NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council adopted an ordinance that sets forth the fee schedule for various borough services and programs at its Monday, June 26 meeting. The council also adopted a “do not block the box” ordinance to alleviate congestion on Springfield Avenue and South Street. Additionally the council carried on its discussion regarding the borough’s ongoing roadwork and traffic safety on Mountain Avenue.
The council began its discussion on fees in February. The fee schedule was based on borough employees’ vision of updating the town’s service fees to the same level to match peer municipalities. However, council members raised their concern regarding the sudden large fee hikes. In some cases the fee increase was 1900 percent. Subsequently the council requested that Construction Officer Keith Lynch explain some of the proposed changes in the fee structure, especially the large changes in fees, such as for example, the single home sewer connection fee.
In April, Lynch explained that the sewer connection fee increase "was a starting point.” It is a new fee that was “missing” from the existing ordinance. The fee is meant only for those who are “buying” into the sewer system. This would apply to subdivisions and new homes. It wasn’t going to affect many residents nor amount to a lot of money accruing to the borough’s coffers, Lynch said.
While the councilmen agreed that the borough’s fee structure needs to be updated, they preferred that the fees be increased on a gradual basis. The adopted fee ordinance reflects more modest increases to the borough’s service fees, permits and licenses.
The second new ordinance is prohibiting drivers from stopping or standing “in a designated and marked box in a manner that would block ingress or egress to the adjacent property.” The ordinance affects certain sections of Springfield Avenue and South Street.
Mayor Al Morgan reiterated his request for residents to remain patient during the infrastructure work that is going on in the borough this summer. The pipeline projects by NJ American Water Company and PSE&G has wreaked havoc on the borough’s own roadwork schedule as many borough neighborhoods have been affected by the utility projects.
However, the borough is going to continue its own road paving and sealcoating programs this summer. The borough is also conducting sidewalk repair and replacement work during the summer months. Borough Administrator Doug Marvin noted that the borough started its roadwork scheduling 20 years ago. “We have pretty much kept up with the plan,” he said.
Marvin also advised the council the NJ American Water Company will provide a contribution of $42,000 towards the road paving work.
The borough is also continuing talks with the county regarding pedestrian and traffic safety issues on Mountain Avenue. Potential safety measures include narrowing the road, lower and uniform speed limits as well as better street lighting, especially at the intersections.