Little Egg Harbor Expands New Community Advisory Committee
The Little Egg Harbor Township Committee added three more members to the new community advisory board at their Feb. 23 meeting.
Doug Lucas, Charles Newmeyer and Regina Pistilli will join the others who were selected on Feb. 9: Kathleen Capron, Bernadette Park, Ronald Palmer, Lou Arolesse, Tom Meredith, Jack Shepherd, Ken Miller, Richard Dutton, Ann Mikos, Donald Lelion, Donna O’Brien, Terry DeVenuto, David Neuman, Bill and Ann Armitage, Bob and Arlene Keenan, Blaise Scibetta and Thomas Maher.
The advisory board will meet to discuss topics of interest to the township committee and mayor, and offer their viewpoints. The board members have no powers to make policy. The first meeting is Monday, March 27 at 7 p.m. in the courtroom. The meeting is open to the public. After the initial meeting, the board will meet the third Monday of each month.
In other business, the township committee members were assigned to governing subcommittees for 2017. Ray Gormley and David Schlick will be on the subcommittee for budget and finance; Barbara Jo Crea and Lisa Stevens will handle administration and personnel; Gormley and John Kehm will oversee community activities; Gormley and Kehm will also supervise emergency services; Stevens and Kehm will be the subcommittee for community development, planning and engineering; Gormley and Kehm will oversee the Department of Public Works; Schlick and Stevens are assigned the law and public safety subcommittee.
The committee approved the three-quarter retirement pensions of three police officers during the Feb. 9 meeting and their accumulated sick and overtime pay: Christopher Graham was awarded a one-time $16,976 payment; Walter Sanford, $41,967; and Mathew Kline, $28,175.
During the Feb. 23 meeting, the committee voted to hire the Rodgers Group LLC to do in-service training to “assist in the retaining accreditation from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police to ensure compliance with New Jersey SAOCP standards and the Attorney General’s Guidelines.” The training will cost $11,520 per year for two years.
Committeeman Schlick asked if Township Engineer Jim Oris had followed up on the history of a 10-year-old citizens’ request for a dog park. Oris said he and Jason Worth had looked over their files and all they came up with were informal discussions with a former township administrator, Ray Urezzio.
“There were JIF issues (Joint Insurance Fund) and environmental issues,” said Oris. “Mr. Krochmal had asked about the Radio Road beach but there were environmental concerns because there are shellfish beds off that beach. Parkertown Docks were looked at, but again, being near the water would be the issue there.”
Schlick said the Community Center on West Calabreeze Way has at least an acre of ground that is already fenced off on three sides.
Oris said the issue of insurance was still in play, and the property he suggested was near a lagoon, which would again be subject to environmental concerns. “There is also the issue of the impact on neighboring homes: the noise and parking.”
“Could you focus on the positives?” Schlick asked. “I know other towns have dog parks.”
Schlick also asked if the engineer was following up on the dam replacement project at Holly Lake. Oris said his company was having an ongoing discussion and there was a potential for putting a tax assessment on the homeowners association, or for the township to take over the lake – but that would also mean liability issues.
On the other hand, Oris could report that the developer of the condos was leveling the ruts in Playhouse Drive and paving would be done in the near future.
Schlick asked Deputy Mayor Crea if progress was being made to bring various department heads to the township meetings for reports. Crea said that was what the subcommittees would be taking care of going forward.
Schlick said he had searched in vain to find a piece of paper that contained a recommendation by Crea, or any of the committee members, to retain the law firm of Gilmore and Monahan, a firm that has had its records subpoenaed for a grand jury. He asked Business Administrator Garrett Loesch if he had recommended retaining the law firm for another year.
Loesch said he did not. “The RFPs (requests for proposals) came to the clerk’s office and to purchasing to make sure they meet all the necessary standards. I did not make a recommendation. I gave a copy of the report to the mayor and committee.”
Crea said she had verbally indicated retaining Gilmore and Monahan but had requested switching out attorney Robin LaBue.
Schlick then questioned Township Attorney Jean Cipriani if she was a partner in the firm of Gilmore and Monahan. She said she was a partner, an elevation based on her work, but not an “equity” partner, not an owner of the law firm.
On another matter, Stevens reminded the public that a Superstorm Sandy recovery workshop sponsored by the Long Term Recovery Group is on Wednesday, March 8 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the town community center. “As of today, we still have 2,800 people still not home from Sandy.”
Crea remarked that as liaison to the Great Bay Emergency Management Service, she was struck by how incredible the volunteers of the community are. “Volunteers are not paid because they are worthless, but because they are priceless,” she said.
A resident of Maplewood Drive praised Patrolmen Kevin Hogan, Mike Bishop and James Fehring for coming to the aid of his 7-year-old daughter when a car struck and killed the family dog. “I couldn’t be there to comfort her but you were there, and I thank you,” said the man.
Another resident asked if the township could put crosswalks in at the entrance to Mystic Shores on Mathistown Road. Oris said he would reach out to the county engineer, because it is a county road.
— Pat Johnson