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Montgomery News
A hometown paper
Montgomery Township
and Rocky Hill, NJ

Saturday July 29, 2017


Montgomery News Directory

Report from Rocky Hill - May 2017

Mayor Jeff Donahue announced his resignation at the April 3 meeting of Borough Council. He will be taking a new job with SpaceX in California, and plans to sell his home in Rocky Hill as soon as possible. Meanwhile, his job will be taken over temporarily by Phil Kartsonis, president of Borough Council. Any appointment is made by the members of Borough Council, from the same party as the former mayor (in this case, Independent), and will expire at the end of the year. The next mayor will be chosen by general election in November 2017, and will serve the remainder of former Mayor Donahue's term, which ends in 2018.

Mayor Donahue thanked the many volunteers in Rocky Hill who make things work, as well as the current and past members of Borough Council, and noted how hard it is to leave Rocky Hill, "A special place." he also thanked the Township for doubling their donation to the Mary Jacobs Library, and the County for agreeing to take over the costs of heating and lighting the building itself for the next five years. The building itself is owned by the Mary Jacobs Foundation, which had been incurring increasing operating and capital expenses, and was in some danger of being unable to meet its obligations without increased municipal aid and donations from the public.

Mayor Donahue also thanked the Board of Education for going to bat for the Borough taxpayers. He said that the "Algorithm used to determine taxes is dangerous for us as small changes in numbers make a big difference in results." Still, the Township bump was $162. Rocky Hill's was $236 more per home.
At the April 17 session, Acting Mayor Kartsonis and former Councilman Thomas Bremner were nominated by Borough Council. Kartsonis won, 5–0, after abstaining from voting for himself. Because Kartsonis won on the first ballot, Bremner's name never came to a vote. Kartsonis then resigned his seat on Council, leaving that seat open, pending an appointment by the remaining Council members. So, neither Democrats nor Republicans need apply. Mayor Kartsonis thanked his fellow councilmen and volunteers and promised, "to stay out of the way and to help facilitate the process."

Someone pointed out and all councilmen agreed, that there needed to be a woman on Borough Council, "But most women are too smart to run." Any takers? The next council person will be appointed at the May 1 meeting to fill Kartsonis's term, which runs until the end of 2018.

The Bridge appears to be making progress rapidly instead of at the snail's pace it made during the winter. As of early April, the rebar was wired up and the cement surface poured. A cement walkway, designed to resemble a wood surface will be installed, along with railings and curbing, and so on. The prediction is that it will be drivable by the beginning of May. Still, as Mayor Donahue noted, "It's amazing how little the DOT seems to know. They keep saying three to four weeks." Hazmat crews were at work on Crescent Avenue in early April after some sort of materiel fell off a truck—beakers, glassware, disposable gloves, and such. Everything was quickly cleaned up and, reportedly, nothing dangerous was found. Would they tell us if it was? When traces of anthrax were found at the Post Office following 9/11, the moon suit-wearing hazmat crews never notified the dentist nor any of the tenants in the same building.

Montgomery Township Health Officer Stephanie Carey gave a presentation at the April 17 Council meeting on health services activities. The Township is the contracted Health Department for Montgomery, Rocky Hill, Pennington, and Hopewell Borough. She says that the Health Deptartment is on track to gain national accreditation, which has been granted to only 10% of all health departments nationwide. It would make our Health Deptment the third in New Jersey to have that rating.

During 2017, the Health Department investigated six reported disease calls (Lyme Disease, etc.); made seven food inspections and one pre-school inspection, checked out three public health nuisances; gave 30 flu vaccinations at the Flu Clinic; and vaccinated 14 pets at the Rabies Clinic last year. She noted that if residents need to report a dead deer, they should call the Animal Control Officer at the Township (908-359-8211) to have it hauled away. Stray cats and dogs are taken to SAVE.

During March, there were 25 new moving violations and one parking ticket; 34 moving violations and one parking ticket were disposed of in Court. Total Court receipts were $3,533, of which Rocky Hill's share was $776.

Also, there were 10 reported criminal offenses, of which three were disposed. They were listed as "Other," which means what, exactly? No one seemed to know.

Borough residents drew 2.235M gallons from the Municipal Well #2, and all water tests were normal.
Borough Engineer Bill Tanner noted the Princeton Avenue closure for a long overdue resurfacing, and said that even though the Township, whose work it is, is saying four weeks before they finish, the Princeton Avenue resurfacing portion of the work should take considerably less time, perhaps as little as a week, depending on the weather. He also said that the Emergency Generator project has gone out for bid and received three replies. The generators are for Borough Hall and for the water tower during emergencies. During Superstorm Sandy, the Borough came perilously close to running dry.
Council approved a $2,125 bid from Shier Tree Experts to trim trees along Washington Street. The high bid was $7,000.

Council also approved the annual ordinance to "Exceed the Municipal Budget Appropriation Limits and establish a Cap Bank." This allows the Borough to collect a little more than it knows it needs and put excess funds into surplus. Any surplus at the end of the year is payed forward. This annual exercise of sleight-of-hand is mostly to amuse the minions at the NJ Department of Taxation, who otherwise frown on any municipal surplus.

The Hook and Ladder All You Can Eat Pancake and Sausage Breakfast will be on Mother's Day (May 14) again this year, serving the best sausage and flapjacks in all of New Jersey. Starting at 8 am and running until 1 pm at the Fire House, $8 for adults.

The Rocky Hill Community Group Yard Sale is slated for May 20. Following that, on May 24 is Trash Pickup, and on May 25–26, Limb and Leaf Pickup.

The Memorial Day Celebration will be held on May 29 at 11 am at Panicaro Park this year.
Borough Council routinely 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.