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Peapack-Gladstone Borough Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The Peapack-Gladstone Borough Council is composed of seven part-time members consisting of the Mayor and six Councilpersons. The two individuals elected for the Borough Council each serve a three-year term.

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  • Amy Dietrich

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    Donald Lemma

Biographical Information

What are your short-term and long-term plans to address the budgetary and economic impacts of COVID-19 in our municipality?

Looking ahead to a post-pandemic future, what are we learning from the impact of the COVID-19 public health crisis on municipal operations that will change how municipalities operate in the future?

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Since property values and their assessed tax valuation are likely to remain constant through the COVID pandemic, the biggest risk from a revenue perspective will be the possible decrease of State aid to municipalities. The State of NJ is making few budget tightening initiatives, so with decreased State tax revenue (income tax, corporate tax, sales tax, etc.) the State would have to look for other areas to reduce expenditures and I’m fearful that reducing municipal funding with be an easy target for the Governor, essentially pushing down the problem from the State to the municipalities.

There are things we can do as a municipality to protect ourselves against this possible outcome including an examination of the Borough’s bonds and long term debt instruments to see if refinancing at a lower interest rate would reap immediate (and pain-free savings), selectively throttling back on larger capital project initiation and expenditures until there is better clarity on the overall economy.
Municipalities tried new approaches to deal with their operations during the pandemic. One item that was successful was holding public meetings via Zoom, Webex, or other electronic systems. The technology made it easier for citizens to view their governing officials (and boards) at work and also facilitated public participation, especially from those residents who would have been precluded from attending a meeting in person due to family, medical, or business obligations. Once meetings are held in person again, I would like to see this technology continue to be utilized so anyone can view the meetings in person or remotely.

Government agencies at every level have expanded the depth and breadth of electronic government services during Covid (self-service licensing, permits, etc.). The result was a more efficient, less expensive system delivered more conveniently to residents. We should keep, and expand, these successful initiatives even after the pandemic finally resolves.