James Polos, with deep roots in the Highland Park community – former Highland Park mayor (1992-1999), local businessman, Highland Park High School graduate, and member of several Highland Park boards and commissions – has resigned his post as a Middlesex County freeholder to become executive director of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA). The appointment to the position, which commands a salary of $180,000, will be finalized on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, at the MCIA monthly board meeting.
Current HP Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler noted “Jim stayed committed to Highland Park even after serving as mayor. He was quite an asset to our town as director of OEM (office of emergency management). I’m delighted that we will be able to continue to work together on projects that will benefit Highland Park as he fills his new role at the Middlesex County Improvement Authority.”
The Middlesex County Democratic County Committee is soliciting resumes for the job of freeholder as a Polos replacement on the freeholder board. The Middlesex County Democratic Organization will be reviewing resumes over the next few days and will propose three potential replacements to continue Mr. Polos’ three-year term to the seven-member body representing 25 towns. Mr. Polos was just re-elected in November 2015 and sworn in on Jan. 1, 2016. It will be up to the county committee to select the replacement on the all-Democratic board. The committee is set to vote on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, at Middlesex County College in Edison.
“It has been an honor and privilege to have served the residents of Middlesex County for the past 18 years as their freeholder,” said Mr. Polos, who has been in the real estate and property management industry for over 25 years and maintains an office on Raritan Avenue in Highland Park.
“The opportunity to serve as the executive director of the Improvement Authority is an exciting new challenge for me, and it will still allow me to work closely with the freeholder board and the municipal officials of the county to continue the successful programs of MCIA while searching for new ways to enhance and expand the services it provides for all the residents of the Middlesex County,” said Mr. Polos, who graduated from Rutgers University with a major in economics.
The freeholders created the MCIA in 1990 to serve as a catalyst for a wide variety of programs designed to improve the quality of life throughout the county. The MCIA operates the county recycling program, runs four public golf courses in East Brunswick, Plainsboro and Piscataway and manages Roosevelt Care Center. In 2008, the Capital Equipment and Improvement Program was created to finance both equipment and capital improvements, and this program is now offered annually.
Through its bonding authority, the MCIA finances major infrastructure improvements, like the Raritan Center overpass in Edison, and the construction of large county facilities, such as the Youth Detention Center in North Brunswick. The MCIA obtains this financing at very low interest rates, which means that these important projects can be undertaken without increasing county taxes.
The agency also finances equipment and capital improvements for municipalities, saving local taxpayers millions of dollars in interest rates. This helps Middlesex County cities and towns buy equipment – like police cars, ambulances, computers and dump trucks – and launch their own improvement initiatives at a much lower cost.
The MCIA also performs technical reviews and legal negotiations for the Middlesex County Open Space Trust Fund, which purchases property needed to protect endangered woodlands and wetlands and increase the size of our parks and recreation areas. Since the fund was established in 1995, more than 7,700 acres of land have been preserved.
The MCIA also remediates and redevelops property, particularly older, abandoned industrial sites along the riverfront.