Editor's Note: Rebecca Greene, Editor & Chief of TAPinto Fair Lawn & Glen Rock, is a trustee of the EDC.
FAIR LAWN, NJ - The Economic Development Corporation of Fair Lawn has asked to meet with the borough's proposed planner after the council redirected $20,000 away from the EDC to cover the cost of hiring the planner.
Isaac Kremer, who is credited with revitalizing downtown Metuchen, is expected to be employed by the borough if the budget is approved on March 24.
The EDC is an autonomous group which has an advisory role with the Borough Council.
"We're interested in working with the borough," chairman of the EDC Steve Weinstein said.
Trustee Allen Weitzman said he wanted to meet with Kremer to determine how the planner and the EDC can work together.
"There's so much work we've already done," Weitzman said. "He needs to know about that."
Deputy Mayor of Community Affairs Gail Rottenstrich agreed. "Absolutely we can work that out."
During the EDC's monthly meeting on March 4, borough representatives explained the funding formula in its 2020 budget.
"We've increased spending for economic development from $30,000 to $35,000," Deputy Mayor Josh Reinitz said.
Borough Manager Jim Van Kruiningen confirmed the proposed budget for economic development had increased $5,000 from 2019 to 2020.
The EDC received all $30,000 from the borough's economic development budget line in 2019, funds used to pay its director, Maggie Peters.
After last month's heated EDC meeting in which Mayor Kurt Peluso appeared before the board to inform them the council intended to hire planner Isaac Kremer, which could have zeroed out any funds from the borough. The council has since restored $15,000 to the EDC and plans to spend $20,000 on Kremer's services. EDC members voiced concern about the way in which the change was managed, leaving them to scramble for funds to pay its director.
The EDC is, none-the-less, preparing to send out a "Listening to Business" survey in which it intends to ask Fair Lawn businesses about their satisfaction with borough services and business-friendly practices. The survey will most likely be rolled out in April.