NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley’s young recycling advocate requested a single-use bag ordinance during the public comment portion of the Tuesday, July 2 Board of Commissioners meeting.

Braden Somers, 13, of Girl Scout Troop 20642, said on April 2, 2019 Clean Ocean Action released their 2018 Beach Sweeps Annual Report. Somers said the report highlighted the 12 most commonly collected items labeled as the “Dirty Dozen.” Somers said 93 percent is plastic debris including bags and foam plastic. “Marine debris is a human cause, human solved issue,” she said.

Somers said 22 municipalities New Jersey and Atlantic County have plastic bans in place, with another three or four joining by January of 2020. Somers also pointed out various towns in Essex County and Asbury Park in Monmouth County already have pending ordinances to ban single use plastic.

Sign Up for E-News

“I am the future of Nutley, as a citizen and an entrepreneur, I ask my municipal leaders to follow these examples and show your commitment to reversing this human caused problem,” said Somers. “Now is the time to usher in a new wave of social responsibility and take the steps to make sure my generation will not have to continue to suffer from this crazy plastic world that seems to have caught up with us,” she added.

Somers asked the Commissioners to create an ordinance for the township to ban single-use plastics. Somers said Plastic Free July is a global movement and asked them to sign up for the challenge at PlasticFreeJuly.org

Evans said he wants to continue the discussion with Somers. He said he has been working with the Nutley Park ShopRite on a plan that would ban single-use plastic bags.

Evans said an ordinance on single-use plastic bags is in the works with the rest of the commissioners and should be ready by the end of the year. He said there are some places that they still need to be used such as when handling raw meat. Evans hope the ordinance will be expanded to include plastic straws and plastic foam.

Rory Moore of Nutley, questioned the $20,045.65 charge from Pennoni Associates Inc. on the July 2 bill list. Evans said it was for a traffic study for the railroad crossing at Highfield Lane.

Moore also questioned the phone bill charges on the list equaling $4,407.02. Lines items were $405.45 (public affairs); $481.86 (revenue and finance) $2,490.33 (public safety); $330.15 (parks and public property) and $699.23 (water utility) AT&T mobility.

Tucci said the amount the township pays for service a month was drastically reduced and all municipal employees have iPhone 8 and it costs the township 99 cents for each phone and the monthly charge is $40 a month per a phone.

Moore questioned Evans on the employment positions construction inspector and code enforcer for Code Enforcement Department. Moore also questioned the need for a second Clerk II position. Evans said he had transferred someone from Code Enforcement to the Purchasing Department, due to a retirement.  Moore claims his reasoning for asking is because the permit he applied for was not filled out properly. Township Attorney Alan Genitempo explained that permits are generally filled out by the homeowners not the Code Enforcement Department.

Moore asked Evans with a potential tax increase of 3.86 percent why he was hiring more people. Evans said the increased for the third quarter was only at 2 percent.

Maria Bozza expressed concerns with people allegedly lingering out front of Viola Bros Inc., 180 Washington Ave. She claims men sit in their cars, change clothes and eating and she assumes waiting for jobs.

Petracco said, “Me [sic] personally I applaud anybody that wants to go to work for a living. However if they are changing in cars and eating, leaving papers we can send a car to patrol that area. […]It’s a public street and people are allowed to stand on public streets. It’s still America, here in Nutley too.”

According to Bozza they are not from town and she believes they shouldn’t wait there for jobs. “They don’t speak English. […] I don’t think it gives Nutley a very nice picture for one thing. […] I pay taxes, they don’t,” she said.

Petracco asked, “So if you don’t live in Nutley you can’t walk through here, you can’t stand on the sidewalk.”

Petracco said he would speak to Nutley Police Chief Thomas Strumolo about the littering and loitering.