NEWARK, NJ – Mayor Thomas Hannen, Jr. spoke about the important of working with other mayors and municipalities during a brief speech at the 29th Annual Gateway Chamber of Commerce Mayor's Dinner at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel on Thursday evening.

The dinner included networking and speeches from mayors and administrators in Union County, who spoke about their respective municipalities and their accomplishments in the last year.

“I’m not going to talk too much about Cranford,” Hannen said. “It’s not that there isn’t anything to be proud of in Cranford – we’ve increased our municipal appropriations budget by $972 dollars this year. That’s on a budget of about $38 million, so we’ve been keeping it low. We have a thriving downtown and a mayor’s wellness campaign featuring yours truly leading our senior citizens in a game of Simon Says.”

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Hannen segued into how he works with fellow mayors, citing Wednesday night’s Union County Mayors Against Illegal Guns Event.

“Last night, I shared the stage with my fellow mayors in Rahway, talking about our commitment to reduce gun violence and taking pledges that showed our commitment to do whatever we can to stop the slaughter of our children and citizens,” he said. “In addition, the mayors in this room, led by Mayor Mahr [Fanwood] and hosted by Mayor Bonaccorso in Clark, have gotten together on a regular quarterly basis to talk about the problems that we face as individual communities and sharing different ideas that we have to help each other out.”

He also touched upon cooperative paving programs and redevelopment.

“There are other ways that we as mayors have kept an eye on how to keep taxes low,” Hannen said. “Combining with Garwood and Westfield this past year, we’ve entered into different ways that we can do cooperative paving programs with municipalities to try to keep things low in taxes for our residents. When I was facing approximately 8 percent increase in population in Cranford on one single development, Mayor Bonaccorso was right there to say, ‘Tommy, what can I do to help you out? What can the people of Clark do to help you out? And that’s what’s been shared by each of the mayor’s we’ve been cooperating with. So, although for some of us it may seem that, as mayors, we’re on that ’Survivor’ Island, none of us are looking to get thrown off.”

Following dinner and speeches, several mayors were awarded in different categories. Linden Mayor Derek Armstead received “Mayor of the Year.” Mountainside’s chief financial officer, Jill Goode, received “Business Administrator of the Year” and Hillside Mayor Dahlia Vertreese received “Best Speaker of the Night.”