NEWTON, NJ – Prior to regular council business at the Monday night December 10, Town of Newton Council meeting, Newton Mayor Sandra Diglio, and members of the town council, recognized soccer players from the NJAL (Newton Junior Athletic League) Soccer Team 4-2, for their undefeated Fall 2012 season.
“I’d like to congratulate all of you,” said Diglio, as she handed a certificate to each player, who sported their Newton maroon and white soccer jerseys, as well as coaches Chris LeMasson, her son Josh LeMasson, and John Flanagan.
“This is a great, great group of kids,” said LeMasson, her eyes welling with proud tears. “They played their hearts out this season.”
Flanagan said, “You guys are the future,” giving a nod to the efforts of the Newton Boys High School Soccer Team, which walked away with the 2012 State Championship.
“Keep doing what you’re doing,” Flanagan told them.
He said some of the children he has been coaching since they started with the program.
Following the presentation of the certificates, the team posed with Diglio, and members of the town council, deputy mayor Joseph Ricciardo, councilman Kevin Elvidge, councilman Dan Flynn, and councilwoman Kristen Becker. During a short recess from regular business, Diglio signed each of the certificates, and then returned them to the team.
Brendan Reed, son of municipal clerk Lorraine Reed, accepted his award from his mother, and shook her hand. Following the presentation, the young man was the only member of the public to speak during either of the open to the public sessions.
“They were a great team to be with, they were a lot of fun, and I learned a lot,” Reed said. “I’d like to thank you all for that.”
In other business:
· Diglio thanked town attorney Mark Hontz for his service to the town. It was Hontz’s last meeting as counsel, with Ursula H. Leo of Laddey, Clark & Ryan, LLP, appointed beginning January 1, 2013.
· The meeting would be the last until the start of the New Year. The municipal building will be closing early on Friday, December 21, and will be closed all day on Christmas Eve, December 24, and Christmas Day, December 25. New officers for the fire department will be sworn in on January 1, 2013. The next town council meeting will be on Monday, January 14, 2013.
· There were four resolutions on the consent agenda that were questioned by three members of the town council for further information, prior to approval. Elvidge asked about Resolution 244-2012 “Concur With The Town Manager’s Appointment Of Special Police Officers,” Flynn asked about 252-2012 “Appointment Of Hatch Motch MacDonald, As Sewer Engineer For Calendar Year 2013,” and Ricciardo asked about two; 252-2012 “Authorize A One-Time Performance Award For 2012 And Salary Increase For 2013 For Certain Town Of Newton Employees Not Covered By Collective Bargaining Agreements,” and 288-2012 “To Utilize Trust Funds – Snow Removal For Hurricane Sandy Expenditures.” Elvidge first asked what the requirements were for special police officers, and Russo explained the special officers attend a proper training academy for special officers. “Most young men and women want PTC [Police Training Commission],” said Russo. “They gain more protection from a union standpoint. I think it’s [special police officer training, and employment] a good stepping stone to get into the law enforcement field.” Russo said he was not 100 percent opposed to having former police officers working as special officers, and the average salary is $25 an hour. The special officers help provide law enforcement, including at the court, and on Spring Street, with less cost. Following Russo’s explanation, Elvidge was satisfied with the response, and the resolution was approved. Flynn asked why the sewer engineering firm was charging $200 an hour, when rates of the previous engineer were approximately $125. Russo said the vendor far exceeded the previous vendor, and, Russo was comfortable continuing with them for a second year. Flynn accepted, and offered the resolution, and it was approved. The next resolution, for salary increase, created some debate between Ricciardo and Russo. Ricciardo said he was not comfortable with allocating a salary percentage for a budget not yet adopted. Ricciardo was not present at the meeting when it was previously discussed, and Elvidge, who was, now said he thought it was “premature,” to offer the increase. “I respectfully disagree,” said Russo, who said he wanted to take out uncertainties for non-union staff. Ricciardo described the action as “cumbersome,” and said, “I very much oppose it for a budget that has not been adopted, or discussed.” Ricciardo moved for the resolution to be denied, and no one approved of the change. Instead, Becker offered the motion as presented, with Diglio seconding it. Becker, Flynn, and Diglio voted “yes,” and Ricciardo and Elvidge, “no.” Ricciardo asked for further clarification on the snow removal trust fund, which Russo outlined some costs from Hurricane Sandy cleanup, which required reimbursement, including $20,000 in overtime, $8,100 in expenses, $1,000 in the insurance deductible, and a $6,000 cost for SCMUA. Once Ricciardo understood the resolution, he offered it, and after it was seconded, the council approved it.
· Russo said he attended the Spring Street Merchants meeting last Thursday, and he liked an idea proposed by Don Meng of Craft Creators, with members of the council choosing businesses on Spring Street to “adopt.” If council members choose to adopt a business, they will spend some time with their adopted business outside of working hours, to help answer any questions or concerns the business owner may have.
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