Reactions to the SID Budget and Liquor License Issues
Thursday, March 21, 2013 • 12:21pm
SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – In the Consent Agenda portion of the Tuesday night Council meeting the Special Improvement District (SID) and a request for an outdoor liquor license from the American Legion sparked the most discussion.
SID Treasurer Tom Russo commented on the difficulty of operating a budget without the assessment that was suspended for 2013. He determined a relative budget balance of $59,000 was not enough to divide spending over two years. He pointed out that using the SID money to publish a magazine that would garner advertising support for the town businesses would cost approximately $6,000 to publish twice a year. Russo also pointed out that, “Westfield self publishes their own magazine which has not broken even over the past 10 years.” Other suggestions Russo had were towards spending on the beautification of the downtown area through adding planters, more garbage cans and possibly small grants for façade improvements.
Mr. Romano, another downtown business owner suggested that the town itself should step in more to provide improvements like better lights and sidewalks. He said, “the SID fees mean nothing, because nothing happens.” Mr. Romano advocated that the town should do the “main improvements like the sidewalks and then the SID can step in and do plantings, etc.”
SID Chairman Dominick Verdic requested that the budget be tabled until the SID Board could have further discussions.
Another hot topic that several Sunset Place residents stepped up to the podium for was the issue of the American Legion applying for a special liquor license to extend alcohol consumption to outside the building.
Sunset resident, Dan Murphy, voiced his concern with having the American Legion on one end and the Italian American Club on the opposite end of the block. “What if the Italian American Club were to apply for the same outdoor liquor license? It might impact the quality of life on the block if outside drinking were to take place on a regular basis.”
A second Sunset resident of seventeen years showed his concern for the safety and well-being of the children who live on that block. And a third Sunset resident suggested that a “fenced in patio area might better contain the alcohol consumption from spilling over into the parking lot and the streets.”
The Financial Officer for The American Legion spoke about Post 209 over at Sunset with regards to the significant outward improvements that were made to the building, and hence the block itself was made more visually appealing. He also pointed out that the “ American Legion adheres to a code of conduct of socially acceptable behavior.”
The Consent Agenda raised many questions and several items were taken off the agenda to be discussed separately. Go to http://www.scotchplainsnj.com/TC-Agendas/2013/20130319/TC_agenda_031913_business.pdf to view the complete Agenda.
On a lighter note, Girl Scout Troupe 158 led the Pledge of Allegiance and gave a brief history on the girl scout organization
Mayor Glover gave an overview of what the Cultural Arts Committee had been involved in the previous year commented that in spite of any differences on the Council, “we still do a lot of things right like the Memorial Day concert and parade to honor our fallen heroes, and high school performances of The Wedding Singer which took a collaboration of 100 people to pull off.”
Deputy Mayor Gialanella also mentioned three charitable events she sees as important to the town, namely, The Easter Egg hunt on March 30, the Family 5K race at St. Barts and the upcoming UNESCO Sounds of Sinatra Dinner show on April 5.