Unity in Business & Community
Agenda for 3/20/2019 GBBA General Meeting
Today’s Message: “Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.”
Networking from 6:30 to 6:45 pm
15 people in attendance.
Opening Remarks at 6:45 pm:
- Thank you to all for attending and to First United Methodist for hosting.
- Thank you to our speaker tonight, Joanne Van Valkenburg.
- Self-introduction of members and guests.
Formal Business at approximately 7:00 pm:
- Board Reports/Board Meeting Summary - 15 minutes
- Quarterly weekend meeting
- March 30th at 8:30 am at Re/Max Ridge, 8 Main Street, Blairstown
- Looking for those to host upcoming meetings at 6:30 pm
- April 17 -- Speaker Blairstown CARE, need location
- May 15 -- Speaker NAMI (mental health), need location
- June 19 -- possible speaker Scott Johnson (BT police)
- July 17 -- Blairstown Ambulance Corps, 108 NJ-94, Blairstown
- Notable local events
- May 17th & 18th -- BEC Community Clean-up Event -Membership appealed to for volunteers
- What topics you’d like to see covered?
- Please make sure you pay your membership dues: calls to go out to members who haven’t renewed. Reminder that dues help with scholarship
- Quarterly weekend meeting
- Board Openings -
- Two Member-at-Large openings - Publicity Committee Chair, Events Committee Chair. Membership appealed to. Need more hands on deck.
- Committee openings - Publicity, Events, Membership, Scholarship
- Recap on goals from previous meeting -
- GBBA discount card -- needs volunteer to coordinate
- At this time we must assume we will not be hosting Sip & Shop as we have had no volunteers to the Events Committee. Hoping that we can get some help and make it a summer event instead.
- New Business (as needed) -- Debbie Waldron brought up the Main St. Assoc. goals. Parking issues, asking for input, date to be announced for a meeting.
- Joanne Van Valkenburg shared that Blair Academy will be creating a parking lot from Blair Place with handicapped spots and at least 10 other parking spots.
Tonight’s Speaker at approximately 7:30 pm
- Joanne Van Valkenburg will be sharing details about the changes to Blairstown taxes that will affect resident and businesses.
- Blairstown is looking at the possibility of a New attorney as of 2018 (savings of $18,000).
- Tax collection rate of 98% currently.
- New well for township near the firehouse.
- 5800-5900 people (aging population)
- 754 max at BES down to 459
- Area 30.9 sq miles with 58 miles of township roadways
- Town employs 8 full time police. 6 public works people, 3 general staff...all full time. Other employees part time.
- Vacant or abandoned homes in our town now must register and pay fees...collected over $100,000 as of the end of January 2019.
- Ridge and valley to buy some unused land owned by the town for $56,000
- Foreclosed on 7 properties that the township was paying taxes on….will be offered to contiguous property owners and then sold at auction if not sold.
- Raised fees on clothing bins and zoning permits
- The oil spill on Walnut Valley (fire house) to be remediated….at a tremendous cost. New company can save $200,000-400,000 from initial estimate
- Blairstown has preserved over 1200 acres at a cost of about 1 million dollars in the past years since the open space tax was created
- Debt service...1.4 million in debt. Largest expenditure being the municipal building
- State aide (which yards creek money now counts as) is due to go down after having been flat for a number of years.
- Reserves have constantly been depleted more every year, so measures have to be taken to correct that.
- Expenses have been reduced by relying on volunteers more for things like emergency management. Crossing guards expense ($14,000) passed to the school (still being negotiated), ems contribution eliminated, payments to fire officers (stipends) have been eliminated.
- Road improvements (very important to residents), capital improvements, fire equipment, OEM items...all needed expenditures
- 5.5 cent proposed municipal tax with 3.5 cents towards road improvement (raising about 248k per year for roads)The other 2 cents would go to the general appropriation. This is $137.5 for a home assessed at 250K for the year. Only 11.45 per month. Its $165 more a year for a 300K home. Not set in stone as its still being discussed.
- For reference: The upper part of Mohican Rd from Cobblewood to Gaisler was about $380k with another $240k plus for the lower section to be done.
- Town surplus is down to about $800k and constantly shrinking. Previously the township maintained a surplus of $2 million plus.
- A municipal tax will allow us access to grant money otherwise unavailable to us without a municipal tax.
- Still to be voted on.
- Another idea is to bond for several roads to get them done all at once then pay back with new tax money as it comes in.
Public Participation at approximately 7:45 pm:
Fred Cook brought school budget info…..NWHS is losing state funds and in trouble.
Closing Remarks at approximately 8:00 pm:
- Thank you all for attending