CHATHAM BOROUGH, NJ - A $270,992 federal grant under the 2011 Cops Hiring Program will enable Chatham Borough to pay the salary and benefits of a newly-hired police officer for three years thanks to an application authorized Monday by the Borough Council.
Police Chief Phillip Crosson explained the grant will pay for one new officer’s salary and benefits for 36 months under the community policing program on the condition that the borough agrees to pick up the tab for the salary and benefits for an additional year.
In supporting the measure, Council Member James J. Collander said it was a tremendous opportunity for the borough in light of the fact that the department has seen its ranks decreased by 15 to 18%. He added Chief Crosson became a member of the borough force under a previous community policing grant.
On another matter, Planning Board members, H.H. Montague and Donna Cali-Charles made a presentation on proposed revisions to the sign ordinance to the council.
Among changes in the ordinance proposed by the Planning Board are:
- The requirement that houses of worship apply for permits when erecting signs will be eliminated.
- A 30-day time span will be set for the posting of signs by non-profit organizations and there will be a ban on posting such signs at Borough Hall or the library or on “site triangles.”
- Those seeking to post political signs on commercial property will not be allowed to hang them sooner than 30 days before an election and must remove them no longer than five days after an election.
- Portable signs near commercial establishments may not be posted on sidewalks or in site triangles.
- Commercial buildings will be permitted to have a single, free-standing placard advertising all the businesses in the building.
- Signs now will be allowed on the second and third floors of commercial buildings. The board may determine in the future whether it wishes to limit the dimensions of such signs. Council President James Lonergan urged the board to clarify that regulation further because, he said, an upper-floor sign that is larger than that on the first floor might create a conflict among businesses in the same building.
- LED (light-emitting diode) signs will not be permitted, except those equipped with inlaid channel lighting.
- Those posting temporary signs advertising commercial enterprises will be required to have permits or township zoning officials will remove the signs.
The council is expected to act on the revised sign ordinance at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, July 11. The June 27 council meeting has been cancelled.
In another presentation, Lonergan said the combined borough and Chatham Township recreation organizations would institute a more robust procedure for collecting and tracking the portion of athletic fees used to pay for field maintenance expenses.
The fees, collected, for example, when user fees for athletic programs are paid late, would be put into a fund to be used for maintenance and equipment purchase programs. Those seeking to fund specific programs will have to make formal presentations to the Recreation Advisory Board.
Although the new field maintenance expense portion of athletic participation fees will be $15 per child for each sport participated in, Lonergan said, the overall total fees probably will not change much this season. The new maintenance fees, however, should provide an additional $15,000 to $35,000 per year he added.
The borough and township business administrators will monitor the fees and their effect on the Athletic Trust Fund to help increase “transparency” of the process, the council president said.
Also, as a result of an almost $1.8 million capital ordinance adopted Monday, the Borough will do a number road-resurfacing projects, make several capital improvements to borough buildings and purchase equipment for the department of public works, fire department and police department.
The total $1,797,911 estimated cost of the projects will be partially paid by a $150,000 state grant.
Road improvements, totaling $831,500, will include replacement of curbs and sidewalks at various locations, the 2011 micro-surfacing program at various locations, reconstruction of Washington Avenue from Chandler Road to Watchung Avenue and the 2011 road-resurfacing program at various locations.
A total of $155,000 in stormwater drainage improvements at a number of locations is envisioned by ordinance.
Building improvements amounting to $162,500 would include: Replacement of windows, the boiler/hot water heaters and portions of the flat roof at the firehouse; installation of exterior security light fixtures at the DPW Complex and Borough Hall; demolition of a garage located on a borough easement at 59 Lafayette Street; interior renovations, including furniture acquisitions, at Borough Hall; installation of security cameras at the DPW Complex, and renovation of the locker room at Police Headquarters.
Various improvements, amounting to $309,936, would be made at Shepard Kollock Park, and equipment purchases include: $94,300 for a brine-making machine and equipment for it to treat winter roads, $244,675 for self-contained breathing apparatus equipment for the fire department and a police vehicle camera system, road signs, ballistic vests, a sports utility vehicle, a multipurpose wireless loudspeaker and a computer disc burner for the police department.
The council also adopted a $159,135 bond ordinance to make a number of improvements and to acquire new or replacement equipment and machinery and new information technology equipment for the borough’s water utility.
On another matter, Karen Wittmer outlined the course of the Second Annual St. Patrick’s Five-K Run that will be held from 9 to 11:30 am on borough streets.