Ordinance on Berkeley Heights Township Council's Agenda Would Close Some Committee Meetings To the Public

Township Council at work Credits: Barbara Rybolt

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Tuesday night, Jan. 24, should be a busy night for the Township Council.

There are four ordinances being introduced that evening:

The one which has produced extensive discussion on the internet is an ordinance to amend and update the terms of various township committees, in particular the Communications Committee, Downtown Beautification Committee, Memorial Park Renewal Committee and Peppertown Park Renewal Committee. 

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Currently, the meetings are held on set days and times, are open to the public and each committee must file an end of year report.

The proposed ordinance would make each meeting closed to the public, unless otherwise specified by the committee. The meetings also do not have to be held on publicly announced specific dates and times. Since the meetings are not open to the public, they would not be live-streamed or otherwise broadcast. 

In addition, the committees will no longer be required to file a proposed annual budget to the township council or file annual reports of their activities. 

Finally, the committees may seek their own funding, hold fundraisers, apply for grants and use the money as appropriate to their mission, with all expenditures approved by the council.  

Other ordinances to be introduced include one for the $28 million bond ordinance for the Municipal Complex, an ordinance re-appropriating $17,000 to acquire a digital sign board for the Police Department and an ordinance to amend the minimum and maximum salaries/compensation for "elected and appointed" officials and non-union employees. 

The public hearing and final vote on the ordinance establishing the redevelopment plan for 100 Locust Ave. will not be held as planned. The Planning Board has not returned the plan to the Township Council. That vote will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

The Township Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, in the council chambers of the Town Hall, 29 Park Ave. Members of the public are invited to attend.  A copy of the agenda is available on the township website.    


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