Mayor Schworn’s 2022 Acceptance Speech
Let me say how much I appreciate the opportunity to serve on this committee and serve as your Mayor. It is a privilege to represent you. I am as deeply humbled and honored to serve Branchburg today as when I was first sworn into office many years ago. Thank you to my fellow Township Committee members for your continued confidence in my ability. I must offer a special acknowledgment and thanks to my daughters: Emily, Catlin, Sarah and Jenna for their continued patience and support. I love you all.
I would like to acknowledge and thank outgoing Mayor Brendon Beatrice for his hard work during the past year. It was not an easy year to govern, and Brendon’s leadership was instrumental in maintaining stability and focus as we faced unprecedented challenges. I look forward to working with Dave as my Deputy Mayor and my other esteemed colleagues. Together, we enter 2022 with a renewed sense of purpose, strength, and conviction. There is a lot of work to be done.
I would also like to acknowledge the men and women appointed to serve on our Boards and Commissions. We thank you for your efforts and dedication to our community. You are the unsung heroes of Branchburg and you are vital to our town’s ongoing success.
I have said this before and it bears repeating: I believe I speak for all our elected officials, administrators and board and commission members. We do not govern Branchburg through the often distorted lens of political ideology. In fact, we consider ourselves to be administrators rather than a body politic. We administer the township as if it was a corporation and we serve as its Board of Directors. We consider Gregory Bonin our CEO and his team our executive management. Our corporate value proposition or mission statement is simple: Protect and maintain the quality of lives for all our residents. As such, we do not consider politics in our decisions. The sole criterion of any decision is the impact that it will have on the long term quality of our family’s lives. Do not forget that we too live and raise our families in Branchburg. We share a vested interest in Branchburg’s success.
To that end, we encourage each and every resident to reach out to us with any questions, concerns or issues regarding the township. We welcome and need your input to govern effectively.
Two quick points:
First: Many towns suffered severe financial losses due to the impact of Covid which will only be offset through additional taxes and levies. Although not fancy, our prudent and conservative fiscal policies, led by our CFO Diane Schubach, have protected our residents from a similar fate. We will emerge from the pandemic fiscally solvent. Our willingness to work with and support our commercial partners continues to make us stronger due to proposed expansion of multiple business operations. We will maintain our triple AAA bond rating and continue to maintain our 2% budget cap and our surplus emergency funds. We have not fully returned to pre-pandemic conditions but there will be no tax increases as a result of Covid driven revenue short falls.
Second: We understand and share the concern of many residents as we are beginning to see the housing construction forced upon us by the courts. We were able to fight these developments for close to 20 years but greed and avarice eventually prevailed. Yet it should be noted that we were still able to successfully settle and limit the total buildout of homes to under 20% of the court required number of over 5,000. It must be understood that we will continue to vigorously oppose any commercial or residential development projects that ultimately will harm our community.
In closing, I would like to once again thank the countless men and women who volunteer their time and effort, our emergency services, our fire companies, our police force, our administrators and all our employees who work tirelessly to keep Branchburg a safe and prosperous community. Your service is not overlooked.
Thank you and I look forward to serving as your Mayor in 2022.