HOLMDEL, NJ - The Holmdel Township Committee held their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 12th. The discussions of recreation and fire safety dominated most of the public comment period. On the agenda was a $2.5 million bond ordinance set for introduction. The funding is designed for recreation improvements for numerous parks and fields. The ordinance did not list any of the projects contemplated but Commiteeman Thomas Critelli stated that it was discussed last year during Executive Session. Much of the public comment in the meeting was regarding the setting of priorities between recreation and fire safety. Numerous attendees spoke in favor of recreation improvements. Others expressed concerns that fire safety was kept a priority. They were assured that it woud be a priority.
Mayor Hinds commented prior to the introduction, "Recreation is very very important, as is fire safety... next Tuesday we are going to be in a retreat. Over the next three weeks we are going to be working on our budget for this year. I can assure you that fire safety is it at the top of our priorities."
"We have a number of solutions that are going to make this town better and safer". said Hinds.
According to fellow Committeeman Rocco Pascucci, "Let's fix our problems. And we are. We are going to fix recreation tonight. We are going to fix the fire department very shortly, not in a year, not in six months but within a couple months, a couple weeks. Once we get the budget done, you're going to be surprised. I think the people who don't think so will be carrying us out on a pedestal, not tarring and feathering us for the fire department. It is going to happen."
The recreation bond was introduced unanimously by the Township Committee. It will have a second reading and public hearing at the next Township Committee meeting.
Pascucci did ask before the vote where they were spending the money - According to Township Administrator Donna Viero it will be:
- Ackerson Park,
- Senior Center and Community Center,
- Cross Farm,
- Locations at the High School Softball Field,
- Village School,
- Tennis Center and
- Philips Park
Pascucci further stated in his comments that if the volunteer recruitment doesn't work that they would need to have a paid fire department. However, in a news release the next day, Mayor Hinds wrote that Holmdel Township would not transition to a paid department. The town's expert suggested a number of paid members supplemented by volunteers. Ultimately, if volunteer recruiitment efforts fail, a paid department that was recommended by the town consultant would be the subject of further discussions, according to Committeeman Pascucci.
Video courtesy of CILU.