In a bid to position New Milford as a sought-after destination for the film industry, the Borough Council recently delved into the “Film Ready Community” initiative. This plan seeks to draw film productions from global hubs like Hollywood, New York, and Toronto to the borough, potentially boosting the local economy and raising the town’s profile.
At the heart of the discussion was the initiative’s main objective: making New Milford attractive to filmmakers. To achieve this, the council highlighted several steps, including attending relevant workshops, designating a liaison who’s well-versed in community affairs, and establishing a committee to pinpoint 15 or more potential filming locations in the borough. The council also discussed the need to list local resources crucial for movie sets.
The council, which included members Randi Duffie, Hedy Grant, Ira Grotsky, Lisa Sandhusen, Matthew Seymour, and Thea Sirocchi-Hurley, led by Mayor Michael Putrino, addressed the potential of collaboration with neighboring towns to maximize the borough’s appeal. “I don’t think it needs to necessarily be limited to Milford,” one speaker noted, emphasizing the broader benefits of inter-town cooperation.
In connection to this initiative, there was a revisit of an existing film ordinance, in place for over a decade. While some council members believed in relaxing certain regulations to lure more filmmakers, others defended the current rules. The consensus was that the existing ordinance needed tweaks to align with the new initiative’s goals.
The council also underscored the indirect benefits of becoming a film hub. Beyond permit fees, the local economy stands to gain from increased patronage to local businesses, particularly restaurants and caterers. To ensure fairness, there were talks of forming a committee to select which eateries would be promoted.
Other significant topics addressed during the meeting included a proclamation by Mayor Michael Putrino declaring October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, emphasizing early detection and treatment. The council also reviewed several ordinances, including one appropriating $50,000 for a police department SUV, another revising the promotion waiting list for the police department, and a third ordinance aimed at rectifying a section inconsistent with the New Jersey Elections Transparency Act.
The mayor also highlighted an upcoming “Pick a Pumpkin Patch” event scheduled for October 21st on the Borough Hall’s front lawn, promising fun with pumpkin decorations. There was also a positive update on the success of a recent library book sale and an acknowledgment of a writer chronicling New Milford’s history.
Before concluding, Mayor Putrino extended his gratitude to local departments for their dedication, especially during recent flood watches, emphasizing the challenges of high reservoir levels and forthcoming storms.