BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Presentations regarding the PSE&G Transmission Line update and the 2020 Bloomfield Center Alliance outlook were at the forefront of Bloomfield’s Township Council Conference Meeting on Monday evening, February 10, at Town Hall Council Chambers in the Municipal Building.

During the PSE&G Transmission Line and Washington Avenue substation update, Joe McQueen, Regional Public Affairs Manager and Bloomfield Township Liaison for all utility concerns on behalf of PSE&G, said “with the investments that have been going on in the Township of Bloomfield over the past several years, we have noticed significant growth, and to manage that growth, it seems we are going to have to replace some of the existing pole lines and do some work inside the substation.”

McGueen added that “some of the work will be quite disruptive, but we do have a plan that encompasses (informational) outreach to residents, including door hangers, phone calls and our website.”

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Based on the needs of the community, McGueen stressed that “all residents in the areas of upcoming work will be notified in advance to make sure, among other concerns, traffic will not be impacted.”

Council members then asked McGueen some questions, while others made statements in the best interest of residents to be affected by more utility work in the township.

“With Bloomfield being the fourth largest community in Essex County, this is an opportunity for PSE&G to spread goodwill and I would much appreciate putting out a list of all upcoming repairs along with a timetable,” said Councilman Nick Joanow.  “We need to be notified of when, where and how long, and show that PSE&G really cares about this community.”

McGueen concluded by stating, “all work will be done within the next three years.”

Ollyn Lettman, Executive Director of Bloomfield Center Alliance, presented an outline of the changes in the 2020 BCA Budget since it was last presented.  Lettman also detailed the events and activities that took place last year, as well as a strategic plan for this year.

“2019 was a very busy year as we continued to try and find many different ways to bring people to the downtown area and created an interest and a buzz,” said Lettman.  “We are encouraging people to shop and support the downtown.”

Regarding the Gateway to Bloomfield project located in downtown Bloomfield Center next to the Garden State Parkway, Lettman said a community survey was issued to 260 people to get thoughts and input about what is going on and what needs to happen in that area.

The preliminary report is under review.

Questions and follow-up remarks ensued from council regarding the BCA and Gateway strategic plan for 2020.

“We need to make sure we are in contact with the realtors and the landlords of open spaces to make sure that two of the same businesses will not be located next door to each other,” Mayor Michael Venezia said.  “Having similar businesses located within walking distance of each other is a recipe for disaster.”

A Proclamation was issued by Councilwoman Jenny Mundell declaring the week February 1st through February 8th as National Gun Violence Survivors Week in the Township of Bloomfield.

“Every day, 100 Americans are killed by gun violence and on average there are nearly 13,000 gun homicides every year,” said Mundell.  “Every year, over 36,000 Americans are killed in acts of gun violence and 73,000 more are shot and wounded.”

By early February, more Americans are killed with guns than are killed in peer countries in an entire calendar year.

“A gun violence survivor is anyone who has personally experienced gun violence – whether you have witnessed an act of gun violence, been threatened or wounded with a gun, or had someone you know and cared for wounded or killed,” Mundell added.  “(Bloomfield) renews our commitment to reduce gun violence and pledge to do all we can to keep firearms out of the wrong hands and encourage responsible gun ownership to help keep our communities safe.”

Among the public comments at the meeting, resident Andrew Smith referenced a recent school bus incident at Coeyman and East Passaic Avenues, where allegedly a bus had to swerve at the last second to avoid hitting a crossing guard and two other individuals, including a student.

The incident was caught on video and shared in various social media circles.

“Being that he was operating a school bus, the driver had to know that children are at that intersection,” Mr. Smith said.

Two summonses were issued to the bus driver.

Smith pleaded to that council that body cameras need to be worn on crossing guards for the safely of themselves and the children.

Mayor Venezia responded, saying “the Bloomfield Police Department will further look into the incident and respond accordingly.”

Other public comments revolved around the scheduling dates for meetings regarding property tax revaluations, and additional support was raised by residents in support of crossing guards being outfitted with body cameras while on duty.

In liaison reports, Councilman Nick Joanow reminded residents to please not use plastic bags, and to separate their recycling and not contaminate bottles, cans, cardboard and newspapers by placing garbage in those bins.

Councilwoman Nina Davis acknowledged those who submitted essays for the annual contest, noting that 276 entries were received.

Councilman Ted Gamble announced there is one open spot on the Bloomfield Animal Shelter Advisory Board and invited residents who may be interested to come out to their next meeting.

All items on the agenda were moved.

Present at the meeting were Mayor Michael Venezia, First-Ward Councilwoman Jenny Mundell, Second-Ward Councilman Nicholas Joanow, Councilwoman-at-Large Nina Davis, Councilman-at-Large Ted Gamble and Councilman-At-Large Richard Rockwell.  Not present was Third-Ward Councilwoman Sarah Cruz.

Also in attendance were Township Administrator Matthew Watkins, Township Attorney Michael Parlavecchio, Township Engineer Paul Lasek, Municipal Clerk Louise Palagano and Fire Chief Lou Venezia.

The Township Council holds its next monthly Regular Meeting on Monday, February 24, 7 pm at the Council Chambers at the Municipal Building.