Rocky Council held the 2017 Reorganization Meeting Jan. 4 and swore in returning Councilman Phillip Kartsonis, and new Councilman Nark Sibley for three-year terms on Borough Council.
A number of appointments were made to various committees and boards (see the Borough website www.rockyhill-nj.gov). Councilman Kartsonis was unanimously voted Council President.
Mayor Donahue noted the "High level of volunteerism that makes this town strong," and pointed out the many shared services, including schools, police services, public works, health and animal control, and help from Somerset County for road plowing.
Attending the event were several officials, including Freeholders Mark Caliguire and Brian Levine, Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, and Plainfield Committeewoman Keiona Miller.
Following that, Council briskly whisked through a number of Resolutions, including a Consent Agenda, which permitted grouping resolutions together for brevity: rules of order, 2018 reorganization meeting date, fees doe notices, 2018 meeting dates, designation of 2017 official newspaper, and so on.
Council also reappointed the Borough attorney, auditor, engineer, prosecutor, public defender, and Borough planner.
Council passed a resolution noting exiting Councilman Tom Bremner's service from 2010 to December 2016.
One consequence of Somerset County helping at the Mary Jacobs Library is that following the Jan. 7 snowfall, the Library was at the end of the priority chain, and the sidewalks weren't shoveled by Monday morning. However, anyone traveling from Rocky Hill onto Montgomery roads will have noticed how much better Rocky Hill streets were kept clean of snow immediately following the end of the snowstorm.
Meanwhile work proceeds at the Canal Bridge, and they're still saying a February completion date, depending on the weather. The damage to the Rocky Hill economy has been done, however. John Shedd Pottery will be leaving town as a consequence of loss of business. See our story on Page 19..
At the Jan. 18 Borough Council session, Acting Mayor Kartsonis noted the break in the water line on Merritt Lane near Washington Street, repaired within 24 hours.
On that subject, Borough Engineer Bill Tanner suggested that the Borough allocate funds to have the water main valves "exercise" annually, as the repair crew has some difficulty shutting off the valve associated with their repair. The valves have a tendency to seize up unless opened and closed at regular intervals, and he said that there was only one more valve upstream from the one being worked on. "If we closed that it would shut down water for the entire town. The system's not getting any younger. We've had three breaks in the past four years." That could cost as much as $50,000. Meanwhile, Borough residents pulled 2.294M gallons from the Borough well.
Work has begun on replacing Borough Hall windows and doors. Some may have noted the temporary plywood panels on the first floor. Those will be replaced, first with temporary plastic windows, then with the final, historically-appropriate insulated glass windows.
Princeton Avenue needs sidewalk and curbing repair near #4, estimated at $3,738. That will go out to bid soon.
There were ten new traffic tickets during December, and 21 disposed of in Court. Total Court receipts were $2,529, of which Rocky Hill's share was $428.40.
The new radar machine running on Crescent in December showed that average speed for traffic eastbound (the direction it reads) between 6 am and 6 pm was 23.7 MPH. The highest daily average )on December 4) was 29.6 MPH. One oddity is that during those periods when the South Bound Brook PD is patrolling, the average speed drops by one MPH. The second radar display will be arriving soon.
There was some discussion of the use of social media such as Twitter to get out announcements. However, Borough Clerk Donna Griffith threw a bucket of cold water on that idea by pointing out that governments of all sizes great and small (even the Donald) are required to keep a written record of all such announcements. This would be onerous, or as the Donald would say, "Huge, really amazing." Or not. Currently, the Borough uses Nixle, which has some 250 subscribers.
The Jan. 18 Borough Council meeting ended in Executive Session, the subject of which was affordable housing. The NJ State Supreme Court announced on that very day a decision in the long running Mount Laurel Case which would require NJ municipalities to pony up some 200,000 new units of affordable housing statewide, to make up for the difference between the requirements in 1999 and 2015, a period of housing growth statewide. Although Rocky Hill has a requirement to provide affordable housing, it may be that any additional numbers might be insignificant, as there have been only a handful of new homes built in the Borough since 1999. Stay tuned.
The Rocky Hill Rabies Clinic will be held sometime in April, date to be determined. However, pet licenses (dogs and cats) are to be renewed by the owners by April 30.
Borough Council meets on the first and third Mondays of each month at Borough Hall on Montgomery Ave., at 7 pm.
For more information, visit www.rockyhill-nj.gov.
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