“When I first ran for council, I never thought I’d be attending so many grand openings,” said Council President Derryck White when talking about business growth in South Plainfield recently.
“We’re seeing the results of the council’s focus on bringing new businesses to town,” added White, “and it’s making a huge difference.”
“Growing South Plainfield’s economy is one of the best things we can do to hold down taxes and bring good jobs to town,” added Councilwoman Christine Faustini.
Over the past few years, South Plainfield has seen a surge in growth, both from new and existing businesses. Some of the bigger names include Shoprite, Raymour & Flanigan, Progressive Insurance, biotech leader Genewiz, Restaurant Depot, Woodspring Suites, and Royal Coffee of New York.
White, who serves as chair of Economic Development, said the town is seeing “real-world results” from the council’s focus on growing South Plainfield’s economy.
Faustini says that attracting small businesses is just as important. “It’s important to keep our storefronts full,” she said. “Two-thirds of new jobs come from small businesses. Places like Pinot’s Palette, Little Nicky’s, and Uncle Louie G play a huge role in our local economy.”
According to White, business growth also means new tax ratables, which helps hold down taxes.
“One of the reasons South Plainfield has one of the lowest taxes in the county is our business base,” said White. “Business and industry help offset what residents pay in taxes and the Borough’s ratable base has increased three years in a row.”
The pair said the town is also seeing unexpected benefits from the council’s focus on growing the economy:
“Southside Clam Bar is a great example,” said White. “This administration fought the former Liquid Assets for years. It was a blighted crime infested Go-Go bar that is now a great seafood restaurant! We worked hard to ensure the community was kept safe and a new business was located that has helped the area tremendously. Southside Clam Bar is a must try for all residents.”
Faustini pointed to the Route 287 gateway as another example. “We can already see a difference now that the dilapidated houses are gone. You don’t see a trailer graveyard and rundown buildings anymore when you come into town off of Exit 4. A double benefit is the realignment of the light at Helen St. The intersection was realigned by McDonald’s at no cost to the taxpayers and has assisted the traffic flow tremendously.”
White said we need to also invest in tools that will benefit our local businesses and our taxpayers at the same time. “Over the summer a resident brought the idea of a taxpayer rewards card to the Council. Bridgewater was the first town to initiate this incentive and before the end of 2017 South Plainfield will enact the program too. This program will reward taxpayers who shop both local and online and will help further reduce their property taxes, and bring revenue to our local businesses.”
According to both candidates, a continued focus on new-business growth is one of their three main goals: The other two are to keep South Plainfield affordable while investing more in South Plainfield.
“It boils down to this,” said Faustini, “we want to keep our town affordable, while investing more in our hometown.”