New Providence Borough Council Continues to Market Liquor Consumption License; Officials Expect to Meet Property Tax Cap
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 • 12:30pm
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Borough officials fully expected to accept bids next month on the first of four liquor consumption licenses, but economic conditions may foil that effort.
Speaking at the Borough Council’s Jan. 28 meeting, Mayor J. Brooke Hern said there were no qualified bidders at this time, although several up-scale area restaurants had initially expressed interest.
“It’s an issue of timing,” the mayor said. He added that existing market conditions and the availability of suitable properties did not coincide with peak marketing needs.
However, Hern insisted there was still a lot to be optimistic about. “We will end up with what we envisioned,” he added.
The lack of available properties would seem to suggest that most, if not all, intended bidders were from out-of-town.
Many local observes believed that a prime candidate for a license was the Murray Hill Inn, but that firm notified the borough late last year that it would not pursue a license due to current business plans.
In other council news, it’s that time of the year when property taxes take center stage. Council President Michael Gennaro, who is also the chairman of the finance committee, said that property evaluations were projected to decrease by $10 to $12 million.
“Almost every commercial property in town has appealed,” he said, referring to commercial tax appeals.
Borough Administrator Doug Marvin said that figure represented less than one percent of the borough’s assessed evaluations of about $1.3 billion.
“There is good news on the horizon,” Marvin said, referring to current and future projects that will increase assessments.
Looking to the 2013 budget, Marvin said, “I’m confident we will be within the 2 percent budget cap.”
Hurricane Sandy certainly left its mark on the borough but fallen trees offer a possible revenue infusion.
Councilman Dr. Bob Robinson said that felled trees have resulted in about 30,000 cubic feet of mulch which the borough plans to sell at $10 a cubic foot.
“That could bring the borough as much as $30,000,” he added.
Robinson and Councilman Robert Munoz have assumed the responsibilities for the Department of Public Works since the retirement of former Councilman James Cucco.
Both councilmen cited the need for a new $300,000 sewer jet truck to clean sanitation lines and the replacement of a 15 year-old street sweeper at a cost of $250,000.
Gennaro said that after the borough’s last snow event, he noted lots of borough sidewalks that were still snow and ice covered.
Rather than a breach of local ordinances, Gennaro was more concerned with numerous legal ramifications and liability for accidents.
Councilman Armand Galluccio, who is also a member of the Planning Board, said that an application to construct a 7-11 convenience store on South Street would be heard on March 5.
Councilman Alan Lesnewich reported that plans on renovations to Hillview Field were on schedule with a completion date in advance of summer use.
Councilman Gary Kapner said that the first weekend of the Refurnish the Shore furniture drive proved to be a success. More than 200 items, including kitchen tables, chairs, dressers, beds, lamps and other items had been collected to help Hurricane Sandy victims at the shore.
The drive will continue this Saturday, Feb. 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents wishing to contribute items can deliver them to 560 Central Ave. near the side of the old A & P store.