Canan Tasci, Staff Writer
Created: 10/14/2010 06:30:26 PM PDT

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MONTCLAIR – Two incumbents and two newcomers talked about development and finding sources of new city funding at Wednesday evening’s City Council candidate forum.

Incumbents Leonard Paulitz and Bill Ruh and challengers Chris Agrella and Jose Maldonado spoke at City Hall in the forum sponsored by the Montclair Chamber of Commerce and the Community Action Committee.

The candidates were asked what ideas they have to generate revenue in this down economy.

Maldonado proposed that if the city used a private company, then 75 percent of the labor should come from residents.

“That will bring down unemployment in Montclair because the money will stay here so we can generate more taxes,” he said.

Maldonado, a 26-year resident, suggested the Montclair Plaza have entertainment for its shoppers to help generate money.

“I don’t know if it’s a restriction but if you put in a roaming Mariachi band … they can come and enjoy the music and shop,” he said.

Agrella also brought up the mall, criticizing the City Council for not filling the vacant Broadway building. He said other places have received stores like Forever 21 and other business.

“To raise the revenue you have to have something for the people to spend their money on,” he said. “If we’re so business friendly how come this council hasn’t pulled that off?”

Agrella, a self-employed businessman doing a courier service for trade magazines, said money would be generated by adding a grocery store in south Montclair and promoting the business the city already has. He proposed finding out what business the city lacks, what other cities have and pull “some of those businesses” to Montclair.

However, Ruh said while most revenue is derived from sales tax, most items in grocery stores are not taxable, therefore do not bring in much revenue into the city.

“We have been working towards bringing in more revenue into the city with the commercial development in the north Montclair area directly related to the transit center,” he said.

Some of the development will be housing, which brings in property tax into the city, and the development will bring mixed use commercial and office space and the retail which will generate sales tax, said Ruh, a governmental affairs director.

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