Last month, I mentioned how while working on my home a number of residents would come by and ask questions or have a discussion. One of the more common questions asked was, “what is it like being Mayor?” or “How do you like being Mayor?”
Certainly being Mayor is not always enjoyable, but the enjoyable aspects far outweigh the issues that arise. From meeting fellow residents, new residents to town or officiating weddings the Mayor’s role has a lot of entertaining moments.
When I agreed to perform my first wedding ceremony, I was asked by Jean Golisano our Deputy Clerk whether I would like a script to use. Having never conducted a wedding I gratefully accepted the offer since I had no desire to anger a bride on her wedding day by messing up her ceremony.
In my simplistic mind I thought I’d be handed a one page sheet telling me and everyone else what to say. Instead, I was handed a folder containing five different ceremony options that seemed at the time to be the size of War and Peace and with the suggestion that I read through each one to see which I liked best.
I diligently read each ceremony agonizing over the best choice for the upcoming wedding. A saving grace came a few days before the ceremony when the couple sent me a script they wrote. Despite all the options I had before me, what this couple wrote was better than anything I had in my possession. I conducted the ceremony and with their permission have now added their vows to the file. My gift to the next Mayor will be six wedding options to agonize over before they perform their first ceremony.
Going hand in hand with the wedding ceremonies is the Mayor’s role of interacting with the community whether the Mayor and Police Chief coffee meetings at Teddy’s or the proclamations done for civic causes or new businesses. I have been told by residents that it seems each meeting has a proclamation of some sort on the agenda this year and that is wonderful to hear.
I can think of no better benefit of being Mayor than welcoming a business owner who wants to make a home in Cranbury. These business owners did not have to choose Cranbury, but they did so for our community and should be thanked.
Nor do we have to proclaim a month Mental Illness Awareness month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, nor Turn the Town Teal to create Ovarian Cancer Awareness. However, we do so because our residents are impacted by these issues or know people who are. Our ability to support them in any manner is truly a benefit and the meaning of community.
When doing a ribbon cutting or meeting with residents I find the most engaged people at these events are often the children. They provide great amusement as they are never shy to share what is on their mind or what may have been discussed at home.
This summer, I was approached by a young boy who upon hearing I was the Mayor asked, “Do you control the Army?”
“No, that is the President,” I replied.
He paused for a moment and said with a big almost Cheshire cat smile on his face, “But as Mayor you can create war in Cranbury, right?”
Making the mistake of thinking myself funny, I responded, “The only way I create war in Cranbury is by doubling everyone’s property taxes.”
Receiving a blank stare in response it hit me that I am not as funny as I thought. However, I was in that moment where I felt obligated to explain my joke. I spent the next few minutes explaining what property taxes were and how they provide for fireworks, keep the school operational, swings and slides in the parks and other items that help Cranbury.
After completing my civics lesson this young boy replied with all sincerity, “My dad won’t mind if you double his taxes, he makes at least ten dollars a year.”
A monthly column from the mayor of Cranbury, New Jersey.
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