MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Township Committee session on Sept. 6 felt more like a packed variety show than a mundane meeting. Three candidates vied for nomination to a vacant seat on the committee, and several important town ordinances were approved. Community participants also added to the high volume of the event.
The appointment of a new committee member took center stage as three candidates, Amy Jo Curran, Ian Grodman, and Garnet Hall, each gave a short speech outlining why they desired the position. All three were met with warm approval by the existing Township members, but in the end it was attorney Ian Grodman who received the honor after a unanimous vote. Grodman was sworn in immediately to fill the vacant seat left by Marlon Brownlee, and Grodman will serve a four-month term until December 31, 2016.
The Township Committee approved three new stop signs for various intersections around Maplewood. The new stop signs will be placed at the following intersections:
- The intersection of Maplewood Ave. and Baker St.
- The intersection of Field Rd.and Porter Rd.
- The intersection of Porter Rd. and Schaefer Rd.
The re-striping of pedestrian crosswalks in several areas was also discussed.
Mayor Vic DeLuca mentioned the walk-in warrant program, stating he felt that many members of the community may not know about the program. According to DeLuca, warrants can result from simple infractions like unpaid parking tickets or unresolved Township violations, which means that non-criminal community members could be arrested for relatively minor outstanding warrants. The program, which DeLuca toted as an effort by the township to be more “customer friendly,” allows anyone with an outstanding warrant to get immediate time in front of a judge upon arriving at court with no hidden penalty or punishment.
The Finance Committee discussed the rising costs of the Maplewood Jitney for the first time, and opinions indicated a consensus for a minimum increase of $8 for an annual pass in 2017 ($100, up from $92 currently) and a daily increase of $0.50 ($2, up from $1.50 currently). These increases are in part to cover the depreciation of vehicles, and also an effort to ensure tolls cover at least 40 percent of operational costs, according to Township officials.
A broken flue pipe within the Maplewood Municipal Court building in need of replacement was mentioned, but no firm action was taken. The repair will replace the entire system at an estimated $250,000, and the cost is labeled as emergency which means it can be paid without consideration to the 2016 or 2017 financial budgets, Township officials stated.
Community guest and passionate advocate Grace Miller, wife of the late Robert Miller, attended the meeting with her four daughters. She was joined by St. James Gate owner John Meade to address the council and attendees about the Robert J. Miller Oysterfest, a benefit event at The Woodland in Maplewood on Sat., Sept. 17. The event will feature a magic show, photo booth, pig roast, and free melanoma screenings.
The Maplewood Township Committee will meet again Tues., Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Maplewood Police and Court Building at 1618 Springfield Avenue in Maplewood.