Board of commissioners finalizes Partnership for Haddonfield budget

Key step toward 2021 municipal plan passage is reached.

During a brief online meeting on July 15, the borough’s board of commissioners authorized the amendment and adoption of the Partnership for Haddonfield’s 2021 budget, a significant step prior to finalization of the year’s municipal operating costs. 

Per Mayor Colleen Bianco Bezich, who serves on the organization’s board of trustees, the total amount of both revenue and expenses approved was $282,000. As it is each year, the latest budget is primarily funded from the special assessment levied on land in the borough’s downtown commercial district. 

“I want to give appreciation to Susan (Hodges) and all the members of the Partnership board,” the mayor noted. “And you’ll notice in the revenue we do not anticipate any income from the craft and fine arts festival.

“Unfortunately, the impact of COVID on Renaissance craftables and our own downtown  meant that last year and this year, that source of revenue is not there,” Bianco Bezich  added.

One added source of money is a $2,000 COVID-19 grant. Two of the largest expenditures arose from administrative costs ($102,115) as well as marketing and public relations ($101,000). In terms of expenses, partnership chair Hodges revealed there were some tweaks made based on personnel issues. 

“We are now looking to hire an executive director,” she noted. “That will be a new position. And that might mean, in the future, we’ll have to come back to you for some different changes, depending on what the person hired to be the executive director has the abilities to do.”

Hodges revealed that interviews for the executive director position were expected to begin the week of July 19. She also stated that the board is optimistic that whomever is hired will be able to take the new leadership role and run with it. 

Bezich later stated the partnership may have to confer with commissioners regarding financial transfers, or to identify places where money has to be moved given the loss of its retail recruiter and administrative assistant, along with the pending hire of the executive director.

“I want to say thank you to Sharon (Borough Administrator McCullough) for working with Susan and the PFH board members to, despite that loss, make things happen,” she added. “The purpose of this budget, in the last week or two, we’ve revised it … to hopefully account for the majority of that.” 

Commissioners had previously approved an emergency temporary budget allotment of $9,174,891 at its June 22 public session. A public hearing on the organization’s budget is expected to occur via Zoom at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, with proper notification to follow.