June 25, 2013 at 7:00 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ - A six-month extension for the Livingston Shuttle was authorized in a resolution at the Livingston Town Council meeting Monday night.
Councilman Michael Silverman said, “I have found that the shuttle has been a great addition to our community.”
Although believing the shuttle to indeed be a “wonderful addition," Councilwoman Deborah Shapiro said, “I don't think the entire township should have to pay for it with less than 200 people using it.”
Mayor Rudy Fernandez and Deputy Mayor Michael Rieber spoke of how the shuttle helped raise property values. “It brings people into the town that wouldn't have come here, it increases and stabilizes our property value,” the mayor commented. The resolution passed, 4-1.
Two checks were presented, one to Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey (CPNJ) for $200,000 and another to Arc of Essex County for $400,000. These donations will allow two homes for disabled young adults to be opened up in Livingston. Jim McCreath, chief executive officer and president of CPNJ, accepted the check for the organization, commenting on how such funds will allow some to “get off what the state refers to as the waiting list.”
The Livingston Education Foundation made an appearance at the meeting, presenting its new inductees to the Livingston High School Hall of Fame. The inductees this year included Governor Chris Christie, who graduated from LHS in 1980; 2001 graduate Hannah August, current press secretary for First Lady Michelle Obama; and actress Nikki M. James, a 1999 LHS graduate.
The final hearings of three ordinances were undertaken by the council, the first being an amendment to the salary ordinance that dealt with “compensation for town workers and officers” according to Mayor Rudy Fernandez. The council voted yes in unison.
An amendment to the Alarm Ordinance was also added. Fines will now start with the second offense instead of the first. A $100 fine will be charged for the second offense with a $50 raise in the penalty for every proceeding time. Silverman felt “making changes to the ordinance was needed by the community. Shapiro disagreed, commenting “I saw no needs to make changes” and solely voted no while the rest of the council passed the ordinance. The ‘Smoking in Places of Employment Ordinance’ was also passed with the full support of the council members.
A resolution was passed “authorizing an Investigation into the Capital ESU Training of April 19, 2013 (Memorialization).” Shapiro yet again was alone in voting no on the resolution, stating “I thought [the investigation] needed to be done internally, and should be purely administrative.” Rieber commented that “with so much communication breakdown, we needed an external investigation” and the resolution was passed, 4-1.
Many residents of Livingston addressed the council during the public comment section of the meeting. Larry Kohn was concerned with budget appropriations. He had still not received answers to many of his questions. The mayor had attempted to answer some, and promised yet again to deal with Kohn's concerns at a later date, but assuring him that he had the answers.
Resident Larry Greenberg was concerned with the new leased cars for the police department. “The fleet is falling apart,” Greenberg stated, “Look at the cars as being an image for the good people and the bad people.” Town Manager Meade assured Greenberg that the vehicles were on their way, and that any delay in their coming was a “manufacturing” or “IT” issue.
Officer Andrew Ullman, PBA president for the Livingston Police Department, said he was concerned with the support of the township for the LPD. “There appears to be a pattern in our town that [the town council] does not support our police department” Ullman conveyed, referring to the investigation of the incident on April 19. The mayor assured Ullman that the results of the investigation were to be released soon, and if it weren't for legal rules and procedure, they would be released already. According to the mayor, the council voted unanimously in favor of releasing the report, however, the town labor board would not allow them to.