LIVINGSTON, NJ - As Livingston enters its bicentennial; there are many exciting changes on the horizon, including new Mayor Rudy Fernandez. On Wednesday morning, the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual Breakfast with the Mayor at Nero’s Grille.
About 50 people attended the event and Fernandez spoke about education, the population, spending, businesses, the lack of a train station, and the bicentennial.
Fernandez said when people move to Livingston they often want to stay because of the excellent education system and vibrant downtown. Also, the 2010 census showed that the population has increased by seven percent.
“It tells me that people are coming and staying after their children get older,” he said.
The mayor said the council is doing their best to keep taxes low and the town running smoothly, but the belief that there are tons of people working in town hall and spending at a high rate is untrue. Additionally, operating expenses are 10 percent lower than they were in 2007, bond rates have increased and Livingston is trying to reduce its spending.
He said the council is looking for ways to trim the budget, yet deliver services to the town as efficiently as possible. Fernandez said a few of his goals are to improve the downtown businesses, fix the roads and continue spending money on the infrastructure of the town. In efforts to support local businesses, the downtown improvement district is working on creating outdoor signs as well.
“We want to continue the aesthetics of the community and have businesses promote themselves,” he said.
He also addressed the issue of not having a train station in town. He is working on solutions for people who work in the city, but said one option that is quite efficient is taking the jitney from the Livingston Mall to the South Orange train station.
With the bicentennial this year, beginning in February the town has events every month. From Feb. 4-10, stores will have items for $18.13 and others will have sales of 18.13 percent off. In February the town will honor its founders, in March the town is going green, in April it’s about being active, May is youth appreciation, in June there are tours being given in town and in October there is a big gala.
“It’s going to be a great year,” Fernandez said. “I’m really honored to be your mayor, and especially honored to be mayor during the bicentennial.”