February 12, 2013 at 5:47 PM
GREEN TOWNSHIP, NJ – Part of the township committee meeting on Monday, Feb. 11, moved out of the council chambers,and into the hallway, as the committee discussed potential security precautions with a representative from an alarm company.
Mayor Daniel Conkling explained he would like to see additional security in the building especially on days when only a few employees are working.
Tom Sansone of T&R Alarm will put together a proposal based on suggestions by the township committee. They will include bullet-proofing the wall of the receptionists office, installing a door in the hallway leading back to the clerk’s office, installing cameras, and installing a system to lock interior doors simultaneously in case of emergency. In addition, a door leading to the council’s conference room, which also serves as the judge's chambers during municipal court, will be bullet-proofed, at the suggestion of Lou Caruso who works court, as well as for the municipality.
The committee debated changing the way the exterior doors are locked, but decided to hold off. The many groups that use the lower floor of the building do not have access to the main floor.
Sansone explained the cameras record on a 30-day cycle, and can be accessed through the clerk’s computer.
Besides security for the court, another issue involving municipal court was discussed.
Township Attorney Richard Stein was present at the committee meeting. He discussed a meeting with municipal court judge Craig Dana, and representatives of the other municipalities served by the regional court.
One issue is replacing the Deputy Court Administrator, Sherri Hansen, who died recently. The other is allocating court expenses.
Stein said Dana went through court statistics, including the case load of each municipality, the severity of charges, the length of time cases require to be adjudicated. It turns out Hampton Township, which accounts for 48 percent of the population, has 75 percent of the court’s business. However, Hampton refuses to pay 75 percent of the costs.
The joint court meeting came up with a compromise which must be approved by each municipality. It gives Hampton 58 percent of the costs, Green 16 percent, Fredon 17 percent and Andover Borough 9 percent.
“It makes no economic sense for Hampton to leave or for the other three municipalities to let them leave,” Stein said.
The committee authorized the court committee to act in the best interest of Green at the next joint meeting.
The main reason the committee requested Stein attend the meeting was to report on a conference call about affordable housing.
The township received a notice from the state Department of Community Affairs requesting a signed escrow agreement on the township's funding for affordable housing. However, the DCA was not on the band agreement for the money. The township’s bank, the township and the Council on Affordable Housing were, before Gov. Chris Christie abolished COAH. A lower court overrode the governor’s action, but that is under appeal. Green turned to the League of Municipalities for guidance on whether to sign the escrow agreement and is awaiting an answer.
“The DCA says COAH was lawfully abolished and COAH rules apply to them,” Stein said. “But one court said the governor was wrong.”
He said he hopes to see the matter resolved within two weeks.
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