The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Township Committeeman Frank DelCore.
To the editor:
The Republican-led Township Committee has committed itself to promoting and making Hillsborough a great place to both work and live. Despite the claims made in a video being circulated by the opposition party, the Township Committee has been very active in implementing clear steps to make Hillsborough an attractive destination for business.
Many years ago, Hillsborough established the part-time position of Business Advocate, whose responsibilities include attracting new businesses to town and helping those business owners navigate through the planning and construction processes. In 2009, the Township Committee unveiled its Economic Action Plan (EAP) in response to the stagnant national and state economy. The EAP included multiple steps and processes that are feasible, at the local government level, to help our existing local businesses thrive, as well as attract new businesses to town. A key step was making the Business Advocate available on a full time basis to support the needs of our business community. In addition, we established a Regulatory Oversight Working Group that implemented nearly 40 regulatory and process changes, cutting bureaucratic red tape, reducing fees, and streamlining processes for our businesses. The insightful measures and success of the EAP was noticed by others. The Somerset County Planning Board, which gave the plan an “Excellence in Land Use Planning” award in 2009, did so because the regulatory changes helped businesses without impacting residential neighborhoods. The Somerset County Business Partnership selected the plan as a “Best Practices” model for other communities to emulate.
We have also reinvigorated the Township’s Economic and Business Development Commission (EBDC) to help our businesses thrive by improving the networking and communication within the business community. One of the EBDC’s key initiatives in 2012 has been to develop a Tips and Guidelines document to improve the understanding of the planning and construction process so that the business community clearly understands what steps to take, and what to expect, when opening or expanding a business.
The EAP has been quite successful, helping to promote the establishment of hundreds of new business in Hillsborough, resulting in millions of dollars of new ratables since inception. The EAP has also been praised at the state level, as Lieutenant Governor Guadagno touted it as the “right way” for municipalities to be handling the current economic state. We certainly know there is still work to be done until there are no more vacancies in Hillsborough, but our visionary approach has once again put Hillsborough at the forefront of planning in our region.
Unfortunately, the other party offers no plan or vision; rather, in their video, they spout platitudes and cliches such as “think outside the box.” Their plan would involve government acquisition of commercial/retail property, thus cutting it from the township’s ratable base. This would do nothing more than increase taxes on Hillsborough’s residential taxpayers, without assisting our business community in any way.
It is surprising that although our Economic Action Plan has been discussed many times at our Township Committee meetings, and recognized by 2 County organizations and the Lieutenant Governor, our opponents appear to be unaware of it. Perhaps if those who are seeking election to the Township Committee actually spent some time attending township meetings rather than making silly videos, they would understand the significant and successful steps our Township Committee has already taken to improve the business climate in Hillsborough.
Liaison to the EBDC