NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Mother Nature is playing havoc with much needed improvements including artificial turf at the borough’s Hillview Field.

Councilman Alan Lesnewich told fellow Borough Council members at Monday night's council meeting that plans for completion for summer usage were in jeopardy due to inclement weather that has left the field drenched and soggy.

Original plans called for construction to take place when the field was frozen allowing heavy trucks to traverse grass areas that will be preserved for field use.

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The councilman explained that damage to existing grass would prompt large replacement expenses. “We may not be able to do anything until the end of summer,” he added.

Council President Michael Gennaro, who is the chairman of the Finance Committee, said there has been much progress on a 2013 budget which will be presented to council members on March 11.

“We’re in pretty good shape,” he said, but lamented the loss and impact of almost $13 million from commercial property valuations. He added that the next two or three years could be difficult.

In a rare action, the Brought Council passed a resolution opposing a State Assembly bill entitled The Thomas P. Canzanella Twenty First Century Responders Protection Act.

According to the language of the resolution, the proposed bill would make it almost impossible to contest claims from injuries and illnesses caused off-the-job by public safety employees and volunteers.

The bill places the burden of proof on governmental employers to establish that an injury or illness such as cancer, heart attack or hypertension did not occur on the job.

The resolution went on to state that passage of the bill could easily double municipal workers compensation expense of $400 million per year.

Council members Dr. Bob Robinson and Armand Galluccio applauded the efforts of the New Providence Municipal Alliance during 2012. “It was another successful year,” Dr. Robinson said.  The Alliance sponsors many outstanding programs to help reduce the incidence of drug and alcohol abuse.

Galluccio said that an important funding source for the Alliance is derived from clothing collection bins located at the Rescue Squad.

Councilman Robert Munoz, who serves as liaison to the Board of Education, reported on the successful introduction of iPads to freshman through junior students at New Providence High School. 

“Next school year, seniors will also receive the devices,” he added.

Last night’s meeting also served as a platform for appreciation and recognition.

Resident Elizabeth Ertman was presented with a proclamation from Mayor J. Brooke Hern for her generous donation to the Performing Arts Program sponsored by the Recreation Department to purchase new stage lighting and sound equipment.

Hern also recognized the Murray Hill Inn, which opened its doors 30 years ago. “In that time, they have become a valued business partner of the borough,” Hern said.

The mayor noted that the Murray Hill Inn has generously donated facilities for borough functions and meetings.  During times of emergency, they have also generously provided living quarters for both employees and emergency workers. The proclamation was presented to the Boyle family and accepted by General Manager Kerry Lee.

Also taking center stage was former Councilman James Cucco who retired last year after almost 34 years of service.

During those years, Cucco became known for his attention to detail and counting every penny.

Receiving a rather large proclamation from Mayor Hern, Cucco quipped, “I hope I have a wall large enough to put this on.”