The Special Improvement District (SID) held its meeting tonight at the Casano Community Center. After unveiling their new “Welcome To The Roselle Park Special Improvement District”, members of the SID Board discussed new proposals and plans of action. In attendance were David Biagini from FirsTEAManagment – who manages the SID, Michael Pasqua from Hercky Pasqua Herman Advertising, Scott Stanford from Briton-Selg-Stanford Agency, Nicola Crisofaro from Costa’s Restaurant, Casano Community Center director Karen Intile, Code Enforcement Officer Carl Pluchino, 3rd Ward Councilman Modesto Miranda, and Mayor Joseph Accardi.
Displaying one of the 14 new signs which will be displayed at eight locations throughout the Special Improvement District (SID), Mr. Biagini talked about the upcoming membership meeting in June which will include all members of the SID for an annual meeting.
The next order of business was free parking in the SID. The Board was provided a breakdown of parking meter revenues – which averaged $30,000 a year – or $2,500 a month – for all parking meters throughout the borough, by Chief Financial Officer Ken Blum. Being informed that the municipality does not have the resources to cover certain parking meters for the weekend and then uncover them on Monday, the SID decided simply to have free parking on the municipal lots. The next step is to decide how much to reimburse the municipality for those spaces and whether to have the free parking on the weekends or during the week. As a way to alleviate the reimbursement, Mayor Accardi mentioned that free parking on Saturday at Michael Mauri Park for the Roselle Park Post Office was already being discussed by the municipality. This could lessen the amount to be paid by the SID.
The meeting progressed with Mr. Biagini informing the Board that the idea to have a concierge service at the Roselle Park train station – where residents would place orders in the morning from businesses around town and then have them ready to be picked up when they came home on the train – was not going to be pursued due to New Jersey Transit, according to Mr. Biagini, requiring a $6,000,000 liability coverage for any person or organization using the train station.
Programs in coordination with the Casano Center were also discussed, with the SID agreeing to donate two trophies to be given at each one of the two Cruising Night Car Shows in town. Ms. Intile mentioned that Mulligan’s Pub and Costa’s Restaurant are in the process of applying for food permits which would allow for the serving of food outside each establishment during the car show in June. There was a suggestion at a previous meeting to apply for an alcohol permit but the cost and regulations needed were too prohibitive at this time. Additionally, Ms. Intile stated that the food permit could be used if either establishment wanted to have tables outside during the summer months.
Discussion turned to whether or not the SID 3% special assessment should have its formula changed. Currently businesses in the SID, which span from Walnut Avenue to Locust Avenue on Westfield Avenue and on Chestnut Street from Westfield Avenue to Clay Avenue, pay an additional 3% assessment above their property taxes to provide the SID with funds to implement plans. Due to the large number of tax appeals this year, around 10 of which are from businesses in the SID, the moneys collected for the year will decrease if those appeals are successful. A preliminary recommendation was made to have a latitude adjustment where businesses would pay the same amount as last year’s assessment.
There was talk of having planters in the downtown district and Mr. Pasqua stated that in order to improve things permanently, the SID needs to get to the root cause of the problem which includes having businesses clean up in front of their establishments. The Code Enforcement Officer, Carl Pluchino, stated that he attempts to notify businesses of ordinances that require them to have a clean presentable area in front of their businesses without having to impose fines on them. The SID stated that perhaps the time has come to begin enforcing the ordinances to have the downtown look as presentable as possible for the benefit of all. Mr. Pluchino stated he would begin revisiting areas to see how issues could be resolved.
As an outlook to the future, the SID stated they would like to approach council at some point in the near future to expand the area covered by the SID to begin including other businesses in town.
The Special Improvement District will have a table at the June Cruising Night Car Show to be available to residents in order to answer questions and provide information on their plans for the downtown district.