In this first State of the City address, Mayor Rick Proctor pledged to continue redevelopment focused on the arts, remove barriers to stimulate revitalization and recruit new business and redevelopment projects while beginning to actively market the city.
Among the more specific initiatives in his 12-minute address Monday night related to spending, sustainability and accessibility. In addition to a goal of reducing operating expenditures by $300,000 this year, Proctor said he would explore the feasibility and cost of using alternative fuels for municipal vehicles (purchasing hybrids when possible), reduce solid waste disposal costs by improving the city’s recycling rate, and examine replacing the solar electric panels on City Hall, which he said was the first solar-powered municipal building in the state.
The new mayor plans town meetings at various locations throughout the city and regular office hours during the week. Starting Feb. 1, City Hall will be open until 7 p.m. every Monday of a City Council meeting (usually the second Monday of the month).
Proctor defeated Republican Patrick Cassio in November for a four-year term after winning the Democratic primary in June. He replaces James Kennedy, who served 20 years as mayor but declined to seek re-election, and remains on the scene as the unpaid executive director of the Rahway Arts District. City Administrator Peter Pelissier, who also serves as redevelopment director, was reappointed as administrator through 2014.