I plan to help attract new businesses to town and help our current businesses continue to succeed. Taxpayers want to see a return on their investment and that can happen through community beautification projects that will attract new storefronts, homeowners and families to our town.
One of my highest priorities is to help our community come together by enhancing our current traditions like the annual 4th of July parade and developing new events so that neighbors can make connections and build relationships with each other. Being neighborly and creating a strong sense of belonging to our community will make our town stronger. In a world that feels so polarizing and tribal I firmly believe now more than ever our community needs events and traditions — old and new — to help us all invest in the future of our great town.
I think Haddon Heights should thoroughly and carefully explore any opportunities that are advantageous to the financial health and well-being of our town. The terms would need to be favorable to our community before the decision to consolidate resources with neighboring towns is decided.
Haddon Heights is currently making simple improvements in town that can make a major impact. For example, a local organization recently installed large planters along Station Avenue. This beautification project helped spruce up such an important part of town and was celebrated by both community members and business owners on social media. Additional beautification projects, increased community events that will attract more people to town and simply ensuring that our current business owners remain successful can help to entice new business owners to open their storefront in Haddon Heights.
1. Rebuilding our infrastructure
• Over the past few years our infrastructure has declined. The time is now to address these issues. In order to reduce the impact on tax payers we will search out available grants and additional revenue streams to fund these projects.
2. Improving our business corridors
• Our downtown area is unique compared to other towns in our area. We’ll provide our merchants and business association the tools that they need to improve our downtown area and Help Heights Thrive.
First and foremost, would be our Covid 19 recovery. Most of our small businesses have been deemed non essential and may not recover. Small business will need our help to rebuild whether it be lifting bothersome restrictions or providing marketing assistance.
With the exception of policing, shared services can work with as long as there is a true sharing of services which would include asset utilization and elimination of redundant services.
As someone who has already brought small business to town, I already have more ideas, the key is bringing unique businesses to the right location to allow all of our businesses to grow and increase our rateables.
1) Bringing our local businesses back to life. I walk through two of our town's main roads almost every day with my dog: White Horse Pike and Station Avenue. Nothing bothers me more than seeing empty storefronts scattering the landscape. Now, due to the pandemic, I fear there may be even more empty businesses in our town soon. I will prioritize doing anything we can to help these small businesses thrive, from proactive incentives to reduced red tape. Whatever we can do to keep main street alive.
2) Infrastructure. Finding grants or public-private partnerships would be an ideal way to improve the quality of our infrastructure, which is need of some TLC.
Community recovery in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown. I saw this town rally around our first responders and our businesses in such an inspiring way. I want to help ensure we continue to stick together during the recovery in the same way we did to flatten the curve.
Whether taking proactive measures to help or cutting red tape, I want to Help Heights Thrive. And folks in government need to understand that often government is not the answer! As one example of what this town is capable of: a local family started a charity to buy meals from local businesses to feed workers on our medical frontlines. What a great symbol of the values of our wonderful town. Let's amplify these positive voices and continue building this community.
Aside from the police department, shared services could be a great opportunity to reduce costs to taxpayers without asking them to sacrifice quality of their services. Of course, this would require a case-by-case analysis, and I would not support blanket sharing of services.
I want to make this town as attractive a place as possible for businesses. Promoting the businesses through resources within the town, reducing red tape, and offering incentives could all be worthwhile considerations. But I would also want to ensure any businesses that come to town appreciate the wonderful community we have built here, and are excited about the opportunity to be part of it.
Funding infrastructure improvements, handling increasing legacy costs, & building a surplus are top priorities for the municipal budget. Implementing a capital improvement plan & preventative maintenance, and locating viable alternative funding sources & adjusting existing obligations to what is affordable and sustainable (without eviscerating benefits) will be necessary to address the first two priorities. Building a surplus, although the most difficult priority, is also the most essential, especially due to the pandemic & the inevitable future fallout with funding. Minimizing the impact on taxpayers requires utilizing the existing budget and formulating durable financial planning while exploring financing opportunities & possible grants.
Managing the budget will be paramount to the town's long-term objectives. The town's taxes are funded primarily by its residents, since the town's commercial footprint is rather small. Increased economic development and economic stimulus will yield increased revenues. In addition, 25% of the taxes levied go to Camden County. In recent years, the town's Council has been successful in seeing a return investment on those funds, especially in the area of the town’s parks and recreation, such as the improvements to the Norcross-McLaughlin Memorial Dell. Expanding the town's commercial base while seeking continued County financial support and other potential sources of funding will be vital to maximizing the budget and its impact upon the town.
Shared services are a necessary reality in this area. There are 37 municipalities in Camden County and approximately 500,000 residents; however, 4 or 5 of the County's municipalities comprise the majority of said residents. The present economic realities of maxed budgets and dwindling funds require towns to take advantage of opportunities to share resources. The shared service agreement for Public Works between Haddon Heights and Audubon already has proven successful. The financial benefits of these agreements cannot be undervalued. At the same time, preserving the accessibility and quality of services and maintaining the individual identity of the town cannot be ignored. With the right shared services in place, a balance can be achieved.
Haddon Heights is a predominantly residential town. However, focusing on the redevelopment of the existing commercial areas, beyond just the historical downtown, will be the best way to attract different types of businesses. In addition, customers drive business. Maintaining the quality of town services and schools will attract young, growing families. Creating and maintaining this demographic will be most attractive to potential businesses. Finally, supporting the town’s existing businesses and landlords is critical. Helping landlords fill their vacancies and promoting the business community beyond the town’s borders will foster growth and success.