Theresa Gazaway Appointed Lieutenant of New Providence Police Department; Oakwood Park Ballot Question Wording on Agenda for Next Borough Council Meeting

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Theresa Gazaway is sworn in as lieutenant of the New Providence Police Department at Monday's council meeting. Pictured with her is her husband, Ron; children, Tyler and Victoria; Police Chief Anthony Buccelli and Mayor John Thoms.
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NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J.—The Borough Council adopted a resolution Monday night appointing Theresa Gazaway as lieutenant, gave an update on a wastewater feasibility study with Summit, passed a resolution to authorize the filing of an application for a grant for Lieder field and deferred to the next meeting wording for the ballot question on Oakwood Park.

Ms. Gazaway was promoted to lieutenant from sergeant. She is the sole lieutenant on the police force. Mayor John Thoms at the swearing-in ceremony said Ms. Gazaway "well deserves" the promotion, adding the council screened several potential candidates and "all were extremely qualified."

Ms. Gazaway started in November 1995 as a probationary patrol officer and went through the ranks, where she served as a detective, a patrol supervisor as sergeant and the accreditation manager for the police department. Police Chief Anthony Buccelli, who oversees 23 sworn officers in the police department, said Tuesday that as lieutenant one of Ms. Gazaway's main functions will be to oversee the training requirements of police officers, dispatchers and auxiliary police officers.

The wastewater project calls for New Providence to maintain Summit's pumping stations. Mayor Thoms said of the seven alternatives offered in a study, the consultant recommended option #2, which calls for twice daily inspections of each of Summit's four pump stations and a weekend inspection once daily on Saturday or Sunday. Councilman Michael Gennaro expressed concern about the project, saying "the devil is in the details." He said it would require the borough to hire another employee and noted that only one New Providence employee has a C-3 license to operate pumping stations and the collection lines of the sewer system. The fees collected from Summit would offset the cost associated with additional staff, Doug Marvin, Borough Administrator, said Tuesday.

Mayor Thoms said Summit's Common Council is meeting tonight about the project and said Summit officials expressed an interest in the project. The council asked Borough Attorney Carl Woodward to draft a contract, pending Summit's approval of the project.

The council approved a resolution authorizing the filing of the application for the Kids Recreation Trust Fund of Union County with Councilman James Cucco voting no. He cited residents' concern with the lights at Lieder field. The application seeks a grant from Union County for $166,109.64 for lighting at Lieder Field and recreation equipment.

The council deferred to its next meeting the wording on the referendum for Oakwood Park. The nonbinding resolution must be passed by the end of August in order to be put on the November ballot. The borough referendum calls for transferring ownership of Oakwood Park to Union County in return for $3.5 million in improvements.

One resident said she hopes the referendum wording will make clear the transaction. She said some people think the deal with the county will lower their taxes by $3.5 million.

Mr. Gennaro wanted to make certain that the wording of the referendum makes an effort to give a fair characterization, not tilting it one way or another. Borough Council President Julia MacDermott thought a simple statement on the ballot might work: Do you approve or disapprove of the Oakwood Park project? She said the full documents on the memorandum of understanding and contract draft would be on the borough's web site.

As for solar and wind energy, the council is looking into a "pre-emptive" ordinance that regulates the aesthetics of such units. Mayor Thoms said it's a start for crafting a proposed ordinance and getting something on the books for commercial property owners in particular as well as residential owners. The council will ask Borough Planner Jeff Janotta of Birdsall Engineering to give a report at the July 26 meeting. Councilman Gennaro said it was a good idea to have an ordinance as he has read about other communities that have had complaints from residents about the noise from wind turbines. If 60 decibels is the maximum, Mr. Gennaro would like to know what that noise level compares with.

The council also adopted a resolution to award a contract for sidewalk and driveway improvements from 37 Division Ave. to 65 Division Ave. The contract was awarded to Arnold's Road Inc. for $38,735.50. It is part of a $50,000 state fund from the New Jersey Department of Transportation's Safe Street to Transit Grant.

In other matters, Mr. Marvin said the shared services agreement for the Municipal Court with Berkeley Heights is ready to go. Under the shared court arrangement, the towns will share space while keeping their individual identities. Berkeley Heights Municipal Court will be working out of New Providence's office at 360 Elkwood Ave. beginning Aug. 12 with the first court session scheduled for Aug. 19.

Also Mr. Cucco reported that he is working with Mr. Marvin on examining municipal parking fees. "They are pretty low in New Providence," said Mr. Cucco.

The July 26 meeting of the Borough Council will start at 7 p.m. in order to hear three presentations: on the zoning map, which will reflect zoning changes that already have been adopted; the forestry report, which addresses all the trees in the borough; and a zoning ordinance proposal for solar and wind energy.

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