The Rutherford Downtown Partnership is governed by a Board of Trustees. The fifteen members of the Board include 5 property owners and 5 business owners elected by the membership, 3 residents of the Borough who are appointed by the Mayor and Council, a representative of the Rutherford Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Mayor and Council. Elected Board members serve two year terms. The RDP Board of Trustees meets monthly, with separate Committee meetings during each month to determine what activities the RDP will carry out.
Property owners in the core area of the district are charged a special assessment (over and beyond their regular property taxes). This special assessment is equal to 6% of the assessed value of the commercial space in the building and the assessed value of the land. Property owners in the non-core area of the district (outlying area) are not charged the special assessment, but are also not eligible for façade grants issued by the Partnership. Business owners in both the core and non-core parts of the district pay an annual business license fee to the Borough, based on the square footage of their space. Business licenses are $150, $200, or $250 for space up to 1500 sq. ft, 1501-3000 sq. ft, and over 3000 sq. ft respectively.
All monies from the special assessments and business license fees are turned over to the Rutherford Downtown Partnership to enable the organization to carry on its various functions
The Rutherford Downtown Partnership worked with the Borough in the initial development of the design for upgraded sidewalks, lampposts, trees and garbage cans in the downtown. The actual construction work was paid for by state grants received by the Borough. The Partnership continues to work to enhance the overall look of the downtown area including: hiring sidewalk sweepers to assist business owners on the weekends, planting flowers in each of the tree pits, funding the Rutherford signs in traffic circle at the train station, paying for new garbage cans for the Williams Plaza area, and cigarette disposal urns for key areas in the downtown.
The RDP also has established a set of regulations for façade improvements in the downtown district. In cooperation with the Borough's Building Dept., the RDP reviews all proposals for changes to the exterior of buildings in the district (including new signs, awnings, and painting), determines whether they are accordance with the approved streetscape regulations, and ensures that the work is done according to the approved plans.
The Partnership also provides members in good standing with façade grants, or sign and awning grants. Once a project is approved, constructed and paid for a business can be eligible to receive a matching grant for the work up to certain dollar limits.
Promotions and Events
The RDP works to create and build events and other promotional activities that will draw people to the downtown district. Activities have included: The Rutherford Farmers' Market, The Taste of Rutherford, The Hamiltonian Parade and Festal, late night shopping and free gift wrapping for the Holidays, The Shop Rutherford Gift Certificate Program, postcard campaigns to encourage people to visit various types of businesses, publishing of the Business Directory, . In addition, the RDP organizes the Labor Day Street Fair and the Holiday Festival, The Labor Day Street Fair drew over 40,000 people to the downtown commercial district during this 2010 once day event.
The RDP organizes Keep Rutherford Clean Day, as a means to encourage local residents to help keep the downtown area free of litter. This program includes hosting a poster drawing contest for the event for elementary school children, and an organizing contest for high school students. The RDP works with the Rutherford Garden Club and the Board of Aesthetic Review to make Keep Rutherford Clean Day a successful community-wide event. The RDP also hires a sidewalk sweeper to help business owners year round to keep their sidewalks free of litter on the weekends
The Rutherford Downtown Partnership has several Committees that review and plan initiatives and make recommendations to the full Board of Trustees. These committees include:
The Streetscape Committee - reviews applications from landlords and business owners for changes to facades, signs and awnings of commercial buildings in the RDP district, advises applicants of ways in which applications are not in accordance with the Borough’s Streetscape Guidelines, forwards applications to the RDP Board for review and approval, and reviews the procedures for Streetscape application process as needed. The Streetscape Committee meets twice per month.
The Marketing Committee - develops the plans for the marketing of the district to customers and to prospective businesses, presents those plans to the Board of Trustees for approval, and assists with the implementation of the approved plans. The Marketing Committee has several meetings per month to develop the plans for several large downtown events scheduled throughout the year
The By Laws Committee - reviews the By Laws and makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees for any needed changes to them. The By Laws Committee meets on an as needed basis, as issues related to the bylaws arise.
The Finance Committee - reviews the finances of the RDP and the fiscal policy on a regular basis. This committee also reviews possible sources for additional funds that may be necessary to implement the programs of the RDP.
The Maintenance Committee - reviews the requirements for and ways in which the physical maintenance of the sidewalks and common areas of the downtown district can be maintained, and makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees on such maintenance.
The Elections Committee - works to identify candidates for Board positions and presents those candidates to the board of Trustees prior to the call of each election.
All meetings are open to the public and individuals interested in helping and serving on these committees are encouraged to contact our office at 201-939-1670 to discuss your interests and identify the next meeting time for specific committees.