Jackson Council Candidates Discuss Attracting New Businesses to Township
This is the first in a series of questions and answers to Jackson Township council candidates. Questions were sent to individual candidates for individual responses.
Our first question is, What is your opinion of how Jackson can lure business and ratables?
Rob Nixon: Jackson has the benefit of being a centrally located community, convenient to major highways, with a population that can sustain and is in need of retail options and jobs. It is therefore important that Jackson market itself appropriately to the business community and maintain a “business friendly” approach in attracting ratables. There are a few things Council can do immediately to advance these efforts and generate much needed commercial revenue. Specifically, I have supported Mayor Reina’s proposal to place billboards in select and appropriate places in Route 195 as a member of the CBAC and the Economic Development Committee. There are already numerous approved commercial spaces under the Master Plan in the 195/County Line/Great Adventure corridors that are “open for business” yet it can’t be ignored that the economy has slowed the growth of business. Jackson needs to ensure that businesses receive timely responses on their plans and appropriate steps should be taken to ensure we are giving prompt guidance to them on our rules, procedures and processes. Reacting to opportunities and advanced marketing could bring us the ratables we need to stabilize the residential property tax base.
Ray Cattonar & Bonnie Barrington: One way to lure business to Jackson has already occurred at the most recent Jackson Day this past September. Not only was the event one of the largest events we have ever had, the event has attracted (due to our efforts) a top fortune 500 company Coca Cola who wanted to get involved with our Township.
What a better way to showcase our Township than inviting outside fortune 500 companies to partner with our Township and also get involved in our next Jackson Day event .We discussed the potential to sell exclusive rights to coke products, participating in Jackson Day and even potential sponsorship of our premier sports complex. You never know where a relationship with Coca Cola could go. They expressed an interest in meeting with us and our Administration in an effort to provide funds and get involved with our Township.
Unfortunately, our current administrations lack of vision prevented such a relationship from happening by not confirming a meeting we set up with Coke to explore a partnership. Our Administrator seems to think a competitive bidding process needs to be utilized????
This didn’t make any sense to us either, as they want to provide us with funds.
The Jackson School District didn’t hesitate to sign a lucrative deal with Coke recently, yet our Administration seems to show no interest in doing the same.
This administration has also elected to not entertain our idea of getting our largest Commercial ratable Six Flags Great Adventure more involved in our Township by sponsoring some of our playgrounds to offset some of the maintenance costs of these facilities in an effort to save money.
The next issue would be to reverse the negative approval rating the Township has with local businesses.
The many businesses we have come in contact with are not pleased with their interaction with Township officials in starting and maintaining their local businesses.
How can you bring in business when the majority of the Businesses in Town wish they weren’t here?
The only answer our Administration seems to offer at this time is to spend $20,000 for a commercial nobody is going to see.
Barry Calogero: As chairman of the Zoning Board of adjustments for 3 of the last 6 years I have served, I can tell you there are numerous commercial ratable applications that have been approved and once completed in the next few years the township will reap significant rewards through clean commercial ratables.
One example of a pending commercial ratables we can look forward to would be the Meridian Health care facility on Cooks Bridge and Bennetts Mills Rd. This $20M project approved by the Zoning board will bring 200 jobs to Jackson and once completed will provide a significant tax income, as well as providing our residents with a much needed multi medical facility.