Minutes: February 9, 2021

CALL TO ORDER

The regular meeting of the Vernon Township Economic Advisory Committee meeting was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 in the Vernon Municipal Building, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.

STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE

Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6, adequate notice of this regular meeting has been provided to the public and the press on February 2, 2021 and was posted on the bulletin board in the municipal building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act.

SALUTE TO THE FLAG

ROLL CALL

Edward DeYoung—A
Jennifer Lubliner—P
Nicholas Pirro—P
Jennifer Rodriguez—P
Dan Segal—A
Joseph Tadrick—A
Ron Williams—P

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Nick Pirro motioned to open the meeting to the public. Jenn Rodriguez seconded it. All were in favor. There were no members of the public present to comment. Nick Pirro motioned to close to the public. Jenn Rodriguez seconded it. All were in favor.

VOTE FOR EDAC CHAIRPERSON AND VICE CHAIRPERSON

Vote was tabled until more members of the committee could attend as Ron Williams was not yet sworn in and could not vote.

VOTE ON DECEMBER 1, 2020 MINUTES

Jen Lubliner motioned to approve the minutes. Seconded by Ron Williams. All were in favor.

VOTE FOR HIRING A RECORDING SECRETARY

Nick Pirro motioned to open the meeting to the public. Jenn Rodriguez seconded it. All were in favor. Jen Lubliner stated she will reach out to Deb Colson to confirm if she is still interested in the position.

EDAC CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT

All members present signed for the current year.

DISCUSS EDAC WEB PAGES SUBMITTED TO THE MAYOR

Jen Lubliner advised that the pages are currently listed on the township website as a PDF link under the EDAC page. The page regarding the Scenic Byway was removed. Jen shared the comments from the mayor requesting the document be more business focused. It was discussed whether we could highlight specific businesses, Ron Williams mentioned that selecting which businesses to highlight may lead to more division and concerns about what would be fair to everyone. We were all in agreement that this could cause more issues.

We discussed what information would be best to include, such as crime rate/safety statistics, school statistics, demographics, etc. Jen Lubliner will work on a draft to bring back to the committee with these suggestions.

Jenn Rodriguez recommended gathering a list of commercial spaces available and creating a “how to” flow chart for requirements when opening a new commercial location.

HIGHLANDS REGION BUSINESS SURVEY

Jen Lubliner advised that we were asked to share this survey to help gather as much feedback from the local business community as possible. It was sent to the Chamber of Commerce and shared on various FaceBook groups. The results should be shared with us in time to review at our April 2021 meeting.

FIRE HYDRANT COVERS PROJECT

Jen Lubliner shared that this project was handed off since it is not really an EDAC focus but we have an update and were asked for our opinion. One of the clubs offered to donate about 1/3 of the cost if their club logo could be displayed on the covers. We were in agreement that adding the logo would take away from the aesthetic. Ron Williams said he would review the specs and see if McAfee Hardware could provide a quote for the project.

DISCUSSION

The group discussed several goals and ideas for 2021.

Mentorship program with local businesses and the VTHS DECA students.

Education campaign for the importance of shopping local. Jenn Rodriguez advised that VIRA did a campaign years ago that was great and she will search for some of the resources used.

Revitalize the Pledge 2 Pause campaign to get some of the negativity off of social media.

Create a business directory/community guide to help promote local businesses and showcase what is available in town.

Possibility of renewing the Welcome Wagon for new residents and building more community involvement.

Possibility of revitalizing the Shop Vernon program. This program will not be successful if there is not enough buy in from local business owners. Jen Lubliner is gathering info/FAQs about the program and reaching out to businesses who originally signed up but no longer participate to get feedback and see how we can go about accomplishing this.

We discussed how we can go about changing the reputation Vernon has for being difficult to work with and felt that some of the above items will help. We will look into setting up a meeting with some of the department heads and see what we can do to help.