JCP&L Promises Changes for Hopatcong
Thursday, September 6, 2012 • 1:57pm
HOPATCONG, NJ – Borough residents may lose electrical service in future storms, but the way they learn about the duration of these outages will be very different than it was in 2011.
John Anderson of Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) was a surprise guest at the borough council meeting Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Anderson is area manager for the power company. He acknowledged the criticism directed at his firm after Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm last year. He said JCP&L’s practice was to alert areas by zip code, which does not work in municipalities like Hopatcong, served by more than one post office. He also said notifications were often by fax. From now on, notifications will be by smart phone app, Facebook and Twitter.
He also said JCP&L entered into a partnership with Raritan Valley Community College in North Branch for training of new linemen.
Another problem Hopatcong has with the power company is landscaping around the substation.
Anderson admitted JCP&L has not kept up with the streetscape upgrades, but he said several trees were planted on the post office side of the substation and they will go a long way toward improving the look.
Following agenda items, the council voted down the original deer management ordinance proposed last month.
Mayor Sylvia Petillo explained although the council worked with the state Division of Fish and Wildlife to draft the first ordinance, a subsequent meeting with the state agency resulted in a few changes.
After voting down the first deer ordinance, council introduced a slightly amended ordinance.
The public hearing will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 19 and representatives of Fish and Wildlife will present a PowerPoint to illustrate the deer management practices it sanctions.
Resident Joe Bongiorno asked if the ordinance will address deer who congregate on small parcels of land such as in Elba Point or Wildwood Shores.
"The ordinance seems to center on borough property, we have small areas of deer herds," he said.
Petillo said the borough can only allow hunting on public land, such as in the western section of the borough and off Maxim Drive. Councilman Michael Francis suggested the leaders of the homeowners associations in those neighborhoods look into the possibility of allowing bow hunting on a limited scale. He said other municipalities successfully allow hunting, but not with firearms, in selected small open areas. He suggested they work with United Bow Hunters.
Bongiorno said illegal hunting is happening now. He said he has heard a shotgun in the middle of the night and called the police who did not respond.
He also said deer turn up on the beaches, even in Elba Point, where they have to jump a six-foot fence, or swim to get to the beach.
Francis said hunting is part of a larger plan for deer management. He noted birth control programs are expensive and seem to annoy the deer since the same deer must be tranquilized and injected twice in a year.
"As for trapping, where do you put them?" he asked. "That's not an easy answer."
The council and Bongiorno agreed the twin problems of Lyme Disease from deer ticks and car-deer collisions make the deer abatement program necessary.
The ordinance will also prohibit feeding deer. Bongiorno said he always assumed it was illegal, although he knows some people do it.
Petillo said the leaders and residents of Wildwood Shores and Elba Point should come to the next council meeting and also meeting with council members or the mayor on a smaller scale if they choose to try to get a handle on the deer problem.