The Year 2003
Annual Freeholder Director’s Message
Freeholder Director David B. Crabiel Friday, January 3, 2003

“That’s The Way It Is”

My distinguished Freeholder colleagues, members of the clergy, members of the judiciary, officials, elected and appointed, County staff, and friends, one and all:

I extend to all of you a sincere wish for a Happy New Year with the hope and prayer that the year will be blessed with peace around the world.

My heart is full of gratitude to the fine citizens of our County for the tremendous election victory enjoyed by our Surrogate Kevin Hoagland, my running mate Freeholder Camille Fernicola, and myself.

Camille, I was truly pleased to run with you again and to have an opportunity to serve with you for three more years. You and I have been running mates on three occasions. I don’t want to upset you, but who knows? While I am 72 years young, we might very well be running mates again!

And, I thank my fellow Freeholders for entrusting to me the responsibilities as Freeholder Director for the year 2003.

Last year at this time, we were all recoiling in shock from the tragic events of September 11, 2001. I noted at that time that it was apparent that the terrorist planners hoped to bring our country to its knees, and to cast government at all levels into disarray, but they failed. Indeed, they failed miserably. All of our government units – and particularly our government here in Middlesex County, gathered strength from those tragic events and led our County to a truly outstanding year of progress and accomplishment.

The Federal government talks about the high cost of prescriptions for our seniors, but does very little to help.

There are 140,000 seniors over 55 years of age in our County. We believe that approximately 40,000 of them, who pay for prescriptions out of their own funds, will benefit from this innovative program.

Commencing New Year’s Day, they now have the opportunity to save on their prescriptions at a rate of 13% below the wholesale cost.

And this is good news for the Senior Citizens and disabled residents of Middlesex County.

And so, while the year 2002 was marked by preparations to secure the lives and lifestyle of our citizens in the event of future terrorist activity, the year was also marked by very real progress to improve the quality of life for all of our people.

All of it was a preamble to our plans for the year 2003.

We are all aware that great uncertainty abounds in our County, State and Nation. Our country seems to be moving closer and closer to war, and we read, repeatedly, about budget problems that confront our local, State and Federal governments.

For this reason, I believe it is time for us to re-focus our energies to control spending. Like many Middlesex County families, in these economic times, we must find ways to fulfill our obligations while living within our financial means.

I believe that through the efforts of the Freeholders, Department Heads, and County Staff, we have the most efficient county government in the State of New Jersey. However, we must always look for innovative ways to leverage County resources to meet our needs. I believe now is the time to further improve the efficiency of county government, hold the line on county spending and invest the dividends in the infrastructure and quality of services for the people of Middlesex County.

Let us remember that as a society we will be judged not by the manner in which we serve those with the most, but by how we serve those in the most need.

This year will see progress in providing improved health care and housing for our senior citizens and disabled, a Victims Advocacy Center for those in need, and additional open space and recreational opportunities for the youth of our County.

In summary then, I confidently expect very real progress to benefit the citizens of our County with both long-term and short-term improvements. We will strive to live within our means, continue to stabilize our low-level of property taxes and increase the quality and efficiency of County services.

We have often bragged about our prominence as a truly outstanding County in the State. We boast an outstanding County College and Vo-Tech schools, 19 outstanding County parks, an active Open Space Preservation program and the work of a truly outstanding cadre of public employees and volunteers.

Today, we renew our commitment to make things better tomorrow than they are today.

We do so with the fervent wish shared by all my colleagues and by Mary and I, that every citizen of Middlesex County will enjoy the rewards of a very happy new year – a very safe and productive new year with a quality of life unmatched anywhere. We will continue to insure that Middlesex County is “The Greatest County in the Land.”

And finally, in the words of Walter Cronkite “That’s the way it is!”

Thank you and God bless you all.