A look back at 2023 achievements and highlights of the new year
MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ –
The Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners held their annual Reorganization Meeting on Thursday, January 4, 2024, at the Middlesex College Performing Arts Center, with notable guests, including Governor Phil Murphy, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Congressman Frank Pallone. The event also marked the swearing-in of newly reelected County Commissioners Leslie Koppel and Charles E. Tomaro. Additionally, Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios and Commissioner Deputy Director Shanti Narra were selected by their colleagues to serve in their roles once again. For event highlights including photos and video, please visit middlesexcountynj.gov/Reorg.
Reflecting on the past year’s achievements, Middlesex County Commissioner Deputy Director Shanti Narra highlighted how the County is taking intentional and strategic steps to drive economic growth to ensure Middlesex County continues to be the best place to live, work, and play – year after year. Focusing on key areas such as education, transportation, and organizational strengths, the Board continues to build upon a strong and thriving community, by design.
Emphasizing Middlesex County’s commitment to education and workforce development as a cornerstone to economic growth, County Commissioner Deputy Director Narra underscored the investments made inclusive of the Community, Innovation, and Opportunity (CIO) Strategic Investment Plan announced in November 2022, which has made significant headway.
“Our accomplishments over the past year are deliberate and intentional through collaboration and strategic planning — and it’s all, by design,” said County Commissioner Deputy Director Shanti Narra. “Together in the new year we look forward to continuing to make meaningful investments and ensure progress, to serve Middlesex County’s diverse community.”
County Commissioner Deputy Director Narra also highlighted progress in the area of transportation, including the renovation and construction of the New Brunswick Train Station and the North Brunswick Train Station. Once completed, both stations will help relieve congestion on our roadways and offer convenient commuting options for residents. The County will also launch a micro transit pilot program offering low-cost rides to locations within New Brunswick.
Underscoring the County’s dedication to healthcare, particularly in addressing the behavioral health crisis, County Commissioner Deputy Director Narra also highlighted the County’s innovative approach to address the community’s growing needs and providing hope for individuals and their families. The County is offering resources such as the Behavioral Health Navigators; the Services Locator available on the County’s website; and upgrades to the Otlowski Center. Additionally, the County embarked on the Opioid Settlement Advisory Council and the Behavioral Health Roundtable in 2023, to strategically mitigate this crisis affecting the residents.
Organizationally, Middlesex County continues to focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (D.E.I.B.) to improve the County’s operations and its services ensuring equity in its policies and programming. The Board’s resolution to set aside 20% of the dollar value of county contracts for minority-, women-, veteran-owned, and small businesses exemplify their commitment to D.E.I.B.
Collaboration and volunteerism were recognized as essential components of the County’s success, with gratitude extended to volunteers, board members, and county employees.
“I am proud to join the Middlesex County Board of Commissioners in celebrating their incredible accomplishments over the past year, as well as welcome back County Commissioners Leslie Koppel and Charles Tomaro,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Together, we’re continuing our work to build a stronger, fairer, and more affordable New Jersey and make Middlesex County a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”
“Congratulations to Commissioners Leslie Koppel and Charles Tomaro on their reelection and swearing-in for another term on the Middlesex County Board of Commissioners. Middlesex County, led by Commissioner Director Ronald Rios and Deputy Director Shanti Narra, continues to be the shining example of our state for government in service of the people,” said Congressman Frank Pallone. “Residents do not have to leave the county to access the finest health care and higher education institutions or access to jobs in research and technology shaping the future of innovation. With primary and secondary education second to none, preservation of open space and recreational facilities across the county, Middlesex County truly is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. I am honored to continue to work with these dedicated public servants to serve the people of this great county.”
“I want to congratulate Commissioners Koppel and Tomaro on their elections and appreciate the productive partnership between my office and Middlesex County leadership,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. “It is my privilege to work alongside public servants who are as intentional in their work as they are committed to bettering the lives of Middlesex County residents. Last year, I was able to secure $2.6 million to ease traffic congestion in South Brunswick and brought in $750,000 to support the public library in East Brunswick. I’m proud of how much we’ve been able to accomplish, and I look forward to continuing the work in Middlesex County to ensure a thriving workforce and robust economic growth.”
“It was an honor to join my local County Commissioners for their reorganization meeting. They have all been incredible partners with State government, always putting the needs of the community first,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “Their commitment to building a sustainable and vibrant future is paying off with transformational economic growth and support for education, transportation and health care — key elements of the quality-of-life that makes Middlesex such an attractive place for businesses and families. I’m looking forward to continued partnership with the commissioners in this new year.”
For more information, please visit middlesexcountynj.gov/Reorg.
MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ
Middlesex County is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies, three universities, 19 park systems, and world-class healthcare and research facilities making it one of the nation’s most dynamic regions and a leader in technology, transportation, the arts, and food innovation. As one of the most diverse populations in the country, Middlesex County is home to over 860,000 residents living throughout 25 municipalities. The County’s award-winning Middlesex County Magnet Schools system and two-year Middlesex College uphold its position as #1 in the state for best schools, offering secondary and postsecondary education and workforce development programs that create a unique ecosystem where opportunities abound. Conveniently located between New York and Philadelphia, Middlesex County is a leading destination for businesses and residents alike to live, work, and play – and has been since the 17th century. For more information, visit middlesexcountynj.gov and find us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.