Both the Republican and Democratic candidates for township council visited with local businesses at the Moorestown Business Association (MBA) meeting Wednesday and were given the chance to explain how they would improve the business climate in Moorestown.
The candidates—with the exception of Republican candidate Phil Garwood, who was unable to attend the meeting—offered various strategies for how to aid the revitalization of the township’s business districts, ranging from the hiring of a Main Street manager to the streamlining of regulations through the use of technology.
What follows is a summary of each of the candidates’ views:
Brian Sattinger (Democratic candidate)
“What we’ve been hearing a lot is complaints about difficulties (with business regulations) ... One of the things we’d do is create an ad hoc committee, made up of people from MBA, made up of people from EDAC (Economic Development Advisory Committee), the Appearance Committee, the zoning board, whoever else might have an interest in making sure we streamline the regulations, making it easier for businesses to operate, expand, things like that … We can certainly make it easier to have a business in town … The idea is instead of having piecemeal regulations change over four years, have this committee come and get one package and vote up or down, getting all these changes done at once.”
Pete Palko (Republican candidate)
“I would review, and our team has already begun this process, all the previous visionary revitalization work that’s been done. There’s been a massive amount of hard work that’s been done—really thick, really long documents, with really great ideas. The problem as a town we’ve always had, and we seem to continually have, is we never implement anything. We just kind of study it … Meanwhile the businesses are sitting by waiting for something to be implemented. So we talk about things; it’s time to start implementing ... I’m a five-year plan guy."
Mark Hines (Democratic candidate)
“Let’s take a very tiny bit of that (liquor revenue), we’re talking about 2 cents on the dollar basically. Let’s contract a Main Street manager ... We’re going to set up metrics. We’re going to make sure they fill empty storefronts, that they talk to people. Any way (success) can be measured, there’s plenty of best practices on this, and make sure it works. Two years—if it doesn’t fill the stores, we don’t see the results, then we’ve tried, we’ve given it an effort. But we’re confident it will work. Some people say we’re just blowing the money from liquor revenues. We’re not. What we’re doing is reinvesting … We’re going to be bringing in more revenue.”
Victoria Napolitano (Republican candidate)
“We do need to simplify the way business works in Moorestown. The codes are 500 pages long. The zoning is 250 pages long. It’s very, very difficult for people to get through all of that information. One way we can simplify that and make it a little bit easier is to use ourtownship website … It’s more cost-effective, and probably more convenient, to have that (information) online. That’s something I would definitely like to pursue … Another thing we can do is to move our permitting process online. That makes it easier to apply for permits. You can watch it go through the process online, which also increases our township employees’ accountability.”
Greg Newcomer (Democratic candidate)
“Some of the goals we believe possible in the (Main Street manager) position, directly helping the business community, would be: soliciting businesses of different varieties for a good mix for Main Street and Lenola; establishing a common needs website where all could post such things as open job listings, seasonal or coupon sales, or the dates of special business or site events … One of the many great ideas I’ve heard regarding improving Moorestown businesses as a way to get them known (is) better town signage from one end of town to the other. Another thought was to have a common identifying focal point in each part of town: the mall, Lenola and Main Street. One suggestion of how to do this would be informational kiosks, one at each location.”
For more information about each of the tickets for town council, visit their respective websites.
http://gnp2012.com (Republican council candidates)
http://www.results4moorestown.com (Democratic council candidates)