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Montgomery News
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Montgomery Township
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Friday March 23, 2018


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Report from Rocky Hill - June 2017

The big news is that the Rt. 518 Canal Bridge is finally opened, after only 11 months, for what had been promised, a six week job. Thanks, Gov. Christie! Former Mayor Toby Whitlock noted the damage done at the corner as massive trucks have had to cut it making the turn for the detour and hoped that the County would foot the bill for repairs.

At the May 1 Council meeting, the Borough introduced and approved the 2017 Budget. The total is $1.064M, of which $497 will be raised by levy. The local rate is steady, at $0.387/$100.
There were two candidates for the open seat on Council, following the resignation of Former Mayor Jeff Donahue, who was replaced by Council president Phil Kartsonis. His replacement on Borough Council must be from the same party, in this case Independent, and will serve until the November elections are certified by the Borough Clerk. The two candidates for the open seat were Anthony Sciaraffo and Irene Battaglia, who withdraw, citing work commitments. Mr. Sciaraffo was sworn in at the May 15 Council meeting.
Councilman Billy Dawson was elected Council President. Council President acts as acting mayor in the event that Mayor Kartsonis is unable to attend a regular Council meeting.
Mayor Kartsonis noted that there were 30 dogs and cats vaccinated at the Rocky Hill Rabies Clinic in April.
Contract talks are beginning for the renewal of the South Bound Brook Police Department for enforcing traffic rules. However, they may have some competition from Montgomery. Township Administrator Donato Nieman says that there have been tentative feelers out for a joint service agreement for traffic safety policing. Previously, Montgomery named a price so far out of line it was risible, hence SBBPD. Now, it may be that things are different. Montgomery PD must pass through Rocky Hill to serve residents at Montgomery Woods.

Rocky Hill will be sending a letter out with the tax bill explaining the sharp rise in the school tax portion of the tax bill. Montgomery had a tax increase, but half that of Rocky Hill, thanks to the school "formula" which is suppose to equalize taxes. That formula may have been written for laughs by the same people who wrote the algorithms used by Wall Street Hedge Fund traders in 2007. That didn't end well. On the other hand, Rocky Hill is sending more kids to the schools than in previous years, and the Township fewer, which alters the formula somewhat.

Meanwhile, Borough Assessor George Sopko noted that the Borough is in the fourth year of a four-year rolling tax property reassessment of all Borough properties. 25% of properties are re-assessed each year, with adjustments made to all homes by formula, which includes sales and marketing data. This tends to result in fewer tax appeals. He said, "There were no tax appeals last year. Inspections take about 10 or 15 minutes per property and there have been few complaints."

He said that over the last three years, according to market data, homes were selling at a 2 or 3% increase. Last year it was a 1% decrease. Overall, statewide, there has been a low supply of homes. In the Borough, there is one home activly for sale and two under contract. Total Borough property value is $128,255,800.
A Montgomery Avenue resident had a question regrding his sewer bill: he has a sprinkler system, which he used during a recent period of draught after planting some new trees. That resulted in a water bill of $250, but a sewer portion of the bill resulted in a total bill of $1250. He was told by Borough Engineer Bill Tanner that the only work-around was to have a separate meter installed, with a second bill, just for a sprinkler system.

Council questioned the bill from Mastroianni for snow removal, which had not been itemized.
Council authorized payment of $54,000 to resolve a bill from the Montgomery Township Sewer Dept., in arrears due to the failure of the Township to note two items on the bill list before sending the final bill for 2016 to the Borough. The Borough will be on the hook for its share of future mandated flood-prevention upgrades of the pumping station on River Rd.

Borough residents pulled 2.30M gallons of water from Well #2. All tests are in the green.
The NJ State Police reported making one emergency medical call, one call for a verbal dispute, one found property call, four arrests, and one accident with an injury.

The Constables issued no tickets in April. Constable Dineen is resigning, affective July 1, so that job will be open by application. Mayor Kartsonis said, "Constable Dineen did a good job resolving nuisance complaints without making them worse."

The Borough approved a $102,750 contract with Fine Construction for the new emergency generators, which includes work on the Well #2 Building.

There is an open seat on the Board of Health.

Councilman Dawson noted the replacement of the radar signs due to isses with automobile blind-side detection systems. There was some sort of conflict, since resolved.

Borough CFO Joe Monzo introduced the 2017 Budget, at $1.064M, of which $497,000 will be raised from property tax levy. The local rate stays at $0.387/$100.

Borough Council approved a $2,125 contract with Shier Landscaping to trim the ornamental pear trees along Washington Rd.

Mayor Kartsonis noted the death on May 5 of Pastor Ruth Robins, who had been pastor of the Rocky Hill reformed church from 1983 through 1193.

The second Annual Kick-ball event will be held on June 15.

Borough Council will meet on the third Monday, once a month starting June 19 at Borough Hall on Montgomery Ave., at 7 pm.
For more information, visit www.rockyhill-nj.gov. 

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