Boro to explore alternatives to re-painting Amtrak train trestle

May 16, 2016: The saga of beautifying the Amtrak train trestle hit a delay after what appeared to be a significant victory in November.

A grassroots campaign led by resident Nora Pagel to re-paint the trestle culminated in Amtrak granting the borough approval to re-paint the hulking, soot-stained structure.

However, the process appears to be too expensive. Borough Administrator Jennifer Maier told me in a recent interview the re-painting process will require lead testing and scraping old paint, which would drive the total to around $60,000 “before a paint brush even touched the trestle.”

“It is crazy expensive for what we’re trying to accomplish,” Maier said.

Instead, the borough is looking into a potentially cheaper alternative: stringing a banner across the trestle. “I’ll have to work with Amtrak,” Maier said. The trick would be to install a banner so it doesn’t block the blinking lights on the trestle.

Pagel made a presentation before Council in January on re-painting the trestle, which she had researched for two years, she said at the time. She researched other towns that had done similar projects and worked with Amtrak to figure out how to get permission for the project. “I feel this project would be amazing for the town, it would uplift the downtown,” she said in January.

Maier said she would be talking with Amtrak so I’ll update as soon as I get word.

 

Opinion: With MDA approval, progress wins

May 4, 2016: Perhaps 82-year-old Margaret Inglese said it best Monday night: “Sitting back and waiting doesn’t work for anything except letting your bread rise.”

Inglese, who spoke along with scores of other residents, business and property owners at the Borough Council meeting, said she “believed in looking toward the future.”

I agree with her. Council’s vote to approve the formation of the non-profit Metuchen Downtown Alliance, and designate a Special Improvement District to generate revenue for the organization, was a nod to the future. The unanimous vote was an acknowledgment that downtown Metuchen is good, but could be great. That Metuchen’s Main Street, beset as it is with vacant properties and a revolving door of businesses, should be as thriving as commercial hubs in Montclair or Westfield.

With an upcoming influx of new residents, it’s time Main Street becomes that destination where everyone wants to spend their time and money.

Like some who spoke at the Council meeting Monday, my wife and I chose to move to Metuchen after years in Brooklyn in part because of the Main Street. We saw the potential there, as did many others. It just needs a push, a concentrated effort on the part of people whose focus is 100 percent on improving downtown. That’s what MDA is intended to do.

Some at the meeting spoke of MDA as a government bureaucracy with no accountability, but the ordinance makes clear there will be accountability as well as transparency. Here’s a taste: the budget that will be created by the MDA’s executive director and board of trustees must be approved by Borough Council. That means it will be subject to public discussion (for those who pay attention).

The budget must include a report that describes how it contributes to the goals of the MDA. The budget also must be “reasonably” itemized to include projected revenues and expenditures; each source of revenue and a five-year projection of the MDA’s goals and a strategy for meeting the goals.

Also, an annual audit of the MDA’s books is mandated under the ordinance that will be filed with Borough Council, as well as an annual report of the organization’s activities.

The board of trustees, meanwhile, is meant to be inclusive of all community stakeholders, according to the ordinance. The board will comprise four owners of property in the district, four business owners in the district, a member of Borough Council, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, a Metuchen resident, a member of the Arts Council and a member of the Parking Authority. (The current board does not have this exact composition, but 10 of the seats on the initial board expire at the end of 2016).

One thing that should have been in the ordinance is some sort of built-in review procedure for the executive director. I suspect however the board will create its own metrics and processes for success or failure of the role.

I also don’t see the special assessment of commercial properties in the District as a tax. I see it more as a minimal contribution by property owners (who will pass the burden on to their merchant tenants) for the good of the entire community.

I hate taxes as much as the next guy, but in this I see a contribution for future prosperity for all Metuchen residents. And in fact, residents outside the District aren’t going to be paying for this — even better. Those directly impacted by the improvements to be driven by the MDA must pay for them.

Residents, meanwhile, must contribute in the form of volunteerism, because the MDA, while run by an executive director, is “powered” by volunteers. Read here for more info on that.

There have also been complaints about the District itself, and why it doesn’t include the area of South Main. Let’s be clear, this isn’t a real complaint because I’ve only heard it brought up by people against the MDA. If you don’t like the idea of the MDA, why would you care if it includes a larger area?

But this too: the District boundaries can be adjusted, so if going forward the board of trustees and executive director see a pressing need to shift boundaries, I imagine that will be considered.

When Main Street is a thriving destination for people from all over the area (and residents) in a few years, every property owner and merchant will benefit. Residents might benefit too with rising property values.

Will this drive businesses out of Metuchen? I doubt it, but if some businesses leave because of an extra $20 or $40 or $100 a month, it’s likely those businesses had bigger problems than the MDA.

What Metuchen needs are businesses all-in with future progress, merchants on board with turning Main Street from a slightly depressed and dull area into a thriving hub attracting not only residents but people from all over.

What do you think? Leave comments or email brainyboroblog@gmail.com.

Looking to the future, Council approves downtown management org

May 3, 2016: Borough Council made an historic decision at Monday’s council meeting that could very well shape the composition of downtown Metuchen for years to come.

After hours of vigorous public comments both for and against the proposal, Council approved an ordinance creating the Metuchen Downtown Alliance (MDA). The Alliance is a non-profit management corporation that will be run by an executive director and overseen by a board of trustees.

The ordinance also establishes a Special Improvement District that will be administered by the MDA. Commercial properties and multi-family rental properties with four or more units and mixes use properties within the district will be assessed an annual fee based on real estate taxes, which will fund the MDA. (See the ordinance for a list of every property in the district). Assessments will begin in 2017.

The borough will contribute to MDA funding using Parking Authority proceeds. In 2016, the MDA will be funded with $150,000 solely from the sale of the Pearl Street parking lot, according to the ordinance.

A stakeholders group that formed the initial proposal for creation of the MDA estimated in prior meetings the organization would need an annual budget of $275,000. This would be split between the annual fee paid by property owners in the district, and contributions from the borough.

Now that Borough Council officially created the MDA, the group’s board of trustees will meet to search for and hire an executive director. The 2016 budget sets out $75,000 for salaries as well as office rental, utilities and supplies. The rest of the $150,000 is slated for maintenance/cleaning, marketing, capital improvements, plantings and holiday decorations.

The trustees also must decide on a budget for 2017 that will have to be brought before Borough Council.

The point of all this is to put an organization in place to revitalize the downtown area. MDA will be responsible for marketing the borough, maintenance and cleanliness, finding businesses for vacant buildings and establishing the right mix of businesses downtown.

The proposal was met with vocal opposition made up mostly of merchants and property owners in town who don’t want to pay what they call a tax. Opposition was led by Nancy Jessen of Victorian Office Rentals on Main Street. Jessen created and distributed the “I Love Brainy Boro” signs and shirts that have appeared throughout the borough in recent weeks.

At Monday’s meeting, Jessen invoked her relatives who fought in the Continental Army against British taxation. “I’m against the MDA because I believe it’s a tax increase on small businesses,” Jessen said. “To say that the Metuchen Downtown Alliance is not government, governments levy taxes, you don’t get a choice whether you pay a tax or not. I don’t think we should be raising taxes on small businesses.”

Councilman Jay Muldoon, who worked with the original stakeholders group that created the MDA plan over a year of work, said before voting his approval the MDA does not represent a tax increase. He said the MDA will help Metuchen be “proactive” about revitalizing downtown.

“One thing I believe is absolutely certain, if we continue doing what we’ve been doing for the past 20 years on Main Street, we’ll continue to get the same or much worse results,” Muldoon said. “The status quo is absolutely unacceptable in my view and hopefully to everyone here.”

Boro embarks on ambitious parks improvement process

April 4, 2016: Metuchen plans to review and potentially improve every park in the borough over the next few years.

This process started with a block grant application for construction of handicap pathways and parking at Olmezer Park at Main and Christol streets, Jennifer Maier, Borough Administrator, said at a Borough Council meeting last month.

That is the first step in what will likely be a multi-year process across Metuchen.

The borough also anticipates an “overhaul” of Oakland Park in the fall to be paid for using funds from the sale of the Pearl Street lot, as well as matching county grants, according to Mayor Peter Cammarano.

“This will include making the park accessible and replacing equipment,” Cammarano said.

Finally, the borough will survey the remaining parks to gauge their needs to establish a schedule into the future, Cammarano said.

“Parks are a priority for me. Many of our parks have not been updated in years and the equipment needs to be replaced. Additionally, most of the parks are not accessible to all residents,” he said, adding: “All of our parks hopefully will get the attention they need over the next couple of years.”

William Allen of Kentnor Street said at the Borough Council meeting March 7 the pocket park along Kentnor Street should be given priority. The property contains dead tree limbs and garbage and represents a safety hazard to children playing there.

Maier responded that the borough has done some clean-up in the park, but said she would work to address Allen’s concerns.

 

Group asks Council to form downtown management organization

March 22, 2016: Deborah Zupan, co-owner of Marafiki, a fair trade business that ran out of a storefront on New Street, believes her store would still be open if Metuchen had a downtown management organization in place to help small businesses.

Marafiki closed its doors about three weeks ago and Zupan and her partner Linda Koskoski are running the business online.

“If we’d been operating our business while such an organization existed, we’d still be open today,” Zupan said at the Borough Council meeting Monday. “Any downtown retailer no matter how great they are is going to have a hard time surviving if there aren’t other downtown retailers or other attractions to draw customers there as a destination.”

Having a downtown management organization in place to help promote the business district would have been helpful, Zupan said.

The idea of forming a downtown management organization took center stage at the Council meeting. The volunteer stakeholder group trying to bring this idea into reality asked Council to consider an ordinance to form the downtown organization as well as approve the boundaries of a business improvement district inside of which commercial property owners would pay an annual fee on real estate taxes.

Members of the stakeholder group, including Jan Margolis, who spoke Monday, believe the downtown management organization is the best way to deal with the growing number of vacant storefronts downtown.

The organization would help promote the business improvement district, maintain it and keep it clean and perhaps most importantly, figure out the right mix of businesses for the district, help bring in new businesses and retain those already there.

Council took no action at Monday’s meeting. Mayor Peter Cammarano said Council will formally discuss the idea at the next meeting. If Council decides to move forward with an ordinance, there would be an introduction and then a public hearing at a later meeting, Cammarano said.

“There will be plenty of time for public comment,” he said.

To review, the idea is this: Council would pass an ordinance creating the downtown management organization, a non-profit called the Metuchen Downtown Alliance led by an executive director and a board of directors.

The organization would be powered by volunteers who would contribute to things like communications and public relations, education, fundraising, design, marketing, beautifying the district and retention of businesses.

The organization would have a $275,000 annual budget, about half of which would pay administrative costs, including the executive director’s salary of $60,000 to $70,000 a year. About 27 percent of the budget would go to capital improvement projects in the district, with the balance going to things like holiday decorations, marketing and recruitment and retention of businesses.

The funding mechanism for the organization is a structure called a Business Improvement District — a pre-defined area inside of which commercial property owners pay an annual fee on real estate (which would likely get shared by merchant tenants). Residents would see no tax increases as part of this process.

The proposed BID would include properties fronting Main Street from Durham to Amboy avenues; from the train tracks to properties fronting Middlesex Avenue; the Sportsplex; the Whole Foods development; the Woodmont redevelopment; and the Forum Theater. The BID can be adjusted to fit the needs of the community, said Eric Berger, a member of the stakeholder group, at a prior meeting.

In 2016, the half-year budget would be $150,000, solely from the borough through the Parking Authority sale of the Pearl Street lot. Next year, the funding would be split: $150,000 from the Parking Authority and $175,000 from the business district assessment.

This ratio would continue to shift from the borough to the BID, until 2020 when the borough would pay $75,000 and the BID would raise $200,000.

Property owners in the district would ultimately pay a fee of 5 percent of real estate taxes, phased in over several years. For example, in 2017 property owners would pay 3.2 percent of real estate taxes. That would increase to 5 percent of real estate taxes in 2020.

One business owner, Nancy Jessen of Victorian Office Rentals on Main Street, opposed the plan, calling it a “tax increase.” Jessen started an online petition opposing the idea. that had 24 supporters as of Tuesday.

“We don’t need a $275,000 bureaucracy,” Jessen said.

She said instead of hiring an executive director to help guide new business owners through code approval processes, make those processes easier to deal with. Also, she said marketing, a big function of the management organization, can be handled today by business owners for low cost online, through social media, which can target specific audiences.

For more information, visit Metuchen Downtown Alliance’s website.

Boro explores banning trucks on Main Street

March 15, 2016: Our truck-hungry Main Street bridge may be going on a diet soon.

Mayor Pete Cammarano announced at the Borough Council meeting last week the borough is looking into banning trucks from Main Street. Ideally, the ban would encompass the entire length of Main Street, he said.

The ban would be based on certain weights and lengths, Cammarano said, but would definitely include the kind of big tractor-trailers that keep getting stuck under Metuchen’s Truck Eating Bridge.

The Mayor said the ban would not include delivery trucks, which have to be able to deliver to local businesses.

“We’ve been talking about this since I was a kid,” Cammarano said about trucks getting stuck under the Main Street bridge, which is owned by Amtrak. “This seems to be a reasonable way to prevent bridge strikes as well as get the trucks off of where they don’t belong. It’s been a long time coming.”

The idea emerged out of discussions of applying for a grant to prevent bridge strikes. “It dawned on me that the cheapest and most common sense way to prevent it is to eliminate as many trucks as possible from Main Street,” Cammarano said in an email Tuesday. “Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to research and fix something when you can just ban them from the road.”

Borough Council doesn’t have the authority to ban trucks from Main Street, which is a county road. It’ll have to work through the county, and I imagine that comes with all sorts of red tape.

The Mayor characterized the process as “pretty extensive,” but said ” I don’t think we’re looking at a big hurdle … to get trucks off of Main Street.”

So who knows how long this process could take. But the process is moving forward. The borough engineer will work on coming up with that alternate route, which is a required part of the process, Cammarano said. Then the borough will apply to the county and state for the ban.

“Trucks present several challenges. In addition to bridge strikes, trucks going out Central Avenue will often come up Route 27 and turn left onto Main Street, past an elementary school and then follow the road to Plainfield Avenue to Central Ave.,” Cammarano said in an email. “I’m not sure why this is the case when they could just go left and pick up Central Ave. at the intersection of Middlesex [Avenue].”

It’s always baffling to me when I see a massive tractor-trailer cruising down Main Street toward the bridge, the driver looking slightly nervous as that dingy steel and cement monstrosity rises up from its dip in the road. There’s gotta be a better way to go.

For everyone’s sake, let’s put that bridge on a diet.

Editor’s Note: Busy season

Dear Reader: I wanted to take a few moments and catch you up on the state of things here at the Metuchen Bureau.

I’m hoping to post more frequently, but my day job is making it tough to keep up with consistent posts on the blog. Part of that is because I do a good amount of reporting before posting, unlike other blogs with which you might be familiar, where the bloggers simply post every time something pops into their heads.

I could do that but by the time I get home my head is fairly empty. I blame that not on my day job but on New Jersey Transit, which seems to have trouble accomplishing its most basic job of getting people into the city in a timely manner.

Anyway, things are easing up at work which should free up some time for me to write more frequent posts. I’m also considering adding some coverage of school board meetings. I was thinking of finding someone to go cover school board meetings on a volunteer basis. Maybe a young, journo student or a retiree looking for some laughs. If you know anyone, hit me up!

Police stuff: On another note, we posted a story about a drug raid last month, which generated more clicks than I could have ever imagined this blog could generate. The story, based on a police report, included the names of the people arrested.

I kept that post up for a few days and then took it down. I decided to institute a policy whereby the blog will continue to cover significant police activities, leaving most police reports with names up for three days and then taking them down. This is enough time to give readers a chance to read the info, which is in the public interest.

My rationale for removing the posts is that I want to be fair to those whose names appear in a criminal context. In a regular newspaper, names of those charged are in front of eyeballs for a day, and then everyone moves on to the next edition. The internet, on the other hand, never forgets.

“What we say on the internet, echoes in eternity,” Russell Crowe said in Gladiator, probably.

Let me know what you think.

Council set to enforce noise violations

Landscaping equipment that growls and screeches all summer long has had a devastating effect on the ability of Sheera Stern, of Newman Street, to do her job.

Stern works from home, where she runs online educational courses. Even with windows shut and using noise-canceling headphones, the leaf blowers and riding mowers that scrape and shape her neighbors’ lawns is so loud it interferes with her ability to do her job.

Stern came before Borough Council in February to impart her tale and ask for relief. It’s possible she will get some after Council approved a noise ordinance that mirrors the noise regulations imposed by the state. By aligning the ordinance with the state’s rules, Metuchen now has grounds to enforce its own ordinance, which it didn’t have before, according to Borough Administrator Jennifer Maier.

“If someone complains, we then reach out to the county and have them come out and do the metering for us, because they’re trained to do that,” Maier said in an interview Friday. The plan is that Metuchen will eventually have its own employees, probably police officers, trained to measure noise levels.

lawnmowingThe ordinance governs power tools, emergency work, home maintenance tools, landscaping and yard maintenance equipment used by property owners, commercial operators and public employees. Excluding emergency work, these devices can’t be used between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. unless they meet noise limits set forth in the ordinance. They also have to be used with mufflers to reduce sound, the ordinance said.

Noise limits include sound levels of no more than 65 decibels from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and 50 decibels from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., when measured outside a residential property, according to the ordinance. The level is 65 decibels all day and night outside a commercial facility.

Indoors, decibel levels fall to 55 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 40 decibels from 10 p.m. and 7 a.m, according to the ordinance.

The rules also govern noise made by playing music and animals. For animals, violations will occur after than five minutes of noises like barking, howling or yelping without interruption, or making noise intermittently for 20 minutes, the ordinance said.

Stern told Council she used a noise measurement app on her iPhone to measure noise levels of landscaping equipment, which got as high as 104 decibels inside her house.

“Without limits, landscapers will use as much equipment as they possibly can at the same time in order to rush through a job,” Stern said. “That includes leaf blowers … lawn mowers large enough to mow a golf course.”

It’s not clear to me the borough could come out and dictate to a landscaper exactly how many machines he should use at once. Or have a police officer stand there measuring noise while the landscapers use their machines to make sure they don’t go over limit. I honestly don’t know how that would work or if that’s even a good idea. I mean, how long does it take for a landscaper to mow a lawn?

I have a pretty small yard and, because I have yet to buy a shed, I employ a landscaping firm. They are in and out in about 20 minutes. And yes it’s pretty loud, so if I’m working from home I generally use that time to take a break, have a coffee and talk to my wife. They also get to one of my neighbor’s homes every Thursday morning (in the warm months) around 7 a.m. and bang it out in about 20 minutes.

We’ll see how this plays out. The borough will deal with complaints on a case by case basis, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens when a landscaper gets called out for being too loud.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Pedestrian safety campaign to launch in March

Feb. 17, 2016: Bad drivers – like those who ignore flashing crosswalks – and bad walkers – like people who don’t use crosswalks to cross the street – should clean up their acts in March, because Metuchen police will be watching.

March will be traffic enforcement blitz month in Metuchen, according to Metuchen Police Traffic Safety Officer Ken Bauer. Police will be working in partnership with the New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority for a combined education and enforcement campaign to focus on pedestrian safety in Metuchen.

The point is to change the behavior both of drivers and of pedestrians, according to Jeffrey Perlman, manager, environmental planning and mobility programs at the NJTPA. Perlman gave a presentation before Borough Council Tuesday. The campaign is the result of Metuchen being named one of 12 municipalities chosen for the second phase of NJTPA’s pilot Street Smart New Jersey program, which launched in 2013.

“Our goal is to change pedestrian and motorist behaviors and reduce the number and incidence of pedestrian injury and death,” Perlman said.

The enforcement component of the campaign will include plain clothes, decoy police officers at “hot spot” intersections around the borough being observed by other police officers looking for both pedestrian and motorist violators. Metuchen police received a $4,000 grant that will allow the department to provide extra enforcement focused on pedestrian safety, Bauer said.

Pedestrian safety goes beyond drivers. Pedestrians who don’t cross at crosswalks or fail to heed signals could be slapped with a $54 citation, Bauer said.

“Just giving a head’s up and a warning, it’s going to be a very strict enforcement the month of March,” Bauer said. Metuchen Mayor Pete Cammarano replied: “You can’t enforce this enough for us. Strict is how people unfortunately are going to learn.”

The other part of the campaign is education. That will come through various means, including pedestrian safety signs at the train station and on the sides of buses running through the borough, Perlman said. It will include physical materials like posters and tip cards distributed to businesses and borough facilities, he said.

The campaign will have a new component — social media through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Perlman said. Facebook users from Metuchen will start to see pedestrian safety reminders in their news feed in March, Perlman said.

NJTPA also will work with a consultant who will have people on the streets handing out safety literature to pedestrians, as well as filming particular intersections. The filming, which will take place this month and in April, will help the group figure out if pedestrian and motorist behavior actually changes as a result of the campaign. NJTPA will hand over its final report to the borough over the summer, Perlman said.

Borough Councilwoman Dorothy Rasmussen said the education campaign should go beyond just Metuchen residents, and try and reach people who work in surrounding towns. Those are the people who drive through the borough, she said.

“If you are just targeting Metuchen residents, I think you’re missing the boat on who you should be targeting,” Rasmussen said. “If you go to a big place like that and try and get some of their employees engaged and realizing they’re part of the problem but also a part of the solution, maybe we can get some real change.”

Metuchen will kick-off the campaign with a public event. Jason Delia of the borough Traffic and Transportation Committee said the plan is to hold the event Friday, March 4 at 5 p.m. at Borough Hall. The event would include, weather permitting, a walk down Main Street during rush hour to see how pedestrians and motorists behave at certain intersections.

NJTPA is known as a Metropolitan Planning Organization, which are meant to oversee federally funded transportation projects and provide a forum for local and state officials to plan a region’s transit future. Middlesex County’s NJTPA representative is County Freeholder Charles Tomaro, according to the NJTPA website.

 

Commentary: To BID or not to BID?

Jan. 29, 2016: An important meeting is coming up in March that could very well determine the future direction of the downtown district.

Will the future of Main Street be more empty store fronts, or will it be a thriving, busy area full of people with an unlimited number of options for food, drink and entertainment?

With perhaps some poetic license, that is what this comes down to.

A group of volunteers who have worked for many months to research and put together a plan for downtown improvement will make a presentation before borough council in March. Borough Council ultimately must approve the plan.

The plan is to form a downtown management organization, run by an executive director and a board of directors. The annual budget for this organization is estimated at $275,000 a year. The organization would be funded through borough contributions from the sale of the Pearl Street lot, and a funding vehicle called a Business Improvement District (BID). The plan would not require a tax increase, according to the volunteer group. Read here for more info on how this works, and the proposed boundaries of the district.

A big chunk of the budget would pay for salary and administrative costs of the management organization, as well as capital improvements, maintenance, plantings and marketing, among other things.

For the record, I think this is a great idea, at least from what I’ve heard so far. As Councilwoman Allison Inserro said at an informational meeting Tuesday, if we do nothing, nothing will change, and 10 years from now we’ll still be talking about the same thing.

Metuchen’s downtown, at least from my New Resident perspective, seems on the cusp of realizing its full potential that would mean far fewer empty storefronts and a better mix of businesses. And this is the right moment to make a big move, with major developments in the works and an influx of new residents who will be looking for stuff to do downtown.

However, the plan needs to be wrung through public hearings to give every interested resident a voice. Because this plan is one of the more important things we’ll talk about.

The money is my big question. The volunteer group arrived at the $275,000 number after discussions with other communities that have BIDs. Anything less, according to one of the volunteers, would cover overhead and not much else.

A resident at the informational meeting this week brought up an important question: could the proceeds from the sale of the Pearl Street lot be used for something else?

I immediately thought of the firehouse. The borough desperately needs a new one, and plans are in place to find a location. Maybe the proceeds from the Pearl Street lot sale should be used to help fund a new firehouse to help defray the costs.

This is the kind of question that needs to be — and will be — hashed out at upcoming public hearings. Why is the borough’s money better used to launch and operate the BID, rather than something else?

My thought is, funding the BID is an investment in the future of this town, because as the business district rises, so do property values (presumably); as Metuchen’s profile rises, as new businesses come into town, as more people spend money here, as prosperity expands, we all, as residents, benefit.

And the evidence is clear, this has worked in other towns. At the informational meeting, the volunteer group showed a video about Montclair, which launched its BID in 2002 and has now become a destination for people all over the area. One of the keys to Montclair’s evolution was the establishment of a downtown management organization to oversee the district. Other towns that have successfully implemented this process include Cranford, Somerville and Red Bank.

The path forward is open, we just need to make sure everyone gets their say.

Editor’s Note: Usually we here at Triple B try and stay as neutral and objective as possible in our articles. Occasionally we’ll write up an opinion piece, like the above, which is full of ranting and pontificating. Feel free to object, disagree, call me an idiot or verbally applaud. Triple B is all about feedback so make your voice heard.