CHATHAM, NJ - Residents who live near the mulch area behind Milton Avenue School voiced their opinions that it was a bad idea to move any recycling there and the Borough of Chatham Council agreed with them at the meeting held on Monday night.
More than 20 residents attended the meeting to voice their displeasure with a plan that -- if approved -- would have closed the recycling center on Summit Avenue and moved it to the mulch area behind Milton Avenue School.
Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris moved up the public portion of the meeting to accommodate the residents. After explaining the reasoning behind the possible move, the council said that there were far more negatives than positives to the move and announced that it would be dropped.
"I don't see any reason to proceed with this," Council member John Holman said.
Still, residents came to the microphone to voice their opposition. Mark Visco of Duchamp Place presented the council with a petition of 259 signatures, opposing any such move.
In June, Peter Atkinson of the Chatham Department of Public Works reported to the council that the borough could save money on overtime pay by closing the depot on Summit Avenue, which is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
New Jersey Transit owns the land where the Summit Avenue depot is located and DPW employees spend time cleaning up the site because debris is often dumped there during closed hours.
The mulch area at Milton is open from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 4 on Wednesdays. Atkinson noted that a recycling area could be placed near where residents drop off grass and brush.
"The DPW came to us with a way to save money," Council President Victoria Fife said. "The fact that our own DPW came to us with a suggestion is a positive. After hearing the the cons, this is definitely a non-starter."
Even after hearing that the council would not move the recycling to the mulch area, a number of residents still came forward to speak on the issue.
"They just did a really bad job of communicating the issue," Visco said.