Ongoing Discussions regarding Scotch Plains Management Corporation
Thursday, February 28, 2013 • 5:38pm
SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – The Scotch Plains Management Corporation (SPMC) Board met Wednesday evening to look at a budget that did not include a levy in the current year. There continued to be discussions on the pros and cons of this line of action.
Treasurer Tom Russo outlined the difficulties in what was essentially cutting the budget in half. “If we do not bring in any more money this year, we have to take what we have and spend half this year and half next year.”
It was identified that there are approximately $10,000 of fixed costs in operating the SPMC, leaving $28,000 to fund the budget. There was a sense of urgency, as according to the original ordinance the budget should have been tabled with the Town Council by December 1st of 2012.
Chairman Dominick Verdict said, “We need to discuss management. We don’t have anyone to do the agenda, we don’t have minutes. We need to have someone on the payroll to handle these basic functions. We are all volunteers and we don’t have time to do it. We have to have someone to cover the bases.”
Mayor Kevin Glover, who is also a SPMC Board member, said, “Someone grabbed me today and said it was about time to stop paying $400 when the businesses feel they are not getting a return.”
This comment sparked a lively debate regarding “perceived value” and how to fund the SPMC without a levy in the current year. Ideas that were tabled included researching grants, having the Town of Scotch Plains take on some of the “beautification” aspects, involving more volunteers and looking for a “little or no cost” option to run the SPMC quarterly newspaper.
Board Member Mike Brennen, co-owner of the restaurant Darby Road on Park Avenue, had very strong opinions on the proposed budget slashing and how it would affect what he saw as a “young” organization.
Lisa Mohn, President of the Scotch Plains Business and Professional Association, pointed out the logic loop created by slashing the budget in that more money was needed to make a difference. Jeff Stein, who has been acting as an Ambassador to member businesses, echoed that sentiment. ”How can we spend less money and accomplish more?”
In addition to discussion on expenses, Treasurer Tom Russo raised the concept of “What is the vision? This is the same question I asked when I joined the Board, what is the vision for what this group is expected to accomplish? How can we be successful if we don’t have a clear idea of what we are supposed to do?” Mike Brennan agreed that it was important to “have a goal.”
Several people replied that one of the goals should be to attract people to downtown. Board member Diane Rotella of Metropoloton Doors added that the goal as she saw it was to “Promote all businesses in Scotch Plains” and she also pointed out that it was very hard to find the SPMC online.
After the discussions died down, Mayor Glover commented, “A vibrant downtown is good for the entire community -our only disagreement is on how to fund it.”
Discussions finally ended when the Board moved to present a budget of $38,000 to the Council and the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be on March 20.