Jonathan Busch, Mayor
Described by The Metuchen Mirror as “a man on a mission”, Jonathan M. Busch was selected as the 36th Mayor of the Borough of Metuchen on December 18, 2017, was elected to the unexpired term on November 6, 2018, and was re-elected to a full four-year term on November 5, 2019. He has described that the focus of his service will be to enhance Metuchen’s downtown, maintain the character of its neighborhoods, increase pedestrian safety, and expand park and recreation spaces throughout the Borough.
In a short period of time, Mayor Busch has helped make significant strides to enhance and repair Metuchen’s infrastructure. For example, the Borough has: 1) upgraded some of its parks; 2) implemented a new signage and wayfinding system; 3) installed new parking meters downtown; and 4) entered into a shared services agreement with Edison Township to construct a new Jersey Avenue sewer pump station; and 5) announced a series of initiatives designed to address Metuchen’s aging roads. Additionally, Busch has repeatedly expressed the Borough’s commitment to the construction of a new firehouse to replace the current facility which has reached the end of its useful life. Under Busch, the Borough has prioritized pedestrian, accessibility and bike-friendly infrastructure initiatives by, among other things: 1) installing new sidewalks on Main Street; 2) dedicating parking spots for individuals with disabilities; 3) establishing a dockless bike share program, which now includes “e-bikes”, at no cost to the Borough; and 4) assigning particular Metuchen Police Department officers to specifically focus on traffic enforcement and pedestrian safety.
Busch has emphasized the importance of continuing to maintain a vibrant arts community in the Borough and in August 2018, announced plans to ensure that the Forum Theatre on Main Street remains a theatre. The plan, which calls for the development of a Metuchen Arts District, also includes two adjacent properties at the corner of Main Street and Amboy Avenue. On October 6, 2018, Busch and Members of the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced that Middlesex County granted the Borough $3.5 million grant from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund toward the creation of the Metuchen Arts District. The Borough acquired the Forum Theatre on July 2, 2019.
Busch holds open office hours at Borough Hall every week as part of his initiative to open Borough government and enhance transparency. He has emphasized greater communication between the Borough and its residents by, among other things, establishing Metuchen Media “to reflect the way residents now receive information.” Metuchen Media now streams all Borough Council meetings and a variety of other informational videos on multiple platforms, including Facebook Live, YouTube, local television channel 15, and on the Borough’s website.
Busch has been locally responsive to a series of national issues. In January 2018, when a resident was detained by immigration officials after driving his children to school, Busch worked with community leaders and public officials to help lead the Metuchen community in support of the detained resident and his family. After a series of national tragedies involving gun violence in schools and houses of worship throughout the country, Busch again joined with community leaders and public officials to call for an end to gun violence with rallies in the Borough which engaged thousands of residents in collective efforts. Finally, in response to the federal government shutdown in January 2019, Busch helped initiate “It Takes a Borough”, a program designed to support federal employees from Metuchen who were not being paid by their employers. The program offered federal workers with everything from food for those in need and discounts on local products, to free lunches for children of federal workers through the School District’s food service provider. Busch explained that the program was designed “to serve as many of our community members as possible and maybe in the process establish a model for other communities across the state and nation.”
Busch is a nationally recognized education law attorney who has spent his career serving public entities which has resulted in him being closely familiar with issues facing local governments in New Jersey. He founded The Busch Law Group LLC on Main Street in Metuchen in 2014, which has 14 employees and represents school boards in 18 of New Jersey’s 21 counties. He serves as an active volunteer for and is a member of numerous community organizations throughout the Borough, including Metuchen Baseball and Softball, the Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce, the Metuchen Downtown Alliance, the Borough Improvement League, Brainy Borough Brewing, the Metuchen-Edison Historical Society, and the Woodwild Park Association. Mayor Busch received his law degree from Rutgers University, his master’s degree from Columbia University, and his bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland. He and his wife, Kathy, have three boys.