.

SPMC Plans to Prepare 2013 Budget Without SID Fee

The Scotch Plains Management Corporation met on Feb. 12 and planned to create a budget for 2013 that does not include the Special Improvement District fee.

 

The Scotch Plains Management Corporation decided at their Feb. 12 meeting to formulate and present to the town council a budget that would not include the Special Improvement District fees for 2013.

The SPMC should have proposed a budget in December and failed to do so, according to Mayor Kevin Glover who sits on the board. Moving forward, Chairman Dominick Verdic and Treasurer Tom Russo stated they would work on a budget to discuss with the board and then present it to the council.

During the Feb. 12 SPMC meeting the discussion was heavily focused on whether or not the fee should be suspended and what changes the SID can make with the money they currently have to improve downtown Scotch Plains.

This would be the fifth year the SPMC would collect the SID assessment fee and Glover pointed out to the board that in five years he has not seen any substantial improvement to downtown.

“I don’t think it’s right for us to go as a SID and assess more money against our folks,” he said. “I think what we need to do is finally say this is what we can do or this is what we won’t be able to do.”

He added that much of what could be improved in downtown Scotch Plains starts with very common sense approaches. For example, he suggested adding outdoor café seating, better advertising for free parking and a banner across Park Avenue advertising some of the many businesses downtown offers.

Also, simple additions such as planters that are regularly replenished and making sure the streets are clean are what Glover hopes will be accomplished with the newly formulated beautification committee.

“Scotch Plains needs to say ‘We’re open for Business’,” Glover stated. “Open for business means making it more visible.”

Glover also mentioned that he has dusted off the old plans on developing the piece of property between Darby Road and the Municipal Building, which he said could use some new development like Fanwood to move the township forward.

Tom Russo, Treasurer of the SPMC, disagreed with Glover on some of his points. Russo stated that 150 or so properties and not every taxpayer or resident pays the assessment.

“All I’m saying is if you own a piece of commercial property in Scotch Plains and you can’t afford $33 a month and that’s going to break you, then I have some concerns about that,” Russo stated.

Glover said that he thinks the SPMC should use the money they have to move forward and show the businesses what they are capable of before instituting another tax levy.

“400 bucks is 400 bucks,” Glover said. “They’ve looked at several different management teams and the only one thing we’ve been constant with is we’ve taken 400 dollars out of their pockets.”

Glover added that he never said the suspension would be forever, but he added that he wasn’t offering what his position could be a year from now.

“The idea is you do have reserves that more than adequately fund you at least for the following year and probably for a year and a half,” he stated.

According to Russo, the group currently has $62,000 in their account, but after outstanding bills they are looking at $56,000 or $57,000.

Additionally, the money that was collected in 2012 won’t be allocated until the summer of 2013 and by receiving no money for 2013 from the SID assessment the group will need this money to last until 2014.

Verdic and Russo said they plan to hold a SPMC meeting on Feb. 27 to discuss the budget and hopefully have it prepared to present to council on March 5. 

Piotr P. February 14, 2013 at 01:54 PM
I wonder if the "old plans" the Mayor is dusting off are the ones found at www.scotchplainsnj.com/ord_2011-13.pdf which is the ordinance containing the Redevelopment Plans for 3 areas: downtown, the DPW by Scotch Hills golf course, and of course Shackamack. I urge everyone not familiar with this ordinance to give it a read as it lays out what I suspect is the ultimate game plan favored by politicians and developers, especially the pics on pgs. 26-30 proposing our own Taj Mahr (hat tip to Holden).
klubkleb February 14, 2013 at 02:24 PM
He's talking about the "hedge property" in front of the parking lot next to town hall.
Holden MaGroin February 14, 2013 at 04:13 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and I'm all about compromise. Perhaps for this year the assessment could be for $200. This way the business owners get a break and the SID will still have some funds to have for next year while Mayor Glover makes up his mind. As to the link that Piotr P. provided, I knew I saw it somewhere else before. If you look at my attachment to nj.com, and go to discussion # 1734 response 2 by RKury you can see that he/she also attached that document and suggests that the trees in front of town hall were removed for a long term view of redevelopment. When I first read that, I thought it was just conspiratorial guessing. But now that Glover is discussing development there, maybe RKury is right. I think that the banner across Park Ave would be helpful, and clean streets and sidewalks with planters are always a good idea. I do think Glover should rethink the outdoor seating. I never once thought that "the only thing missing from my Tavern or Darby's burger, or a slice from Alfonzos was a good heaping helping of exhaust fumes." http://www.nj.com/forums/scotchplains/ 1734. Ah .... hello to kitkats postperson .... re Park... by ugafan80, 11/13/12 11:07 AM 1. LOL by kitkats, 11/16/12 3:50 PM 2. Downtown Scotch Plains trees. by RKury, 12/09/12 6:55 AM
Bo Vastine February 14, 2013 at 04:47 PM
While I believe that the suggestions made by the Mayor are not bad...they are very limited in their scope and the entire discussion, so far, has completely missed the bigger objective. Everyone agrees that the downtown business district needs some help. We have some great businesses downtown and would benefit by attracting more quality businesses...and consumers to Scotch Plains. However, cutting off funding to these efforts is not the answer...in fact it is counterproductive at best. It might satisfy a few of the property owners in the short-term, but it will cripple improvement efforts in the long-term. Having said that, what I believe we should be discussing is "What Is The Plan?". Instead of having the SPMC Board focused on how they can squeeze two years of budget out of one year of funding...the Mayor should have them focused on developing a workable plan which will produce a specific result...and that will have specific benchmarks for progress. cont.
Bo Vastine February 14, 2013 at 04:47 PM
I don't care if the plan is to re-brick the entire downtown over the next 20 years (as a extreme example) with the benchmark of 100 bricks a year. The SPMC needs to create a vision with a plan to execute, then benchmarks to measure how well the plan is being executed. In addition, from my perspective...this entire effort is better left to those who are planning professionals, together with those who have a vested interest...the business owners. One of the reasons the SPMC has struggled in the past, is that we have had politicians trying to micro-manage the SPMC instead of getting out of the way and allowing the businesses and property owners to create what they believe to be the right approach. Of course the Governing body as a whole will have some oversight...but we shouldn't be politicizing the effort.
Lenapee Tree February 17, 2013 at 10:48 PM
That looks like an interesting web site. Would you please post a listing of all the local internet sites that are monitored by the township? And the names the employees who are paid to monitor them would also be interesting.
Holden MaGroin February 18, 2013 at 01:44 PM
I'm Holden MaGroin and this is for Tree. It's a guess, but I will try. www.patch.com www.nj.com www.alternativepress.com www.scotchplainstimes.com www.lenapeetreeisnuts.org
Sylvia Avery February 18, 2013 at 03:36 PM
LOL @ Holden
Lenapee Tree February 18, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Your list was helpful but contained some misdirected links. You also did not list the employee names. I have placed the correct web addresses below. www.thealternativepress.com/ www.goleader.com Hey! That is not funny.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »