Sponsored by the Garden State Initiative, a non-partisan think tank, Regina Egea, CEO and chair of the Garden State Initiative, said the idea behind the forum was to help individuals engage at the local level.
“We all want a better New Jersey and a better Fair Lawn,” Egea said. “There are examples of other states, other localities doing things that we might want to emulate.”
Egea noted the amount of paperwork required to start a business in New Jersey compared to Virginia and North Carolina.
“In Virginia, there are seven pages to complete to apply to a business through the state,” she said. “In North Carolina, it’s four pages. Do you know how many there are in New Jersey?”
After a moment’s pause, Egea replied, “56.”
Egea said she understands that people may feel somewhat powerless to change things from their locality, but “change begins and can begin locally”.
Suggesting that we need to start asking different questions, Egea said businesses are one thing, but keeping and attracting residents to the state is another.
“What can we do here to attract residents?” she said. “It’s about our state and local leaders saying, hey, I’m going to work with you. Reducing the cost of moving here is one idea, but there are probably many more.”
Egea said it is also about telling elected officials what you want.
“Tell them what you want and ask the local leaders where they are,” she said. “Hold their feet to the fire. “
Another panelist, Abigail Katznelson, president of the Fair Lawn Economic Development Corporation and co-founder and partner of the Legacy Development Group, led the group to the finish line of guidelines for local residential and commercial development. She led EDC throughout the past year in talks to help companies go to market and apply for a Main Street grant.
EDC Senior Fellow Allen Weitzman is a retired Fair Lawn architect who understands how attractive residential and commercial developments can help a municipality grow and maintain a stable and stable tax base.
Mayor Kurt Peluso, the third local panelist, chats with his constituents weekly on Facebook Live sessions, answering questions in a comfortable online environment. It is one of its ways of communicating and listening to residents.
When asked to attend the Economic Forum, Peluso said, “Great, I’m always up for talking about Fair Lawn.”
Tune the zoom for what promises to be an engaging and lively discussion.