WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Members of the West Paterson Boys & Girls Club voted tonight at a special meeting on whether or not to merge with the Borough. While the vote was 24-24, according to Robert's Rules of Order, procedures which are part of the club's bylaws, a tie vote results in a loss.
Prior to the vote, questions asked at the June 6 regular meeting, or submitted via electronically, were addressed and answered prior to the vote via Mayor Keith Kazmark.
"We opened up this vote to the membership because we as a board felt that this impacts more than just seven people," Boys & Girls Club President Thomas Bolen said.
"Tonight, the West Paterson Boys & Girls membership, in a tie vote, elected not to merge their programs under the umbrella of the town," Kazmark said. "I want to personally thank the membership for the opportunity to present an alternate way of providing youth sports in Woodland Park and for holding tonight’s vote. The Mayor and Council will continue to support the Club under the current structure as we move forward together. Again, thanks to all those who listened and participated in this process."
Kazmark and the Borough Council at the May 1 meeting presented a proposal to merge the Club under the Borough.
The plan included hiring a full time Recreation Director to manage programs, parks, open space and activities and forming a seven-member Recreation Board which would help set policy and guide staff.
Kazmark outlined the current challenges the Club faces including membership and participation, declining volunteerism, competition for fundraising dollars, and competing programs and activities.
Ongoing concerns include the ability to field teams, lack of pre-set schedules, last minute scheduling, conflicts with events sponsored by the town and other organizations, and the need to recruit new people.
The Club was established in 1952. A usage agreement was agreed to between the Borough and the Club in 1981. The Borough made a $70,000 payment to assume 50% ownership of the building. The purpose for doing so was to aid the Club and have a place to host the Senior Citizen Club.
The Borough and the Club have had a partnership over the years including supporting each other with activities and improving facilities. The includes building maintenance, insurance costs, weekend custodian costs – gym use, parking lot paving, and field improvements.
Part of the merger plan would included a potential bond referendum to raise and expand the Club on Memorial Drive, however this is not possible unless the Borough owns the building.