MILLBURN, NJ - After months of turnover and changes at the Downtown Millburn Development Alliance (DMDA) that included facing defunded, the new president David Sorkin came before the Millburn Township Committee give an update on the progress to date. Sorkin started at his post on May 30 and outlined the fundamental tenets the DMDA is looking to accomplish.
Deputy Mayor Jodi Rosenberg eluded to all the changes during her reports as the committee liaison to the DMDA. "As everyone knows the DMDA has undergone a lot of changes and under the new president we have been moving at rocket speed."
Sorkin took the podium and started with the most pressing issue facing the DMDA was to recover from the turmoil of the recent six months by identifying opportunity areas to build a strong, sustainable for the DMDA going forward."
"Our immediate objectives coming in on the 30th of May was to stabilize and repair an organization that was much in need of stabilization and repair," said Sorkin.
As of July 1, the DMDA hired Beth Lippman as the Executive Director to help guide the organization with their bylaw revision and enacting practices for the upcoming elections. Lippman is the Executive Director in Livingston and Springfield, bring needed experience to the post. Tom Lee has led the Bylaw Revisions committee and a vote is set for September 11 for a vote to approve the update.
Focusing on financial responsibility as questions swirled among the community and committee members, the DMDA has moved to a cloud-based platform to avoid the problems created by the localized system used in the past. Nancy Stone has reconciled the budget and the DMDA looked to rid the organization of unnecessary expenses. The 2017 audit is underway through the Spier Group and the DMDA recently received a marketing grant to aid their reinvention.
Members of the board went door to door in an effort to make personal introductions to the merchants and sending regular emails to encourage more open communication between the DMDA and merchants. The board looks to engage landowners/property owners with the newly obtained list from city hall.
Sorkin then moved to discuss the need for further event optimization to encourage as much community and surrounding community engagement. He brought up the Farmer's Market shift in hours to allow both the daytime shoppers and the commuters to have easy access to the weekly event. The DMDA has extended Millburn Live into the fall season, as opposed to four straight Fridays in July, to fill a significant time gap between events.
The goals for the second half of the DMDA's fiscal year is to hire a permanent Executive Director and strengthen the board that is currently working with depleted numbers.