Mayor Adrian O. Mapp was Union County
Mayor of the Year for 2017.
Plainfield's City Council reorganized on Monday (New Year's Day) in the auditorium at Plainfield High School. The mayor and new council members were sworn in, and after Adrian O. Mapp was sworn into his second term as Mayor he addressed the gathered residents.
Here is a transcript of his prepared address --
Here is a transcript of his prepared address --
Members of the City Council, Cabinet Members, Honored Guests, fellow Plainfielders, and friends of Plainfield, Good afternoon.
Once again, you the residents of Plainfield embraced your constitutional duty, cast your votes and re-elected me as your Mayor for another term. I want to thank you for the opportunity to continue working alongside you as we enjoy the resurgence of our beautiful City and prepare for even more opportunities over the next four years.
Each election is an opportunity to reflect on the things that make us American; the freedom to vote, the democracy to choose and the tenet that binds us together. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Over the last four years we have worked collectively and intently as a City to make our financial future more secure. We have improved our credit rating significantly; we reduced audit findings by over 75% and in 2016 received a Moody's investment grade rating of 1, which reflects strong fundamental credit quality with excellent liquidity. We achieved an unprecedented tax collection rate of 97.08% and generated a surplus of $5.6 Million. Between January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2016, property values in our city have increased by an outstanding 8.01%. We are still tabulating figures for 2017, but we expect them to continue on this upward trajectory.
These actions have resulted in reduced borrowing and financing costs which have allowed us to stabilize taxes. As a direct result, we have been able to provide more services to our residents. We've paved over 63 roads and put more police officers on the street, hiring our neighbors, Plainfield residents and we have continued to reduce crime, there has been a 25 percent drop to be precise. We are a safer city, a city ready to expand its prosperity for all our residents. We have increased redevelopment activities turning blighted and environmentally impaired properties into new tax ratables, and in the process, we have raised overall property values in the City. Plainfield is now well positioned for explosive growth.
As we enter 2018, I intend to continue to support and advocate for improvement in education for all our children and those who are continuing to pursue higher education or trade. A quality education is the backbone of a prosperous future for our children and the foundation for overall economic well-being for the city of Plainfield. We’ll re-visit the Plainfield Promise which could be the pivotal tool in giving every Plainfield student an opportunity at a high-quality education that is so vitally important for today's job market. I am pleased that we have added new early childhood space for Neighborhood House and the new Second Street Youth Center which will have a new facility for the 2018/2019 school year.
I want to see more of our children involved in stem based educational programs. This year I’d like to see us host a hackathon and work more closely with the union county college, NJIT and Rutgers to have programs locally in Plainfield that can teach our youth programming and app building skills that can be used as a vehicle to create self-employment opportunities. Ultimately, this will improve the employment opportunities for our youth and all residents. We have to become a city dedicated to embracing technology and creating ongoing opportunities for our residents. I want us to become a city that is filled with entrepreneurs. We can do this.
Friends, I want us to be a Plainfield that celebrates our true greatness. Our greatness lies in our pride in our city, our love for our neighbor, and the care we show for each other. In this New Year let’s each resolve to love our neighbor more. Let’s help the senior who lives next door to us by caring for their lawn or helping to cut shrubs or assist with small painting projects. Let’s reach out to the little girl or boy who needs help with homework.
Let’s be even kinder to each other and embrace our community as family. Let’s attend a basketball game at the high school and cheer for our local home teams, let’s support our football and tennis teams. Let’s celebrate the Plainfield track and swim teams, the baseball league, and the soccer players and let’s give love to our cheerleaders who recently won a national cheer competition. Let’s pray to our creator in our mosques, our churches, our temples and our synagogues. Let’s remember to be kind to each other and endeavor to be a City that uses its kindness as an asset.
As we progress through 2018, let's be very vigilant about protecting our civil rights. As an immigrant to the United States, I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices made by so many to make it possible for me to stand here as your Mayor today. Plainfield was and continues to hold a significant place in the history of civil rights. Let us remain vigilant against the onslaught that is being made against the right to vote, the right to keep families together and the attacks that are being made against people every day in this country because of the color of their skin, their gender orientation or their desire to be fully contributing members of our society. It can’t be stated enough that we must be kinder to each other. We cannot forget that we are standing here as a better society because of people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Marcus Garvey, Harriett Tubman, Shirley Chisholm, Bob Kennedy, Delores Huerta and many ordinary Americans who were not afraid to stand up for justice. Every single one played their part in helping to make us a better society. Let us be vigilant in ensuring that we do not regress as a Country and as a City.
In closing, I'd like to say that the vision of One Plainfield, One Future is still the driving force behind every decision we make. My administration remains focused on building, growing, educating and uniting. The energy of renaissance is in the whisper on every breeze; the excitement is palpable. The Queen City is poised to step up and reclaim her crown. We are ready to work locally, and to partner with believers of change on a county, state, and national level. We embrace the diversity that makes us uniquely Plainfield, understanding that each culture represented is another opportunity to learn and grow.
It's time to trumpet the pride we have in our City and let the world see that we are Plainfield Strong, Plainfield United and together we are building One Plainfield, One future!
Thank you, may God bless you and God bless the United States of America.
-- Dan Damon [follow]
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