NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – It’s not often that comments made during the public hearing of residents become the major news story for a Borough Council meeting.
But at Monday night’s meeting that’s exactly what happened. One resident expressed disgust over social media reports about politics interfering with the governing body’s ability to serve the community. Another resident shared a story of caring neighbors helping her through the recent bout of snowstorms.
Pat Moschetti, a frequent attendee at council meetings, alluding to social media postings said, “We’re going down a bad slippery slope. You’re acting like children.” He added that residents deserved more from a mayor with an annual salary of $6,000 and council members who receive $4,500.
Moschetti offered no specifics to back-up his accusations as the governing body sat motionless and listened to his comments.
Moschetti rose to return to his seat in the audience but was called back to the microphone by Council President Michael Gennaro.
“What is so bad here in New Providence?” Gennaro, a senior executive in a multi-state engineering firm, asked. He then cited a long list of council achievements.
He added that he works 70 hours a week at his regular job and along with other council members; the stipends translate into about $3.50 an hour.
“I reject your statement. No one is shirking their responsibilities,” Gennaro said in a loud voice, unusual for the generally soft spoken council president.
Mayor J. Brooke Hern said that while there might be differences of opinions, they were not politically driven. “There is a strong sense this council is doing their best for New Providence,” Hern said.
On a more uplifting note that brought smiles to council members and applause from the audience, Angie Mazzarisi recounted the generous and loving efforts of her neighbors to help a 90-year-old widow cope with snow removal from her property.
“I have wonderful neighbors and thank them for lending a hand,” the 60-year borough resident said.
Those neighbors are Lynn and Greg Adams and their son David; Anita and Bob Buckman and their daughters Mary Kate and Kerry Anne; Carolyn and Chris Glatz; Vivian and Bill Harris; John Garno; Janet Smith; and Tom Waldron.
Borough Administrator Doug Marvin said the Public Works crews had been busy filling potholes on borough streets. In a period of three days, crews used six tons of asphalt to fill holes and work continues. Marvin added the borough has 85 tons of road salt on hand with an additional 300 tons expected this week.
Two members of the New Providence Community Pool made their annual report to the Borough Council. Treasurer Jennifer Cronin and Vice-President Tom Foti said that membership increased slightly last year and the organization made a modest profit. Projects tor the upcoming season include a shaded pavilion near the snack bar and improvements for the kiddie area playground.