Calling Merck's announcement that it will close its Summit campus, "a blow to the city," Summit Mayor Ellen Dickson said Tuesday she is confident the site, which includes 88 acres, several buildings and a parking garage, will not remain empty for long.
At Tuesday's regular meeting of the Summit Common Council, Council President Richard Madden said he, Dickson and city business administrator Christopher Cotter will meet with Merck today and hope to have "more to report" by the weekend.
Madden asked that if anyone in the viewing public know of a potential buyer for the site they contact the council.
Dickson said the news, which she received at 8 a.m. Tuesday, came as "quite a shock," adding that Merck paid the city of Summit $9 million in taxes annually. The pharmaceutical company will remain at the Summit campus through 2014 and is expected to exit in 2015.
Republican Council candidate Michael McTernan praised the council and said that receiving a "nasty curveball" is much easier to deal with when the city's "fiscal house in order." Both he and fellow candidate Sandra Lizza urged the council to adopt a more long-term view when considering budget plans in light of the uncertainty Summit could face over the next several years.
Lizza advocated for looking at multiple types of budgets, which would allow for picking and choosing items.
Cotter announced a goal-setting meeting for 2014 will be held on Oct. 29 in the Whitman Room at City Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.