ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Local officials from Scotch Plains and Fanwood attended the 100th NJ League of Municipalities convention, which updates elected officials on issues of importance in the state.
Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, a member of the League's Board of Directors, hosted a packed panel discussion on Thursday entitled, "Liquor License Reform? I'll Drink to That."
In her introduction, Mahr explained that towns with restaurants that have liquor licenses makes for a vibrant downtown that attracts Millennials and empty nesters. She said that state laws, adopted in the 1940s, were a reaction to the end of Prohibition and that the reasons for passing them do not exist today. For example, only one license is given for each 3,000 people who live in a town.
Other seminars covered topics such as Affordable Housing, Transparency in Goverment, Transportation Trust Fund Solutions, and improving Communications Strategies. TAPinto.net founder and publisher Mike Shapiro was a presenter for the communications panel.
The convention also assembles businesses looking to sell their products and services to municipalities, including snow plows, paving services, and financial services. The evenings are filled with parties -- featuring free flowing booze and food -- hosted by various county political organizations and municipal vendors. The conference, which at times seems to be something of a victory lap for newly elected officials, happens annually shortly after Election Day.
Local attendees included Fanwood's Mayor Mahr and Council Members Kevin Boris, Russ Huegel, and Jack Molenaar, Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover, Township Manager Al Mirabella and Councilman Llewellyn Jones. Former Governor Donald DiFrancesco was a participant on a panel of former governors, including Brendan Byrne, Jim Florio, and Jim McGreevey that assessed the job Governor Chris Christie has done this year.