Full agenda for council; Mazzaro rewarded, traffic regulations imposed, residents complain about truck traffic
Vincent Mazzaro Sr. received a salary for the first time as the council acknowledged his good work as coordinator for the Secaucus Office of Emergency Management. The council approved an ordinance June 27 that gave Mazzaro $4,089 a year for a position that had previously been voluntary. Department of Public Works Superintendent Mike Gonnelli said Mazzaro contributed greatly to work on flood control and the removal of mosquito breeding grounds, and his work during Hurricane Floyd last September resulted in the town's receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal relief aid. Mayor Dennis Elwell said the OEM has proven that cooperative effort can work in dealing with the various problems the town faces. Councilman Robert Kickey, who is also deputy coordinator for the OEM, said Secaucus is the only community in Hudson County that has an entirely volunteer OEM, and that others outside Secaucus are impressed with its operations and equipment, as well as with the community's dedication to making the program work. "He's done a wonderful job," said Councilman Mike Grecco. Mazzaro, however, said the credit needed to go to Elwell and Kickey, who had helped make sure the OEM received the funding it needed. "Before those two men joined, we got very little money from the town," he said. "Those two men helped bring it up to date and make it the best in the county and one of the very best in the state." Other council business
Also at the June 27 meeting, the council voted to make illegal right turns on red from Plaza Center Drive onto Paterson Plank Road. Only Councilman John Bueckner raised questions about the wisdom of the change. The move, according to Elwell, will make it safer for people - especially senior citizens - crossing Paterson Plank Road. Bueckner, however, said that while he intended to vote in favor of the resolution, he felt the matter should be monitored because the change could create more problems that it solves. He said backups could cause people to cut through the acme parking lot more than they do now in an effort to bypass the light altogether. He suggested the council seek to have the exit from the parking lot moved to discourage this activity. Councilman John Reilly said the traffic division of the police department had surveyed the area extensively. Also at the meeting, the council set wage ranges for various administrative employees and established a salary range for the newly-promoted police captains. Police captains will make $91,288 this year, $94,483 to $98,422 next year and $101,375 by the end of 2002. Bueckner abstained, saying the council had failed to discuss the matter before approving the establishing of lieutenants. In its consent agenda, the council renewed liquor licenses through the town and approved a contract to operate a haunted mansion in the ice rink on weekends during the month of October. The town will receive $5,000 plus 5 percent of the paid admission. Part of the agreement may also include providing the facility to local kids for free during the Halloween night festivities. Also in the consent agenda, the town hired its summer help to cover a variety of coaching, arts and crafts and other positions. The town also made its final payment of $640,973.43 for the closing and purchase of the former Franklin Smith warehouse at 1535 Paterson Plank Road and agreed to advertise for and accept bids on site improvements that will knock down the building and build a parking lot in its place. Bids will be received on July 20, at 3 p.m. in Town Hall. The Town Council also authorized the application for state aid to resurface various roads, and awarded a contract extension to Sonday Asphalt Construction Company for the reconstruction and paving of Hagan Place for $4,200. Because the road's surface was in such bad shape and needed immediate repair, the council agreed to extend the company's existing contract for an additional month. In other action, the council agreed to hire Christopher Venezia as a temporary part-time electrical inspector at $10,700 per year, and adopted a remedial action work plan for the cleanup of the Keystone Metal finishers site and surrounding contaminated properties. The plan was prepared by PMK group. Remarks of citizens
During the public portion of the meeting, several residents complained about tractor-trailers driving down Lewis Street, then backing out. Reilly said that the trucks position themselves on Lewis Street because the diesel gas pump at the corner gas station is on the Lewis Street side. But residents claim truck traffic in general is bad in the area, making it difficult to get in and out of the street on County Avenue. Reilly said the traffic division could set up weight restrictions on the street under the town ordinance. In another issue, resident Bill Evans complained about the condition of the Acme parking lot and other sections of the Plaza Center. He said business owners should make a better effort at cleaning up bottles and other items left on the ground by customers. He said kids near the recreation center on Front Street sit at night and throw things into the street. Meanwhile, resident Art Glaeser asked about the status of the Old Mill property in the north end. Elwell said PMK had found no contamination on the property, allowing the town to move ahead with purchasing it. All that remains is for the current owner to remove trailers and boats and other items currently stored on the property. Barbara Napierski asked the council to notify residents that they should not eat before a diabetes test. She said many people had to leave during the town's recent free screening because they had not been informed ahead of time. Dawn McAdam - a candidate for the council in the first ward - requested access to certain public buildings. Elwell said in some instances - where there is ongoing construction or other dangerous situations - the town would not allow her access.