At the March 14 meeting of the Town Council, Mayor Dennis Elwell said town officials have had several meetings with county, state and other officials in order to ward off a potential mosquito infestation this spring. Because of its proximity to wetlands, Secaucus is a prime target for mosquitoes and the deadly virus that they carried last year. "We were all aware last year we had the scare of infection of the West Nile Virus," Elwell said. "We're aware that some mosquitoes up in Union City have been found carrying the virus." Elwell said Mike Gonnelli, the town's superintendent of Public Works and a commissioner on the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission, along with the town's Board of Health, County Health officials and officials from the HMDC, have set up a plan to begin to find breeding grounds for mosquito. The town's Office of Emergency Management will also be involved. "We also understand there has been an ongoing problem with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority that Gonnelli has been working on for almost three years," Elwell said. "We're waiting a plan from the Turnpike Authority." In committee reports, Councilman Mike Grecco said he has recently completed a walk-through the center of town along Paterson Plank Road taking note of various problems. He said he and the police have come up with a series of suggestions that would help make various intersections safer. Among these would be restricting left-hand turns from Paterson Plank Road into the parking lot of the Acme Shopping Center. He said numerous accidents had occurred there and this would help reduce these. Residents who routinely walk in that area have complained for years about traffic using the parking lot as a way to avoid the red light at Paterson Plank Road and Plaza Drive. Cars turned into the lot, race down its length then exit onto Plaza Drive, often at speeds that often put pedestrians and other vehicles at risk. Grecco also said he and the police have considered restricting parking along one side of John Street, a narrow roadway that often has cars rushing toward each other head on. While town officials have considered making the street one way, Grecco said eliminating the parking on one side would widen the traffic lane and possibly eliminate the problem. Grecco also asked the council to consider a traffic light for the corner of Fifth and Front streets near the Clarendon Elementary School, an intersection that recently was the site of a serious accident. Grecco said even a four-way stop would help. Other council members, however, said the state would not likely approve a traffic light there, and definitely would not install a four-way stop sign. Other business
In other business, The council passed an ordinance authorizing the spending of a $373,000 state grant for the repair of various streets, the adding of and removal of handicapped parking, and the expanding of drug free school zones so as to increase penalties for drunk drivers caught in those areas. The council also amended an ordinance that would allow it to use part of a $5 million bond passed last year to purchase two pieces of property in the north end to provide parking. A portion of one parcel will be leased by the school district to provide parking for Huber Street School. In addition, the council renewed its agreement with the Board of Education that would have the town maintain the school district's athletic fields. The council also agreed to seek bids for a new fire truck to replace the fire truck currently in the North End firehouse on Paterson Plank Road. In another resolution, the council agreed to waive its restrictions against public outdoor consumption of alcohol for the Fire Chief's Inspection Parade scheduled to be held on Sept. 9. The town has requested a special permit from the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control for the parade. In order to get rid of miscellaneous bicycles, automobile accessories, clothing, household goods and jewelry acquired by the police through the course of their duties, the council has authorized an auction to be held at 10 a.m. on April 22 at 123 Centre Ave. All proceeds will go into the town treasury.