NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Tall Oaks resident Allen Swanson attended the Monday, March 11 Borough Council meeting to express his annoyance with the way the council had handled the discussion regarding three New Providence properties with suspected soil contamination.

At the Feb. 25 council meeting Mayor Al Morgan read the correspondence items listed on the agenda. They included three notifications from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding suspected hazardous discharge at 14 Tall Oaks Drive, 44 Kendrick Drive, and 20 Overhill Road. The council members briefly discussed the issue stating that the suspected contamination most likely had to do with the removal of an oil tank during construction. PSE&G had reported the suspected contamination to the DEP. The hazardous chemical was identified as vanadium tetrachloride in the DEP document.

Swanson had written to the council about their alleged “inaccuracies” during its discussion at the Feb. 28 meeting. He also addressed the council at the March 11 meeting. He alleged that the council members “trivialized” the issue and were disrespectful in their comments to the property owners affected by the contamination. He was also not pleased with the lack of information to residents regarding the notifications.

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Council President Michael Gennaro pointed out that the opinions about the council should not be formed just by the brief discussion regarding the DEP notifications. He said that the council members did not trivialize the issue. He noted that Councilman Robert Robinson used to live in that same neighborhood.

Mayor Al Morgan pointed out that the council has no role in this process as state guidelines must be followed and the DEP is in charge of the investigation. However, he noted that the chemical found in the area in question is used to lubricate the gaskets on gas lines.

With regard to other news Robinson noted that the borough continues to reach out to other municipalities to expand its shared services program. He also announced that the county is planning a two percent tax increase this year.

Furthermore, Robinson told the council that he and Councilwoman Nadine Geoffroy attended a rally against high density housing, during which many representatives of the neighboring towns agonized over the impact of the new affordable housing regulations on schools and sewer systems. The borough will hold an affordable housing meeting for residents on Monday, March 18 at 7 pm at the Borough Hall.

Geoffroy also reminded that the Narcan training session will take place on March 28 at the Borough Hall. The first 30 participants will receive a Narcan kit.

The council will introduce the 2019 budget at the March 25 meeting. The meeting will start at 7:30 pm.