MILLBURN, NJ - For the first time in about 10 years, the Millburn Police Department is up to its full complement of 54 employees, Police Chief Greg Weber said at Tuesday’s Township Committee meeting.
Weber made the statement following the swearing in of a new officer, 26-year-old Michael Lanni of Clark. Lanni will begin training at the Essex County Police Academy in January and should finish in June.
In other business, the governing body passed an $800,000 capital ordinance for improvements to the stormwater drainage system, roads, curbs, sidewalks and other infrastructure and public property due to Hurricane Irene in 2011. The work is to be done in the South Mountain area, which experienced the worst flooding in the municipality.
During the session, the audience was treated to a showing of a recently completed promotional video for the township. “Millburn USA: One of America’s Greatest Towns” was produced over a 6-month period by longtime resident and former advertising executive Michael Becker.
The township paid him $20,000 to make the 5-minute piece, which shows scenes from everyday life. The video can be viewed at www.MillburnUSA.com and the municipality’s Web site, www.twp.millburn.nj.us.
When it came time for public discussion, Old Short Hills Road resident Ken Ettinger took the committee to task for failing to communicate the progress that has been made in cleaning up from Superstorm Sandy in late October.
“I’m disappointed that we as a township… don’t follow the same guidelines that we complained JCP&L didn’t do,” he said.
Ettinger said only that day had downed telephone poles been taken off his street.
He pointed out that the township had to make a report to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but that kind of information had not been delivered to residents. He reiterated a request he made at an earlier meeting for a report card.
"It’s incumbent on our leaders to tell us what’s going on,” he elaborated.
Assistant Township Administrator Alex McDonald responded by saying that information has been put on the municipality’s Web site about where the Department of Public Works is currently working. The township is about a week behind on its leaf pickup, and debris and leaf crews are working together, he added.
McDonald said lists of downed wires and poles were given to JCP&L and Verizon and he has taken photos to encourage action.
Committee member Ted Bourke pointed out that local administrators have been pushing the utilities to take action and making an effort to let residents know the municipality’s schedule.
Nevertheless, Committee member Sari Green suggested, “The information needs to be more effectively disseminated.”
Committee member Thomas McDermott noted local officials have put the cost of the storm to the township at $500,000. That amount includes removal of trees and debris and overtime for emergency services.
At the opening of the session, Mayor Sandra Haimoff asked for a moment of silence following the flag salute "in memory of the beautiful children and the brave teachers who lost their lives last Friday.” She was referring to the shootings that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.