Edison, NJ - Infrastructure, a new community center, school overcrowding, and economic development are just a few of the assortment issues that Edison residents are hoping will be covered during this evening’s State of The Township Address.
Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey, now in the second year of his second term, is scheduled to deliver the annual address this evening at 7 p.m. at the Pines Manor in Edison. The 28th Annual State of the Township Address will once again be hosted by the Edison Chamber of Commerce.
Councilman Leonard Sendelsky, who is up for reelection this year, is hoping that the Mayor will highlight the administration’s accomplishments. Mr. Sendelsky touched on two main issues, infrastructure and a new community center.
“There’s road improvements we’ve been doing for the last four years, we’re doing like 7 million dollars a year in road improvements, hitting roads on both north and the south end,” he said. “I’m sure he wants to continue to improve our infrastructure in our town that was neglected prior to his term.”
“We’re also focusing in on getting our community center, a very important thing - our Stelton community center, which has been closed,” said Mr. Sendelsky. “I feel our town needs and deserves a state-of-the-art community center. We’ve been working around that. We’ve been having meetings around town at town hall to discuss what people would like to see and we will probably be talking about that tomorrow night too- I’m sure he’ll touch on it. Maybe possibly where it’s going to be located, I think he’s going to be coming out with some plans as to what’s going on.”
But not everyone is is happy about the timing and pace of the proposed community center.
Edison Republican Chair, Sylvia Engel, said she wants to see action on the community center. “I’m sure it’ll be a very positive address, but I would like to see some action on the school overcrowding and also the community center that was promised I think two years ago or three years ago when the mayor ran for office. There hasn’t been any action on it at all, and I hear it all the time – how come Edison can’t have a community center and Woodbridge has such a beautiful one,” said Ms. Engel.
Edison Board of Education Board member Richard Brescher also hopes to hear specifics regarding a new recreation center, which he believes is long past due. “I believe [the Mayor] talked about the rec center last year and the year before, and it just seems like its been stalled. There’s no plan, there’s nothing to go forward to the public with it. I just wish that they would just move on it. They don’t inform the public of the steps that they’re going through. We heard that they’re going to build the rec center on the old Ford site, but at this point that’s just a rumor. So, at this point I would like so see some kind of schematics underway though.”
Others are concerned that the building of the recreation center may take away from other priorities, including money for the school district.
“The first and foremost most important issue that the town’s facing, that is either, the town itself or the Board of Ed., and that is overcrowded schools, and if his address doesn’t include a plan ready to go for overcrowded schools, then to be honest with you, he’s dropping a ball on that,” said former Board of Education candidate Anthony DeAmorin.
“Now I’m all for rec center, I’m not for it at the price that I think it’s going to cost. I also don’t know how he’s going to pay for this, and the money that he’s going to use toward the rec center should be put towards schools first, I believe,” said Mr. DeAmorin.
Mr. Sendelsky said he wasn’t sure whether Mayor Lankey would raise the issue of overcrowding in his address, an issue he believes is more appropriate for the Edison School Board to take up. “I don’t know if he’s going to touch on this at all but we’ve had a committee on overcrowding schools and I don’t know if he’s going to address that at all, how we are going to meet the needs if it needs to be, but that’s really a school board issue more than a council issue,” he said.
Ms. Engel said another concern she had was with rising taxes. “There’s a lot of new industry in town, a lot of new commerce in town, and just thinking our taxes should be going down actually. Couple that with the Raritan center, we have a lot of industry and a lot of commercial property that must be generating a lot of taxes, and we’d like to see our taxes go down a bit. People are leaving New Jersey because of the high taxes. I’m shocked even in my Edison Republicans committee, several committee people have left the state already for other states and that concerns me. “
A possible solution to increasing taxes may be drawing in new ratables according to Councilman Joseph Coyle, who also serves as President for the Edison Chamber of Commerce. “I’m hoping he’ll go over economic development, new ratables coming to the area, and the community center,” said Mr. Coyle. Last year, Mr. Coyle was one of two councilmen who voted against the Mayor’s proposed budget, which was adopted on a 5-2 vote. At the time, Mr. Coyle cited “a total lack of investment in economic development” as the basis for his vote.
But much of that is already being done contends Mr. Sendelsky. “We’re continuing to bring good, clean rateables into the town, which help stabilize our taxes,“ he said.