According to Town Administrator Anthony Iacono, the town will receive 60 percent of all revenues derived from use of cellular phones after companies are allowed to set up cellular phone relay units on the rooftops of buildings owned by the town.
"This may not be a very significant amount of money," Iacono said. "But it will generate some revenue and can offset some of the town's expenses."
This is another one of Iacono's moneymaking ideas that will add to the overall budget by allowing public spaces to be used for commercial purposes. Iacono was previously able to generate funds towards furnishing the library by donated a patch of town-owned property near the New Jersey Turnpike to the Friends of the Library. The Friends then leased the property to a billboard company. A similar billboard arrangement was used on another patch of ground to help fund a future new recreation center.
In this latest deal for cellular phones, Iacono said he talked to several brokers about offering public buildings around town as relay points for cellular phones. The more of these units installed in an area, the fewer times cellular phone calls fail or black out.
Councilman John Bueckner questioned the proposal during the council's caucus session held just before the public meeting, noting that such arrangements had been controversial in communities in Bergen County.
"Many people are afraid cellular phone antennas will spring up everywhere," he said.
Iacono said three such relay units are already in operation in Secaucus, two on business buildings and one freestanding tower. Others may be in the approval stage with the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. Currently, business buildings are allowed - with a permit - to install such devices, while private residences cannot. The town does not need a permit since public buildings are exempt.
"Ultimately, the FCC [Federal Communication Commission] has the final authority over what is permitted," said Frank Leanza, the town attorney.
Bueckner said he was concerned about the relay units. He said that existing radio stations in town had caused problems for residents, interfering with television and telephone service. Mayor Dennis Elwell said these units operated at too low a frequency to interfere. Bueckner also raised the question of how unsightly these units would be. Leanza assured him that the units would be disguised so that it would be unlikely that anyone would be aware of them.
Leanza said the more profitable of the two bids for the town was voided because the company has less experience than the other bidder. An investigation of the winning bidder, Integrated Wireless Services, showed the company had performed such operations throughout the area and with great success.
Retiring and hiring
After 29 years as sub code and construction code official for the town of Secaucus, Joe Monteleone advised the council of his retirement effective Nov.1. The council acknowledged the resignation at its Sept. 24 meeting along with the resignation of Al McClure as the town's Animal Control and Property Maintenance officer.
Monteleone's position as full time Construction Code Official will be filled by a part time position, said Town Administrator Anthony Iacono, and this position will be absorbed into the town's Department of Inspections. Iacono said Monteleone's salary was $89,000 and the new inspector will start at $15,000 a year.
To handle chores performed by McClure, the town hired Kevin Deller as the new Animal Warden for the town effective Sept. 1 at an annual salary of $50,000 and McClure's son, Edward McClure, as an animal warden/laborer-driver at an annual salary of $27,000.
To cover operations for the month of September, the council approved the previously tentative appointments of a maintenance worker for the swim center, part time attendants, and Aftercare counselors at the youth center.
Even though the town has had a contract with James Adams for his services as Special Needs coordinator, the Town Council authorized the seeking of proposals for the post. Leanza said this was a requirement by the federal government so that the town can get reimbursed for the $5,000 it expends. In the past the town used Community Development Block Grants for this salary. Adams offers a Saturday program at the recreation center and other local facilities for people with special needs.
The council also authorized the hiring of Medvin & Elberg, tax attorneys, to review a tax appeal by Trust Company bank. Iacono said that although the town already has contracts with two tax attorneys, both of these have represented the Trust Company in the past.
"We've used this firm in the past for Trust Company appeals," Iacono said.
The council also authorized a professional service contract with Professional Planning and Engineering Corp. to design plans for an air-conditioning and heating unit at the Front Street recreational center. In another agreement, the council authorized a 3.4 percent salary increase for court officers.
George Heflich, the town's former fire official, questioned whether or not the town took out permits when it demolished the building at 14 Centre Ave. The town-owned building had been used for storage and office space, but was not handicapped accessible. The town decided to demolish the building to expand Town Hall's upper parking lot situated next to the building.
Heflich also questioned whether or not the building had any asbestos in it and why the town hadn't used dust suppression during the demotion.
"Cars and houses all over the area were covered with dust," he said.
Mayor Elwell in response said permits were taken out on the property and that asbestos had been removed previously from all town-owned buildings.
Art Glaeser asked about hirings at the Swim Center for September. Iacono said the swim center operated after Labor Day only if it had enough subscribers. Staff hirings passed during the Sept. 24 meeting reflected those needed to keep the Swim Center operating until the end of September.
Glaeser also said there had been a proliferation of unauthorized signs for local businesses around town again, especially along the Route 3 Service Road and Secaucus Road -- this despite a town ordinance against them.
Councilman John Reilly said police have been taking down signs and fining those responsible.
Barbara Napierski said garage sales signs are still being posted, something Reilly said has slackened since the town began proposing a new stricter sign posting ordinance.