Union: In cash-rich state, suppliers seek municipal business

The annual New Jersey League of Municipalities rally brings together elected officials from more than 500 towns and boroughs across the state. It also brings in thousands of companies that want their business.

Possibly the largest in the state, the three-day expo spans a wide range of industries: Need a new car? There are dozens to choose from. …need a new playground or sports field? Got it, too. … interested in infrastructure upgrades? Not only are there dozens of companies looking to get the job done, there are tons of consulting firms ready to help your town get ready.

There are even multiple companies ready to chase away your Canada Goose.

With this in mind, ROI-NJ conducted an informal survey based on the question: With millions of dollars flowing into municipalities from numerous federal grant programs—and soon the federal infrastructure bill—money on the street More and more, are you ready to get excited?

Responses vary – the biggest variables are which towns you do business with and what services you sell. Here are three:

Matt Miller, director of marketing at Sea Girt-based Marturano Recreation Co. – a supplier of parks and recreation equipment in New Jersey and the Northeast – says business is booming.

Miller, who has been with the company for 13 years, said the company’s revenue has greatly exceeded pre-COVID revenue by more than 30%.

“It’s a stark difference,” he said.

Miller credits government funding and the town’s desire to create more inclusive playgrounds.

Marilyn Grabowski, president of Atlantic Infrared, said her asphalt paving business is also growing — despite price increases due to inventory shortages.

That’s how she knows the municipality has the money to work with it, she said.

“Because of higher fuel and asphalt prices, we thought towns and cities would cut some of the projects we bid on 12-18 months ago, but they didn’t,” she said. “We expected a drop, but it didn’t come.”

Grabowski said her business, which took a hit during COVID, is now up 40%.

Andrew Holt, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Suburban Consulting Engineers in Flanders, said the firm had not seen any revenue from grants to municipalities as part of the COVID-19 relief. Significant increase, but he expects more opportunities to come soon.

When the infrastructure bill funding reaches the local level, Holt expects to see an impact.

“That would definitely help,” he said.

And, by that time, SCE — a certified women-owned business — will be ready to take advantage of it. Nicole Brown, client development manager, said the company already offers a tool on its website that matches municipalities with potential funding sources.

“What we’ve done is create a tool where our clients can look at potential funding that might come up in an infrastructure bill,” she said. “So we’re connecting our clients with funding — and talking to them about the process of how to get it.”

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