MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Maplewood Mayor Victor DeLuca will be attending the New Jersey State League of Municipalities conference in Atlantic City this week for his 17th time.
This year's conference will be especially significant for Mayor DeLuca as he will be induced into the Mayors' Hall of Fame in recognition of his ten years of service as Mayor of Maplewood, and is being awarded the NJ Municipal Managers Award - Elected Official of the Year.
The New Jersey State League of Municipalities is a voluntary association encompassing all 565 New Jersey municipalities, all members of the League, which celebrates it's 100th anniversary this year.
This annual gathering brings together delegates from all over New Jersey to discuss how to improve self-government through a variety of ways, including working together to share information and resources.
Mayor DeLuca said that there are three primary reasons he attends the conference, "workshops, education, and networking."
DeLuca continued, "the workshops have been helpful over the years in areas such as economic development and sustainability, which provide the opportunity to lean what other towns have found effective."
The conference hosts an exhibit hall with vendors offering a wide range of services and products for municipal governments. DeLuca explained there are rows and rows of exhibitors "with everything from office equipment to tractors, plows and garbage trucks."
The third reason DeLuca attends is for, as he put it, "the feel good experience." From walking the floor to meeting other elected officials for informal talks and at the various receptions, DeLuca added that being "there with others who are trying to make their community the best they can be – this makes you feel good."
In addition to his induction into the Mayors' Hall of Fame and his award for Elected Official of the Year, Mayor DeLuca is being interviewed by Comcast about police and community relationships at the conference.
This year, DeLuca is primarily interested in attending the educational sessions, and "looking for something new to try in Maplewood." DeLuca is focused on workshops examining affordable housing plans, communication, and community relationships. DeLuca also finds the conference provides a good opportunity to learn about what is going on at the state level.
DeLuca is also hoping to learn more about possible new liquor laws, and DeLuca wants to hear "from both sides, the legislators and the lobbyists," as possible outcomes being discussed may make it easier for smaller restaurants to purchase liquor licenses, but new rules might also pose a threat to the current value of a liquor license.
The League of Municipalities conference offers more than 100 panels, clinics, workshops and other sessions, including "Tips on How to Keep Your Citizens Informed," featuring TAPinto CEO and Publisher Mike Shapiro as one of the panel speakers.