Mt. Laurel Township Council holds reorganization meeting for 2018

Council selected Rich Van Noord to serve as mayor and Dennis Riley to serve as deputy mayor.

Acting Mt. Laurel Township manager Meredith Tomczyk, far left, swears in Mt. Laurel councilmember Rich Van Noord as mayor at this week’s Mt. Laurel Township Council reorganization meeting. With Van Noord are Van Noord’s wife Elaine, older daughter Elise, younger daughter Elizabeth and Van Noord’s political mentor Doug Forrester.

It’s a new year and a new mayor for Mt. Laurel Township.

Council held its annual reorganization meeting this week, which saw council use its first meeting of the year to select Rich Van Noord to serve as mayor for 2018.

Councilman Dennis Riley, who served as mayor for 2017, nominated Van Noord for the position.

In turn, council then selected Riley to serve as deputy mayor for this year.

Mt. Laurel had no council seats up for election in November, so council will continue this year with its full, five-Republican majority of Van Noord, Riley, Irwin Edelson, Linda Bobo and Kurt Folcher.

After his swearing in as mayor, Van Noord thanked his family and friends for their support, including Doug Forrester, the 2002 Republican nominee for U.S. Senate and the 2005 Republican nominee for governor, who was also present at the meeting and who Van Noord described as a political mentor.

Van Noord also praised his fellow council members and the township’s professionals for their service to the township, while noting that council has no agenda other than making decisions that are in the best interest of the people of Mt. Laurel.

“Regardless of all the noise involving issues of the state or issues of the nation, this council focuses only on what we can control, and that is how can we make Mt. Laurel a better place to work, live and raise a family,” Van Noord said.

With that in mind, for 2018 Van Noord said council looks to present a fiscally sound budget that doesn’t burden taxpayers, implement the township’s updated master plan, improve communication with residents and put together an action plan for the township’s open space fund to maintain acquisitions.

“It’s due to the good work of the people of Mt. Laurel that we can bring about positive change,” Van Noord said.

In addition to looking forward to 2018, the meeting also saw Riley reflect on what he called the township’s “collaborative accomplishments” of 2017 while he served as mayor.

Just some of the accomplishments Riley noted were the township’s upgraded website, road improvements, community events, commercial development and New Jersey Discovery Museum’s management of the township-owned Paws Farm Nature Center.

“I have spent this entire year speaking and engaging with literally thousands of you (Mt. Laurel residents) and I am truly grateful and inspired to have served as your mayor,” he said.

Council also used this week’s meeting to appoint various township professionals for the year and approve council’s calendar of regular meetings for 2018.

Meetings are scheduled for Jan. 22, Feb. 12, Feb. 26, March 12, March 26, April 9, April 23, May 7, May 21, June 11, June 25, July 16, Aug. 20, Sept. 10, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 22, Nov. 13, Nov. 26, Dec. 3 and Dec. 17.

The majority of meetings will take place in the courtroom at the Mt. Laurel Municipal Building, except meetings of Feb. 26, May 7 and Oct. 22.

Once again this year council will take its meetings “on the road” on those dates, with council holding its meetings at locations away from the municipal building to bring meetings closer to residents who live in different areas of town.

The meeting on Feb. 26 will take place at Countryside Elementary School; the meeting of May 7 will take place at Fleetwood Elementary School; and the meeting on Oct. 22 will take place at the Mt. Laurel Fire Department Headquarters on Elbo Lane.

All meetings, regardless of location, will start at 7 p.m. All meeting dates are Monday evenings, except the Nov. 13 meeting, which was pushed back one day to Tuesday due to the observation of Veterans Day on Nov. 12.

Residents can view cancellations or additions to the schedule in the future at the municipal building or on the township’s website at

Mt. Laurel Township Council holds reorganization meeting for 2018 was originally published in The Mt. Laurel Sun on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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