Plainsboro forges ahead in ’06 with clear focus on future

Cantu begins 11th term on Township Committee — and his 26th year as mayor

By: Emily Craighead
   PLAINSBORO — Mayor Peter Cantu’s 11th term on the Township Committee — his 26th year as mayor — began Tuesday with wishes for a happy new year, cake and coffee, and a clear vision of how Plainsboro should move forward in 2006.
   Facing the challenge of the University Medical Center at Princeton’s planned move to the FMC site on Plainsboro Road, high property taxes and fundraising for a new library, the township will have to continue to adhere to priorities established during his first mayoral term 28 years ago, Mayor Cantu said.
   As Plainsboro entered a phase during which it was one of the fastest-growing communities in the state, the township focused on developing a strong and balanced Master Plan, providing necessary infrastructure, and committing to providing a high quality of life for current and future residents, according to Mayor Cantu.
   Vowing to maintain municipal tax stability and a strong bond rating, the mayor said he will continue to fight for property-tax reform at the state level. He is serving as co-chairman of Gov.-elect Jon Corzine’s property-tax reform advisory panel.
   "Hopefully, we will be able to do something to get this burden off the backs of the taxpayers," Mayor Cantu said.
   The township also will monitor the results of West Windsor’s property-tax revaluation to ensure a fair balance for each township’s school tax contributions.
   As construction continues on the Village Center, fundraising will begin for the new library that will anchor the eastern end of the new development, Mayor Cantu said. The design for the new library by BKSK Architects is expected to be completed this year.
   The planning and zoning boards will have to evaluate UMCP’s relocation proposal, the mayor said.
   "We’re committed to a very detailed, thorough review to ensure it is going to be done in a manner that benefits the community," Mayor Cantu said of the hospital’s proposed move to Plainsboro.
   Several transportation projects are planned for 2006, including improvements to the intersection of Dey, Edgemere and Plainsboro roads, further construction of the Plainsboro Road bikeway, traffic calming on Plainsboro Road and improvements to Scotts Corner Road.
   Recreation Department goals include introducing a grant-funded cultural arts program as part of the summer camp, developing a community cultural arts forum, and expanding partnership with the school district athletic department to offer summer sports clinics.
   The township will also maintain its commitment to preserving farmland and open space, Mayor Cantu said.
   Public safety programs being initiated in 2006 include the Volunteers in Police Service mentoring program and USA on Watch, a neighborhood watch program. The police department also has plans to expand the Citizen Emergency Response Team program and the Youth Academy.
   Mayor Cantu thanked township employees and citizen volunteers for their work throughout the year.
   "We appreciate and look forward to that continued support in ensuring that Plainsboro continues to be a great place to live and work," the mayor said.