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On Tuesday, January 2, 2018, both Hopewell Township and Hopewell Borough held their beginning-of-the-year reorganization meetings swearing-in new and returning elected officials and setting the tone for the upcoming year.

In Hopewell Township, Mayor Kevin Kuchinski and newly-elected Committeeman Michael Ruger both were sworn-in. Kuchinski was sworn-in by Assemblywoman Liz Muoio and was accompanied by his wife Leslie and two of his children. Newcomer to the Committee, Michael Ruger was sworn-in by Hopewell Township Municipal Clerk Laurie Gompf and accompanied by his wife, Tracy Vogler.

“I am honored to serve on the Hopewell Township Committee,” Ruger shared with MercerMe. “I look forward to working with, and learning from, the other committee members. I also look forward to hearing the thoughts and ideas of local residents. Together, we can work towards an even better Hopewell Township.”

Michael Ruger swearing-in 2018

Once sworn-in, the Committee took nominations for Hopewell Township mayor. One nomination was given for returning Kuchinski and another, by Committeeman John Hart, was given for Committeewoman Julie Blake, who declined the nomination but accepted nomination to serve again as deputy mayor. Ultimately, Kuchinski was named mayor and Blake deputy mayor.

Kuchinski gave a welcome speech and began by thanking elected officials in attendance: Senator Shirley Turner, Assemblywoman Liz Muoio and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, Freeholders, Anthony Verrelli and Andrew Koontz, Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello, and Christopher Bobbitt, Mayor of Lawrence Township.

Sharing some of the successes of the prior year and highlighting initiates for the upcoming year, Kuchinski said, “2017 was a productive year. We fulfilled our promise on lower taxes, once again holding the line on operating spending and keeping the tax levy to less than 2%…. Cumulatively, we have held the change in municipal taxes to 1.1% per year over the last two years, and I am proud that Hopewell Township once again has the lowest municipal tax rate in Mercer County.” Kuchinski also talked about upon tax issues, partnership with the School District, housing stock and development.

As for upcoming initiatives, Kuchinski announced accelerating efforts to support local businesses with the start of a new Economic Development and Tourism Committee, and reminded the community of the continuing efforts to defend Hopewell Valley from the proposed PennEast pipeline. (For complete speech, please stay tuned to MercerMe!)

In Hopewell Borough, Mayor Paul Anzano greeted the new and existing council and the public in attendance, including Freeholders John Cimino and Sam Frisby. Mayor Anzano thanked each Council member for their individual contributions in the prior year, including newcomer Ryan Kennedy for his meaningful participation on the Borough’s planning board. Mayor Anzano also looked toward 2018 with an eye toward making collaborative and conscious decisions with regard to any potential development in the Borough.

Newly elected Councilman Ryan Kennedy was sworn in by his father, Patrick Kennedy, and was accompanied by his children and family.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve Hopewell Borough, along with everyone everyone who volunteers, works and dedicates their time to making this community the wonderful, inclusive, caring and progressive place that it is,” Kennedy shared with MercerMe.

Ryan Kennedy swearing-in 2018

Also swearing-in in Hopewell Borough were returning Councilman and Councilwoman Sky Morehouse and Shelby Tewell.

Sky Morehouse swearing-in 2018
Shelby Tewell swearing-in 2018

Pennington Borough’s reorganization meeting will be on January 9, 2018 (click the link for agenda).

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.

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