Meet the Mayor Discussion & PhotosPosted on April 18, 2018
Mayor Mark Conforti, Deputy Mayor Christine Madrid, Township Administrator Donato Nieman and other officials and staff were joined by a vibrant group of Montgomery business persons for breakfast and a conversation about Township government at work and to discuss any and all matters “Montgomery”.
Business & Municipal Leaders Gather for “State of Montgomery” Discussion
At this year’s “Meet the Mayor” Breakfast, Mayor Mark Conforti and Deputy Mayor Christine Madrid were joined by a dynamic group of Montgomery business leaders for a conversation about Township government at work, discussing any and all matters “Montgomery”.
Montgomery Business Association President Cory Wingerter opened the meeting by introducing attendees to Township officials and MBA Board members. In addition to the mayor and deputy mayor, municipal government staff included Administrator Donato Nieman, CFO Michael Pitts, Planning Director Lori Savron, Zoning Officer Joe Palmer, and Community Information Officer Tamara Garaffa.
Mayor Mark Conforti gave an overview of the “State of the Township” before introducing administrative and planning staff to speak on specific topics, such as budget and services, current development in town, and plans for the Township Municipal Building.
“We are here to ensure that our residents have the services they need and that our local businesses have every opportunity to flourish,” the mayor said.
Planning Director Lori Savron gave an overview of several commercial projects being constructed or in planning phases. These include the residential and mixed use developments located next to Pike Run; “Montgomery Promenade” by the airport; plus “Village Walk”, new mixed use shops which include a revamp of the existing Village Shopper I & II sections. She announced that a new section of the Township website will provide the public with an overview of these projects:
Mr. Nieman spoke about the Township’s purchase of the ConvaTec property at the northwest corner of Rt. 206 & Orchard Road. This property was a perfect target for high density residential development and the Township saw an opportunity to eliminate that possibility. By working with Somerset County and their AAA bond rating in making the purchase, the Township saved considerably on the leveraging.
The Administrator explained that this purchase will also help address the tremendous need for adequate office space for municipal employees, especially for the Police Department which has very cramped space. The current municipal building is antiquated and undersized and expansion is constrained by surrounding environmentally-restricted areas.
Mayor Conforti and Chief Financial Officer Mike Pitts fielded financial questions. One question was how the new developments will impact Montgomery’s tax base and subsequently property taxes. Mr. Pitts said it is important to build the tax base and that projections are positive. Sewer service rates were also discussed. Montgomery is consolidating two of its smaller plants into another plant, to increase efficiencies and reduce the cost of operation.
Zoning Officer Joe Palmer answered questions about commercial signs. He said anyone having questions about what can be constructed on a vacant parcel, such as its permitted use, lot coverage, and set-back requirements, should contact him any time.
Finally, Deputy Mayor Christine Madrid announced for the first time that Montgomery is developing a ‘Shop Montgomery’ initiative. Once implemented, residents could get a card and save a certain percentage off their property tax due, when they buy from a participating merchant in town. Renters could also participate for cash back.
“The program would foster new and increased purchases, helping businesses within the Township and also offer a great incentive to residents when they shop. Montgomery municipal government is always looking for new ways to support its businesses and its residents. This is one more way we can do that,” said Deputy Mayor Madrid