Mayor Mark Taylor’s influence in the community began long before the start of his 11-year service in a public office. It began about 15 years ago on a 65-home cul-de-sac in Florham Park. A new neighbor arrived in town, and on the same day opened a medical practice in Taylor’s beloved neighborhood, without any permits or acknowledgement from the town. “The traffic and our children were at stake,” Taylor stated retrospectively, the creases underneath his eyes becoming more defined as he recalled the details. He and a neighbor rallied the entire street, and together, they spent $30,000 on legal fees to fight against the commercial intrusion to their community.
“Becoming mayor was pretty much academic for me,” said Taylor, who was born and raised in the town along with his four older siblings. “I like to be involved in town. I know a vast majority of the residents in town.”
Taylor’s parents were residents of Florham Park since 1953, when it was just a small settlement with only a few businesses. With obvious pride in his parent’s legacy, the mayor exhumed a yellowed book from his office and opened it to a page bookmarked with a paper clip. A black and white photograph of his since-deceased mother, Mildred “Micky” Taylor, writer and editor of the Florham Park Eagle since 1959, appeared on the left side of the page. According to the affectionate account within the book’s pages, Micky founded and authored the “Town Talk” column of the Eagle.
Though he is not paid for his service as mayor, Taylor considers his office a “labor of love,” and maintains a job with a marketing and sales company as his main source of income. “I do this purely for the residents,” Taylor said without an ounce of ego. He described spending most nights and weekends away from his family in order to attend openings and meetings in town.
Among his favorite spots in Florham Park are those he calls “open space,” the undeveloped plots of land being preserved for future generations. “The good Lord’s not making any more land,” Taylor said, recounting the early years of his career on the Open Space Committee seeking out and buying the land which he described as a valuable asset. “Every square inch can’t be built on.” The mayor can often be found walking around the 11-acre parcel surrounding the town’s fish farm to clear his head.
Taylor’s initiatives as mayor are centered around improving the Borough of Florham Park for its residents, and due to its superb school system, low taxes, newly-renovated downtown and beautiful community, the town was named the number one place to live in the state by New Jersey Monthly this past September. According to Taylor, the large amount of corporate establishments within the town’s seven square miles allows for the second lowest tax rate in the county. “[They] offset the expenses that continue to rise in health care and pensions amongst [the town’s 130] employees,” he said.
Even with these accomplishments, Taylor never stops looking for new ways to better the town. Last spring, a group of 30 young people cleaned litter from the roads, an event which the mayor plans to establish as a yearly tradition. As a member and previous president of the Florham Park Jaycees, he has also taken part in several of its efforts, including revitalizing a local park this spring to make it disability-friendly.
“We’re very proud to say that we are a destination today,” Taylor said, emanating with satisfaction. He recalled thinking to himself after his neighborhood’s legal battle against their resident doctor, “If this is going on and we didn’t know about it, what else is going on?” First by attending council meetings, then serving as a councilman, and finally, running for mayor, Taylor has spent more than a decade learning everything that’s “going on” and working toward making it all better. He concluded with a mantra, “We’re here for all the people, not for a few people.”