It’s Election Day in Morristown–for downtown businesses

Morristown Partnership LOGO 2017
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There are no gaudy signs, no campaign buttons or glossy mailings, to indicate that Monday is Election Day in Morristown.

In fact, it’s a hot race: 14 people are vying for five seats.

But don’t drop everything and dash to the polls. Unless you own a downtown property or business, you can’t vote.

The race is for unpaid three-year terms on the board of the Morristown Partnership.

Created in 1994, the Partnership oversees Morristown’s Special Improvement District — the town’s central business area.

The Partnership’s mission includes downtown revitalization, general upkeep and beautification, gathering of statistical data, recruitment of businesses, and community relations, according to its website.

Trustees “are our governing body,” said Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Wehring. “They bring ideas to the table, are involved in our general governance and have fiduciary responsibility for the organization. They connect our staff and constituents with each other.”

About half of the Partnership’s  $1.2 million budget comes from fees assessed to businesses and properties within this zone– approximately 480 commercial property owners and 1200 businesses are constituents, Wehring said.

The organization also derives revenue from sponsorships and Partnership events, such as its fall- and Christmas festivals on the Morristown Green and the Morristown Farmers Market.

Restaurant Week and Meet Me in Morristown also are Partnership ventures.

Ballots from eligible business- and property owners or their designees are due at the Partnership’s 14 Maple Ave. office by 5 pm on April 30, 2018.

Three incumbents are running: Biagio Scotto of the Villa Restaurant Group; Jeff Babcock, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Morristown; and John Walsh of the Wealth Advisory Group.

Other candidates include Paul Miller, co-owner of Just Jersey and a former employee of and consultant to the Partnership, where he contributed to development of the Farmers Market and the Morristown Festival on the Green. Miller also has worked in town hall, and served in various roles with Morristown One Community, Sustainable Morristown and Morris County Tourism Bureau. If elected, he pledges to help improve communications with Partnership staff and constituents.

Amanda Smith opened the Bubba Rose Biscuit Co. on South Street last year at age 26. “My hope with this position is to offer a fresh perspective on the direction the town is heading and to be a voice for the newest business owners that are frequently making their way into Morristown,” Smith says on the Partnership website.

Debbie Weinstein, owner of South Street Yoga and Nutrition, moved to Morristown from New York City “kicking and screaming” in 1994, expecting to stay six months. “Fast forward 24 years and I love calling Morristown my home. We chose Morristown
because of its diversity and stayed during its tougher times because we always believed its potential,” says the former marketing and advertising specialist.

Ronnie Glomb, a retired career fireman, is CEO of Your Town Realty. He also serves on the NJ Metropolitan Builders Association, and wants to use his marketing experience “to provide a better consumer experience for all of us” in Morristown. Running

Kevin Fletcher, owner of PMI Prime Property Services, says his family loves that “Morristown is such a diverse town from a cultural and business perspective. It truly is a
melting pot of so many cultures and backgrounds…”  The EMS volunteer says he’s running “in order to keep Morristown vibrant with continued growth and prosperity for
everyone.”

Also in the running:  Irene Leavy, owner of the b.jones Organic Space; Emma Harvey, co-owner of Pinot’s Palette; Ori Kasneci of the Pomodoro Ristorante & Pizzeria; Janis DeVito of West End Residential; attorney Charles V. Bonin; and Nestor F. Bedoya of Chef Fredy’s Table.

The board consists of 17 trustees, who include a mayoral appointee (Dick Tighe) and a council appointee (Councilman Michael Elms). Frank Vitolo is board president.

Stepping down are incumbents Matt O’Donnell, an attorney; and Richard Smith, who has retired from his surveying business in town, Wehring said.

This updated version of the story adds information from Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Wehring.

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