CHATHAM BOROUGH, NJ - Chatham Borough residents spoke out strongly in favor of the quick formation of a pool advisory committee at Monday night's meeting of the Chatham Borough Council. The referendum supporting the renovation of Memorial Pool was approved by voters on November 2. Members of the Council agreed that an advisory committee is in the best interest of the borough, but there was some debate regarding when, and in what ways, that committee should be involved.
Zoning Officer Vince DeNave estimated that a renovated pool could be ready for use within three to four months from the time money for the project is received; the main pool is leaking and needs to be replaced, while various other features have yet to be decided upon, such as a spray feature in the kiddie pool. If the regular bonding process is followed, the money may not be available until next spring or summer; therefore, an important time window may be closed.
Upon hearing this, resident Michael Dean, who had caught part of the broadcast at home, decided to attend the meeting so he could speak during the public comment portion.
“I don’t want to wait another year for a pool,” he said. His sense of urgency seemed to be shared by other residents in the audience, though DeNave stated that he will do what needs to be done to keep the pool open for the coming summer if it is the wish of the council.
Residents Martin Selzer and Sandy Roos reiterated that an advisory board should be formed quickly, and inquired as to whether that board would be involved right away in the planning process with DeNave.
Councilman James Lonergan suggested that the goals of the committee include increasing membership, ensuring that costs break even in order to prevent a burden on taxpayers, and improving the general environment for members. The council concluded that they are all in favor of an advisory committee, and specifics will be discussed at the next meeting.
In other business, the council passed a resolution to reject all bids for solid waste collection services due to what the borough considers to be a violation of the bidding statute, despite a request by Suburban Disposal, which has been the borough’s solid waste collection vendor for the past 10 years. The borough originally requested all bids to be in on October 26, by 2:00 pm. On October 12, the deadline changed to October 26 at 9:30 am. Still, two bids came in at 2:00 pm, but before the contract was awarded to any other vendor. New bids will be solicited.
Attorney Richard Trenk represents Suburban Disposal, and maintained that the borough was not in violation of the bidding statute because notice of the time change was published within the guidelines previously documented, and within state law.
“Suburban respectfully disagrees with the Council's determination and is thoroughly evaluating all of its legal remedies,” Trenk told The Alternative Press. “Suburban has provided exemplary service to the Borough of Chatham for the past ten years and looks forward to continuing.”