Smith opened his remarks by thanking his fellow elected officials and stating that Montgomery residents deserve great service from all Township departments, lower taxes, a well maintained roadway system with less traffic, and a vision for the future.
"We have exciting plans in the works that will contribute significantly to the tax base and help improve our roadway system. As the point person for all land, development and construction issues, my focus over my term will be to guide these to reality," he stated.
Committeeman Smith outlined plans to improve the corner of Rt. 518 and Rt. 206, Cherry Valley Road, the Belle Mead node of Rt. 206, the Police Department's facilities, and the municipal building.
Committeewoman Christine Madrid congratulated the new mayor and expressed how much she enjoyed her duties as mayor last year, especially working with the leadership team to achieve key township goals and getting to know her fellow residents. She concluded on an appreciative note to all the professionals, staff, and especially board and committee volunteers who so much good work for Montgomery.
Mark Conforti thanked the voting public for allowing him the opportunity to serve once again, having filled a seat on the township committee in 2012. He is also a previous member of the Montgomery Twp. Board of Education and chaired the township planning board last year. He expressed the desire to make life in Montgomery run as smoothly as possible for residents, providing government services in an efficient and seamless manner. Mr. Conforti,who will serve on the budget subcommittee this year, also stressed the importance of continued sound management of the Township's finances.