Tuesday Council Meeting also Covers Police Vehicles, Possible Senior Housing Bond Refinance and Post Sandy Cleanup issues
Thursday, March 7, 2013 • 3:22pm
SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – After the issues surrounding the Special Improvement District were aired at Tuesday’s Council meeting, several other major issues were discussed, including the need for more police vehicles, the pros and cons of refinancing the Bond issue for the Senior Housing Authority and post hurricane clean up.
Police Chief Brian Mahoney and Town Manager Henry Underhill presented the concepts and numbers concerning the need for additional vehicles. “In the past, we reluctantly agreed to two new vehicles a year,” said Chief Mahoney. “This is why vehicle maintenance has skyrocketed, because we have to put band aids on to keep them going. Two of our front line vehicles are five years old.”
Chief Mahoney further illustrated the point by sharing that the newer vehicles only required a few hundred dollars of maintenance each year, while the older vehicles required thousands of dollars to keep them on the road.
The Council agreed that the concept of additional vehicles would need to be addressed in the current budget.
The Town Manager then presented a report showing how Scotch Plains “stacked up” in regards to risk assessment when it comes to the response times of the Fire Department, with numbers coming in lower than expected.
As Council members began asking questions, it was determined that the Fire Chief would be invited to the next meeting in order to provide specific answers.
The Town Manager continued with his report on post-Sandy cleanup, showing the most cost effective way to finish off stump clean up, with a contractor quoting the end of March as a completions date.
Deputy Mayor Colleen Gialanella was troubled by the timeline. “We are talking about April for final cleanup for a story that happened in November!” This led to discussions on how to recoup the cost of cleanup from FEMA, and the Council was assured that FEMA would cover the real cost of cleanup of the trees that they had approved for removal.
A Scotch Plains couple presented their case on this subject during the audience comment portion of the meeting. They were given a deadline for having all wood and brush picked up, but they were still waiting on their insurance company to send an adjuster. Mayor Glover assured them that the situation would be investigated and addresses.
The proposed Scotch Plains Senior Housing Bond Refinance was presented by the Chairman of the Housing Authority Board. The report showed how by refinancing, $36,000 could be saved each year of the remaining 10 year term. The Authority is only looking for a “reaffirmation of the current agreement as well as a resolution to agree with the refinance.”
Mayor Glover was full of questions and Councilman Marcus agreed that a full review would need to be completed before approval could be given.