During the May 4, 2017 Commissioners’ meeting, Commissioner Andrew Gilmore reported on the Mt. Ephraim Police and Fire Departments’ activity for April.
For police, Gilmore stated that the total number of calls received were 710. Of those 710 calls, 392 were assigned case numbers.
Some of the highlighted offenses were: 13 answered alarms, 58 ambulance assists, four responses to fires, and eight animal complaints.
There were six assaults, one burglary, four death investigations, ten domestic violence offenses, and 16 drug offenses.
There were 26 calls for information and six juvenile complaints.
There were two Megan’s Law violations, 23 motor vehicle accidents,10 shoplifters, and 14 calls for suspicious vehicles or persons.
Fifty-four vacation or business checks were conducted and there were five 911 verifications.
Adult arrests for April totaled 43. Three for hindering apprehension. Two for disorderly conduct. One for driving while suspended. One for driving under the influence. One for forgery. One was a fugitive from justice. One for harassment. Two for obstruction of justice. Eight for possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS). Six for possession of drug paraphernalia. Two for scrapping. Eight for shoplifting. Five for simple assault. One for trespassing. One for urinating in public. One for violation of a restraining order.
There were four juvenile arrests — one for assault and one disorderly person. One for possession of CDS, and one for possession of drug paraphernalia.
There were 39 out-of-town warrants served. Two officers went to training sessions.
The total number of motor vehicle summonses issued for the month were 390. There were 54 moving violations, seven parking offenses, and 329 summonses issued other than moving.
As for the Mt. Ephraim Fire Department, the incidences responded to totaled 33.
Two alarm systems were answered and they assisted the EMS or the police three times. They had four brush fires, one building fire, six incidental fires, four motor vehicle accidents, and 13 calls for mutual aid. Three drills were conducted and there were three community service assignments.
During the meeting, the Commissioners also recognized several neighbors whose quick thinking helped to save a home that had suddenly caught on fire.
Commissioner Michael Tovinsky
Total weights for the Public Works Department for the month of April: Single stream recycling 77,720 pound trash tonnage. 6,000 pounds of metal were picked up for $345.
Trees were trimmed back for the Little League. Additionally, the Department assisted during the recent craft fair and car show by setting up the barricades, tables, and chairs.
Commissioner Tovinsky said: “We put out for bid for a used trash truck that was inspected by our Department of Public Works foreman and a mechanic. We only had one bidder. We are going to purchase a trash truck that we desperately need.”
Borough Clerk, Terry Shannon, stated that the truck was expected to be delivered May 5.
Mayor Joseph Wolk
Mayor Wolk reported on various amounts that had been received in April, 2017:
Tax collected for 2017: $564,589.31. Sewer for the month of April: $85,331.96. Construction code official: $3,893. State fees: $344. Court fines: $22,790.80. Licenses $1,025. Police reports: $59. Board of Health: $54. UCC Housing Code: $360. Recycling $1,505.46. Workman’s compensation: $1,408. Vacant properties $4,000. Zoning fees $75.
2016 Safety Incentive Award $1,500. Payment of taxes for the West Center $9,000. Clear Channel billboard $76,990.
The Mayor also stated that there were several lien redemptions in the amount of $7,502.57.
The Borough engineer, Joe Federici, gave an update on the Grant Avenue project by stating that the project is “substantially complete” except for striping and a punch list.
He stated that the next project is Northrop Avenue, which will probably begin in the next few weeks.
The Lowell and Harding Avenue project was awarded to R.E. Pierson. Federici said: “After we hear back from the Solicitor, we will begin the process with the bonds, insurance, and contracts.”
He also stated that the traffic counts were received from the police chief regarding stop signs at Pennsylvania Avenue at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and also at Hartka Avenue at the intersection of Lambert.
“I have that information and we will prepare an engineer’s report for those stop signs and I will present that at the May Caucus,” Federici said.
Mayor Wolk stated that for the three projects that are going on now: “Each one we have gotten funded through the State.”
Federici added: “Two of them were $200,000 and one of them was $219,000. A total of $619,000 from the State.”
He said of particular interest was the Winthrop Avenue discretionary aid project. “We have to compete with all of the other towns in the State for the money. But the Winthrop Avenue was a discretionary aid project and a highly competitive project. Because of the efforts of the commissioners, it is really a feather in the Borough’s cap.”
A resident from Lambert Avenue thanked the mayor and the commissioners for looking into the stop sign situation at Lambert and Hartka. The resident said it was “serious” and he was glad to hear that the engineer’s report is moving along. “We noticed today that there was a box put on Lambert Avenue for traffic,” he said.
Police Chief Brian Conte stated: “It’s been there for two weeks.”
The resident responded: “We thank you for doing that. I appreciate all the work that you have done. The Chief came to my house.”
The resident then stated that there was a serious, near fatal accident that had occurred in April at Lambert and Hartka. “I, and the neighbors, understand that the wheels of government grind slowly and we can’t do everything overnight. Even though I was willing to pay for the sign to put it up myself. That’s how serious that situation is. Hopefully, by June we will have a report for the town.”
Borough Solicitor, Eric Riso, explained that with regard to installing new stop signs, there has to be an Ordinance in place saying that these two particular streets will be subject to a stop sign. “The way that an Ordinance is adopted and becomes law is it’s introduced first. That is what is going to happen at the June meeting.”
Then, the Clerk will publish the Ordinance in the paper. There will be a second reading that will happen at the July public meeting, where any public comment can be heard. Then, the vote will be taken to adopt the Ordinance. If it is adopted, it will take effect 20 days thereafter, Riso stated.
Another resident asked about the possibility of having a fence installed at a half-way house.
Solicitor Riso responded: “While we understand your concern, we can’t force an owner of a private property to put a fence up. It’s not municipal property. Just like we couldn’t force you to put a fence up.”
The resident asked if he would be able to get a report that shows how many times over the last 18-24 months the police were called to that residence.
Chief Conte stated that an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) would need to be filed. “If you are entitled to the information, the clerk would disseminate [it] to you,” he said.
There was some back and forth about recent car break-ins and people knocking on doors. Chief Conte encouraged him to call the police and said that until police are called and reports are investigated, complaints are undocumented and unsubstantiated.
Another resident asked for clarification about Megan’s Law violations. Chief Conte said: “Generally, certain Megan’s Law have to be registered at certain times and we are just doing the registration. They are not being arrested. They are just being processed according to the law.”
He further stated: “When he [Commissioner Gilmore] read the arrests off, no one was arrested for Megan’s Law. It was just part of our documentation that we processed two.” Chief Conte suggested that the resident visit NJSP.org to look at the Megan’s Law that are currently registered.
The resident also spoke of people driving through the ball fields. Commissioner Tovinsky stated he would handle that.
In other matters, the Commissioners all commented that the recent Car Show and Craft Fair “was a great day” and thanked everyone involved.
Memorial Day – Monday, May 29
Mt. Ephraim Fire Chief Brian Gilmore stated that the Memorial Day observance will begin at 9:00 a.m. at the firehouse on Bell Road. It will continue at the Norcross Park located at Centre & Jersey and then at the Veterans’ triangle at Davis and Garfield.
All business on the meeting agenda was approved. Click the image below to view the meeting agenda for the approved items.
The commissioners will meet for their Caucus/Workshop on Tuesday, May 23 at 3:00 p.m. at Borough Hall. The next public meeting will be Thursday, June 1 at 8:00 p.m.