SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – A Hamilton Road resident whose home was burglarized in July asked the village Board of Trustees on Monday night to consider closing off Finlay Avenue as a measure to help prevent crime.

In other discussion, the board learned that the contract with the South Orange Police Benevolent Association is close to being finalized. Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. said that the contract calls for a 2 percent raise for each of the three years of the contract. It also adds salary steps so that it will take longer for a police officer to reach the top of the pay scale.

In the matter of Finlay Avenue, Joe Boswell, of 666 Hamilton Road, told trustees that he lost $8,000 worth of items in the break-in and the thief or thieves returned with a spare key they had stolen and took his roommate’s car.

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“Because Finlay Avenue is a thoroughfare, it makes a very easy exit,” he told trustees. “Not only do you get through traffic that really shouldn’t be there in the first place, but it’s a half a block and you’re into Newark and East Orange.”

Boswell told trustees that it’s not a problem confined to his neighborhood. “Every time something like that happens, it’s printed in the papers, (and) and it reduces property values in South Orange,” he said. “And that’s something that should be of interest to everybody here, certainly.”

He noted that other streets in the area have been closed off. “I would like to make an impassioned plea that like the rest of our neighborhood and the area, that we put a gate or stop the traffic on Finlay,” he said. “Is it possible to consider closing that down? And if so, what steps need to be taken to make that happen?”

The request was referred to the Transportation Committee and the Public Safety Committee.

In other action:

  • Village President Alex Torpey reconstituted the Public Information and Marketing Committee, saying that the previous committee, formed in 2011, was defunct. The committee would consist of 11 individuals appointed by Torpey, and he said he had “projects lined up” for the members. Residents interested in volunteering for the committee can visit the village website for more information.
  • Awarded a contract for an updated asbestos assessment of Village Hall, which Lewis said is necessary before asbestos abatement can begin. The contract with Hatch, Mott, McDonald is not to exceed $17,500.
  • Authorized various purchases and payments, including buying a utility truck/crane for $87,012; purchasing firearms for the police department for $30,722.60; and installing a main wireless antenna for $8, 875.
  • Reviewed a draft of procedural rules taken from “Robert’s Rules of Order.” Torpey said the purpose was “to help us organize ourselves a little better.” The rules will not be made public until the draft is finalized.