Members of the West Paterson Boys & Girls Club voted Wednesday night, June 12, at a special meeting on whether or not to merge with the Borough of Woodland Park. While the vote was 24-24, according to Robert's Rules of Order, procedures which are part of the club's bylaws, a tie vote results in a loss. Prior to the vote, questions asked at the June 6 regular meeting, or submitted via electronically, were addressed and answered prior to the vote by Mayor Keith Kazmark.
"We opened up this vote to the membership because we, as a board, felt that this impacts more than just seven people," Boys & Girls Club President Thomas Bolen said.
"Tonight, the West Paterson Boys & Girls membership, in a tie vote, elected not to merge their programs under the umbrella of the town," Mayor Kazmark said. "I want to personally thank the membership for the opportunity to present an alternate way of providing youth sports in Woodland Park and for holding tonight’s vote. The Mayor and Council will continue to support the Club under the current structure as we move forward together. Again, thanks to all those who listened and participated in this process.”
The Mayor and the Borough Council, at the May 1 meeting, presented a proposal to merge the Club under the Borough. The plan included hiring a full-time Recreation Director to manage programs, parks, open space and activities and forming a seven-member Recreation Board which would help set policy and guide staff.
Kazmark outlined the current challenges the Club faces including membership and participation, declining volunteerism, competition for fundraising dollars, and competing programs and activities.
Ongoing concerns include the ability to field teams, a lack of pre-set schedules, last minute scheduling, conflicts with events sponsored by the town and other organizations, and the need to recruit new people.
The Club was established in 1952. A usage agreement was agreed to between the Borough and the Club in 1981. The Borough made a $70,000 payment to assume 50% ownership of the building at 8 Memorial Dr.
Part of the merger plan would have included a potential bond referendum to raise and expand the Club' facility. However, this is not possible unless the Borough owns the building.