State of the City set for Thursday at arts center

Mayor Samson Steinman is scheduled to deliver his fourth State of the City address on Thursday night at the Union County Performing Arts Center.

In last year’s State of the City address, the mayor pushed a campaign to entice Trader Joe’s to consider Rahway, in addition to announcing a restructuring of City Hall departments and development of a mobile app, which also was mentioned in 2014.

In the 2014 State of the City, Steinman announced, among other things, improvements to various parks in the city, including Rahway River Park, and the return of downtown fireworks for the 4th of July. In 2015, he announced further upgrades to several parks as well as the city’s water infrastructure and a new downtown event centered around March Madness.

The six ward council members who were re-elected in November are expected to be sworn in at Thursday’s event: Rodney Farrar, 1st Ward; Robert Cox, 2nd Ward; Bob Bresenhan, 3rd Ward; David Brown, 4th Ward; Jennifer Wenson-Maier, 5th Ward, and Raymond Giaccobe, Jr., 6th Ward. All six Democrats were uncontested in the General Election for new four-year terms. The mayor’s seat will be up for re-election next year.

UCPAC from arts parkHistorically, the State of the City has been delivered during the City Council’s annual reorganization meeting, the first meeting of the new year in January, and typically held in Council Chambers where the governing body regularly meets. In the past two years, the State of the City has been held at the arts center and included performances by Rahway students and other activities. In 2014, it was held at Hamilton Stage.

In 2015, UCPAC billed the city $10,000 for technical and programming assistance related to the State of the City. The invoice was part of an $80,000 contract the city has awarded to the arts center the past three years, although a bill was not included among bills for 2016 that were part of an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request seeking invoices related to the previous year’s contracts.