The Nutley Board of Commissioners this week agreed to appoint members to an Economic Development Advisory Committee tasked with enticing businesses and families to come to the township.
Commissioner Thomas Evans told the board that residents with skills, experience and professional expertise will be asked to recommend ideas about the broader aspects of business and development in Nutley.
"The purpose of establishing the committee is to have a small but inclusive group of folks prepare a report on how to make Nutley a more friendly place for businesses and families," Evans said. "We would decide then which ideas are ultimately feasible, both economically and for other reasons."
As an example Evans said Superintendent of Schools Russell Lazovick would be a good choice, since the schools are a very important factor in attracting both businesses and families to the township.
One idea the committee might explore is creating a website inviting people to make Nutley their business and family destinations, connecting to Facebook and having the website pop up first in a Google computer search, Evans said.
Mayor Alphonse Petracco said he supports the idea 100 percent.
"As a business owner myself, I think this would be a great way to feed ideas into our township," Petracco said.
Commissioner Joseph Scarpelli asked what the committee's authority would be, for example, in hiring professional consultants.
Evans said the committee would have no authority to hire consultants, but would have to request such things through the Department of Revenue and Finance, the department Evans directs.
"We are enacting this by resolution, which has a limited life of one year, as opposed to an ordinance, which is permanent," Evans said.
Township Attorney Kevin Harkins said that the committee "has no statutory authority" because of the limits.
Scarpelli said the committee can also use the existing township professional employees.
"We have Dave Barry to help with zoning issues," Scarpelli said, citing one example.
Once the committee forms, Evans said members will report every 45 to 60 days, and the commissioners will listen and offer feedback.
One area the committee might examine is a parking authority, Evans said.
"We need to see if we have to be more reasonable about parking requirements for new businesses, and even the use of parking meters," he said.
The board agreed to approve the resolution, after assurances that Commissioner Mauro Tucci, absent from the meeting, supported the idea.
The resolution states that the committee will assistance in promoting "the continued improvement, revitalization and development of the township by coordinating efforts to foster a positive economic environment."
The committee "will be comprised of...residents, business owners, commercial property owners, the Board of Education, the Chamber of Commerce and representation from each of the five municipal departments," the resolution states.