ELIZABETH – The mayors and government officials of Union County held court at the annual Mayors Dinner of the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Newark Airport Marriot Hotel recently. Common themes included the state’s two percent property tax cap, high store occupancy and area development.
Award winners were:
- Joseph Menza of Hillside as Mayor of the Year for his perseverance in promoting city interests despite significant opposition;
- Chris Cotter of Summit as Business Administrator of the Year for making Summit a business-friendly town;
- Police Chief Eric Mason of Cranford as Public Safety Official of the Year;
- Scotch Plains Mayor Nancy Malool as Speaker of the Night for her light-hearted poetry, accompanied by bongos.
The collective overviews of the county’s municipalities included: the challenges and successes of meeting the state’s property tax cap; Fanwood and Westfield retaining 100 and 90 percent store occupancy during the recession, respectively; Linden moving forward with development of 108 acres of former General Motors property; Rahway’s continuing expansion of facilities dedicated to the arts; New Providence allowing alcohol to be served in restaurants; and more than 1,000 new jobs coming to Hillside due to business development.
“Each year the mayors’ presentations reflect the issues towns and cities throughout the state are facing,” said James Coyle, Gateway president. “While the night is light-hearted and fun we hear both the realities of economic pressures and the pride in addressing these challenges. Municipal government always is demanding and often thankless. Once each year we try to say thanks.”
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