NUTLEY, NJ - Northwest Essex Community Healthcare resolution passed and fund cuts to Nutley Family Service Bureau addressed during Nutley’s open public meeting Wednesday evening, July 5
Public Affairs Commissioner Steven L. Rogers request to amend a resolution of an agreement with Northwest Essex Community Healthcare, a non-profit corporation in Belleville, was passed by the Commissioners Thomas J. Evans, Rogers and Petracco. Mayor Scarpelli and Commissioner Tucci abstained from voting on this resolution due to conflicts of interest. Tucci is the CEO/Secretary of Northwest Essex Healthcare. In the original resolution passed on Nov. 21, 2016 it was said the Township was to pay $10,000 for services rendered for Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017. The amended agreement changes the amount from $10,000 to $15,000.
A resolution to authorize an electronic tax sales pilot program to provide a greater pool of potential lien buyers, and to create a more complete tax sale process, was approved. Also a contract without competitive bidding was awarded for the state approved tax sale system, with a max amount of $7,000, to ROK Industries, doing business as, NJ Tax Lien Investors.com.
A refund for payment made to the Department of Public Works/Go Green Initiative of $55 to resident Denise Klonsinki was permitted. Also permitted was Nutley Parent Advocacy Networks request for 50/50 and merchant raffles for Oct. 13, 2017.
Rory Moore addressed the board on the professional service contract to Northwest Essex Community Healthcare Network listed on the agenda. “Is there a reason this was not awarded to Nutley Family Service Bureau,” he asked.
Commissioner Rogers’s response to the question was to cut the township spending from $65,000 to $15,000 and he claims Northwest Essex Community Healthcare Network provides expanded mental health services.
“The research we did with the help of Commissioner Tucci and the help of Commissioner Petracco. Commissioner Petracco with the HOPE Committee with regard to drug rehabilitation and Commissioner Tucci who has been very helpful providing resources that the County already had, we are able to develop a partnership with the County where we are going to have a representative from the county mental health clinic and the health department dealing with a lot of the issues that are being dealt with now with regard to the services provided by the Nutley Family Service, but with the expansion with of providing post-traumatic stress disorder counseling for our veterans and first responders,” said Rogers.
The township of Nutley hosted a workshop of multiple health professionals throughout the county at the parks and recreation department. “I was astounded over what was out there and what we as a township are now able to partnership with,” said Rogers. “I want to emphasize this Commissioner Tucci’s involvement was pretty simple, he was a resource, no conflict at all, he was a resource. What he put together in that county that I was unaware of, is I think is astounding. We are probably going to be the first town in the state that has a model program for veterans,” he said.
According to Scarpelli Northwest Essex has become a certified community behavioral health clinic and only one of seven in the state. “One stop shopping for people with mental health, addiction and other behavioral issues,” he added.
Tucci agreed with Scarpelli. “It’s a behavioral stop, a mental health stop and an addiction stop.” “For the first time we are incorporating our veteran and first responders who had to go through the [Veterans Affairs] with spotty at best services,” continued Tucci.
Resident John V. Kelly III questioned the fund cuts to Nutley Family Service Bureau. “Unintentionally or not [NFSB’s] value to this community is over simplified. Yes it does provide mental health services. It provides services well beyond just mental health services. It operates a food pantry; it puts food on the plate, on the table for people in this community not just people down in the street in Newark but people right in our own back yard,” he said.
“This organization provides a valuable service to this community by helping those in most need and I urge you guys to reconsider and find a way to continue to fund this organization. The Nutley Family Service Bureau provides a service that this government doesn’t provide,” said Kelly.
Rogers responded to Kelly’s plea. “[NFSB] services people from Belleville, Bloomfield and Glen Ridge and a few communities around us. I asked them a few times how much are those communities giving? I have an issue with the fact that Nutley taxpayers are always asking to go in their pockets and pay for everybody else. If it’s servicing other communities then maybe some other commutes should kick in,” said Rogers.
“We have churches that are very involved with feeding people and housing them,” added Rogers.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 18.