Zeigler Says Economic Development Will Be Top Priority of Next Term

LEONIA, NJ (February 11, 2019)—Leonia Mayor Judah Zeigler today announced his intention to seek re-election in the Borough’s municipal elections this November.

Citing the progress made during his first term, as well as his commitment to driving substantive economic development over the next four years, Mayor Zeigler said consistency in leadership was crucial to ensure Leonia could meet the unique challenges it faces, while preserving Leonia’s unique residential character.

“It is critically important that we relieve the property tax burden shouldered almost entirely by our homeowners, while also ensuring we can continue to deliver the high levels of service our taxpayers expect and deserve,” Mayor Zeigler said. “We cannot squander the rare opportunity we currently have to accomplish these goals by developing the Willow Tree Road area and the Gateway area along Fort Lee Road and Grand Avenue. This redevelopment would provide significant tax ratables thereby reducing the property tax burden on single family homeowners,” he said.  

Since his election in 2016, Mayor Zeigler has resurrected the Borough’s long-neglected Capital Improvement plan, paving three dozen streets, replacing aging garbage trucks, and engaging citizens in the planning of a new municipal building to address pervasive and long-standing code violations. Under his direction, the Borough’s online presence has been completely overhauled and upgraded. Mayor Zeigler has honored his commitment to improve government transparency by holding Town Hall meetings and by actively recruiting a broader cross-section of Leonia residents to serve on Borough boards, commissions and volunteer organizations. He has worked to enhance the safety of all who live and work in Leonia by leading the effort to create and implement Leonia’s “Safe Streets” initiative, designed to ensure that navigational apps direct commuters to Leonia’s main roads, rather than through its narrow, residential side streets.

“Leonia faces unique and substantial challenges, and now more than ever, we must have stable, consistent leadership that will continue to improve our town for everyone who lives here, while staying true to the preservation of the residential character of our community, which makes Leonia so special,” Mayor Zeigler said.

A lifelong resident of Leonia, Judah Zeigler has served his community as a council member, planning board member and recreation commissioner, and served as Mayor in the 1990s, when his “Customer First” initiative was a finalist for the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Local Government Award.  He was one of the founders of the Teen Center Committee and helped lead the effort to start the Leonia Sports Boosters carnival.  He continues to be an active volunteer coach, referee mentor and board member in support of Leonia’s youth sports programs. Immediately prior to becoming Mayor, Zeigler founded Save Leonia Zoning, successfully negotiating a substantial reduction in size of an apartment building being planned in a residential area, while securing a substantial donation from the developer to fund shade tree purchases and youth sports equipment for the Recreation Center.

A tireless advocate on behalf of people with disabilities, Mayor Zeigler was recognized by the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly as being “a major advocate in the state on behalf of people with Autism.” He has served on the board of trustees for Autism New Jersey and for ten years, as a member of the Governor’s Council on Autism. Zeigler partnered with Senator Loretta Weinberg to draft and secure passage of legislation that has raised over $4 million per year since passage, with the funds going to pay for research into the causes of and treatments for autism.  In recognition of his leadership on this initiative, Zeigler was invited to speak at the bill signing ceremony when the bill was passed in 2003.

Mayor Zeigler and his wife, Michele—also a Leonia native—have been married for 30 years. They have two children, Nicholas, 24 and Jordan, 16.

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