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Hopatcong to Focus on Economic Development

Mayor says creating a committee charged with developing borough business is in the works.

Hopatcong Mayor Sylvia Petillo said Saturday she's planning organizing an economic development and revitalization committee to help grow business in the borough.

The committee would be comprised of council members and residents, Petillo said. Councilmen Howard Baker and Michael Francis are expected to be on the committee, she said.

"It would be business owners, residents—we would take ideas from all those interested in the town and in the county," Petillo said.

Petillo said the committee would focus on short-term and long-term economic planning. Jumpstarting the borough's business climate won't happen overnight, though, she said.

"It's going to take time," Petillo said. "It's not something we're looking at for only now, but as how you're going to use your land and how you're going to bring economic development in for the future. You're looking five, 10 years out."

Petillo said the borough would first consult with the county about economic development and hammer out several issues, including whether to conform to the Highlands regional master plan, before creating the committee. Revitalizing the River Styx area would be among the committee's many goals, she said.

Petillo said Hopatcong's economy was already looking up, citing the opening of and a number of business approvals the borough has recently granted.

"People are starting to put money into their own properties to restore the image of the town," she said.

Roll Back Our Tax July 12, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Warren.....there will never be "smaller government, less taxes and less spending" here in Hopatcong. The borough is broke. Yet we keep spending and increases taxes 5-6%/year like it's still 2003. Many members of my RBOT group believe the Mayor and others have a "personal agenda". I don't want to get into too much detail here but we believe there's a "hidden agenda" with the merging of the Planning and Zoning Boards. Only with a full investigation will the truth be discovered. But the complaint my group filed against the Mayor (see last 3 attachments), in which the Department of Community Affairs issued a Notice of Violation to the Mayor for "misuse of borough funds" is being contested by the Mayor. She put that on the record at the Council meeting last night. According to NJSA 40A:9-22 (c) "No local government officers or employees shall use or attempt to use his/her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or advantages for himself or others". My only question at this point is "will she use Borough Attorney Ursin to represent her"? She said last night "she hasn't decided yet".
The Watcher July 12, 2012 at 02:31 PM
RBOT how can the mayor use the borough attorney on our dime if it's a violation for misuse of borough funds? As for NJSA 40A:9-22 does that cover appointing themselves (and friends) to all the boards/committees giving them unfair advantage in whatever ordinances they want to push through (not to mention owed votes at election time). Warren, we had two challengers in the primary now it's time to vote the person, not the party new people, new ideas. Not all R's nor all D's believe in the party line, or vote party lines. How many on the council were D but put an R after their name to get elected? Maybe you should take the time to find that out you might be surprised. Instead of smaller government they are increasing it and spending more. I'm told the combined boards have $25,000.00 more allocated to it than the two separate boards, how is that the cost savings the mayor and council claimed? Mr. Ursin was also appointed as the BOH attorney and from what RBOT says he charges more than other lawyers. What happened to the checks and balances?
Michele Guttenberger July 12, 2012 at 06:15 PM
RBOT - I think this was all a great performance by our Mayor. The Mayor's development plans are the visions of the major landholders in this town. The Offshore entity that controls Hudson Farms has a elite sporting club on this Open Space Farmland. They own vast acres of Hopatcong Property. IMHO Their plan is whatever the big landholders wants Hopatcong to be and that may be a large recreational area for elite sporting clubs with tax exemptions. Don't think this group wants housing developments. The Mayor does not take any direction from the taxpayer nor does she need to. We have given her absolute control. And she can do whatever she pleases. She was just re-elected and has 3 1/2 years to do whatever she wants and YOU cannot stop her plans for Hopatcong which may not be your vision. Her major concern is with the bond, and tax lien holders and large landholders who throw in tax deductible donation money to have sway in having all their resolutions passed. The taxpayer needs are not important if it is not election time. We are just here to pay all the municipal bills.There is no budget to maintain infrastructure that has to be done with grant money, donation and settlement money. They spent all your tax $$ on government and administration, and paying off bond debts and tax lien certificate holders.
Roll Back Our Tax July 27, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Béla Szigethy who co-owns http://www.riversidecompany.com/ plus property in Jefferson Township (Alice's Restaurant, built the putt putt, refurbished Main Lake Market). He pays plenty of property taxes on those businesses. Also, he's dedicated to improving the lake & developing land in Hopatcong for the benefit of ALL residents. http://hopatcong.patch.com/articles/report-man-donates-100k-to-lake-hopatcong "NJ.com reports a Lake Hopatcong summer homeowner donated $100,000 to start the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at preserving the lake...who expects to donate more before the end of 2012, hopes to improve the lake via mapping, weed killing and water-quality testing" On the other hand Hudson Farms owner, multi billionaire Peter Kellogg pays $87,467 in property taxes on ONLY 19 acres in Hopatcong "where his hunting lodge for the ultra wealthy sits", gets a break on his tax assessment at 20% of their assessed value of $4,135,300 on a 1,000 acre plus compound & is incorporated as a tax sheltered business in Bermuda under MMK Reinsurance. What's the community benefit in that? http://njgunforums.com/forum/index.php?/topic/17653-nj-must-reconsider-sussex-county-farms-shooting-preserve/ "The 900-acre site in Byram and Andover is part of a 3,500-acre plot that also extends into Hopatcong and Sparta. The club received its first shooting permit on the Hopatcong side in 2000, Ursin said". BTW...Ursin represents Hopatcong borough as well as Hudson Farms.
Roll Back Our Tax March 25, 2014 at 07:48 PM
I guess that economic stimulus was put on hold when the Mayor thought she could make up for lost revenue when the tax reassessment took effect. What happened? Here's what your reassessment got you...more foreclosures. http://hopatcong-sparta.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/foreclosures-in-hopatcong

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