Mayor Jim Cahill recognized the members of the City Council, city department heads and many others he considers partners in shaping a city where housing is growing, infrastructure is ever-improving and public safety remains the priority.
But the biggest and most heartfelt thank-yous he extended during the inauguration ceremonies on Monday, Jan. 2 at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center were reserved for his loved ones.
Cahill was surrounded by his family – his wife, Laura, children Rebecca and Casey, daughter-in-law Lindsay, son-in-law Mike and grandsons Colton and Harrison – as he was sworn in for his ninth term by retired Judge C. Judson Hamlin.
“Few, if any, could ever fully appreciate the sacrifices you make that allow me to give my absolute best effort to serve as mayor,” Cahill said to his family. “I simply could not, and would not, do this without you. I could not be more blessed and prouder of our family. Thank you and I love you.”
Cahill’s decades-long leadership of New Brunswick aside, Monday was a historic day for the city in many ways.
Two new City Council members, Petra Gaskins and Manuel Castaneda, were also sworn in as the City Council’s ranks grow from five to seven members. Gaskins is the first Black woman and Castaneda is the first Latino man to serve on the city’s governing board. They will formally take their place on the Council at Wednesday night’s meeting.
Kevin Egan and Rebecca Escobar, four-time running mates with Cahill, were also sworn in. Cahill said it was an “honor and a privilege” to serve with them and the other Council members: Glenn Fleming, John Anderson and Suzanne Sicora Ludwig.
During his State of the City address, Cahill highlighted the many improvements and enhancements across the city during his time as mayor, including a surge in housing for residents of all income levels – including those without any income at all.
There are 3,500 new housing units in the pipeline, including the 720-unit mixed-use redevelopment at the former Sears site on Route 1. There’s also the 300-unit Boraie Tower, the 660 units coming to 100 Jersey Ave. and up to 400 units planned for The Hub across from the train station – each with set-asides for low- and moderate-income families and individuals.
In addition to those more high-profile projects, the city has launched an aggressive program to maintain and improve the existing housing and keep neighborhoods vibrant. In 2022, the city took identified 28 properties as vacant or abandoned. They were demolished, repaired or in the process of being rehabilitated.
Cahill on Monday also highlighted the strides made in keeping the city safer since he took office in 1991.
That year, the total number of crimes reported according to the State Police Uniform Crime Reports was 4,447. Following the 2020 census, even with a 33% increase in New Brunswick’s population, the number of crimes reported had dropped to 1,249 – a 73% reduction.
“We’ve also joined forces with several county, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including Rutgers, using a task-force strategy to bring more crime-fighting resources into New Brunswick,” Cahill said. “It is because of these efforts, and so much more, that our Police and Fire Departments have earned reputations as being the finest and bravest under the command of Directors (Anthony) Caputo and (Robert) Rawls.”