SPRINGFIELD, NJ - It was Civics Day at Tuesday’s 2 p.m. Township Committee meeting. Seventh grade students from Florence M. Gaudineer School shadowed Township officials all day and participated in the Township Committee meeting. They were able to sit on the dais with elected officials, read prepared statements and participate in other activities.
Robert Barranger from Cornerstone Architectural Group LLC did a presentation on the Pool Renovation Project. The design almost doubles the size of the pool house with an addition in the back toward the pool. A multi-purpose room will be added and includes a fitness center and a family friendly bathroom. One half of the new building will be heated for year round use.
Later in the meeting, there was a bond ordinance authorizing the Township to appropriate the sum of $1,400,000 to make a down payment on the project. This allows the Township to authorize the issuance of bonds to finance the swimming pool utility and the issuance of temporary financing in bond anticipation notes .The entire project is expected to cost $2.0 to-2.5 million.
Police Chief John Cook reported to the Township Committee that a State Grant for Springfield received enabled the Police Department to focus on enforcement of seat belt violations under the “Click It or Ticket” program. The traffic stops resulted in 194 summonses for lack of seatbelt use as well as the use of cell phones while driving. The Chief said two arrests were made for driving while intoxicated. He reminded people to be careful of phone scams, particularly kidnap phone scams. If you ever have a question, please call the Police Department. Also, the Chief recommends not leaving pocketbooks unattended in grocery stores. There was a recent incident of theft of an unattended pocketbook.
Fire Chief Carlo Palumbo said the town is in the beginning stages of receiving new radios. The Fire Department will have to pay for radios but doesn’t have to pay for antennas or the maintenance of the antennas. The paperwork is still in process but the new radios will improve quality and lower costs.
Township Administrator Ziad Shehady reported on grant applications that are in process. Millenium Strategies has been working on grant applications. A $75,000 grant was received from the County on Municipal Aid and infrastructure. A grant for $25,000 was received for the Lacrosse program as a result of the efforts of Millenium. Township staff is looking into getting a grant for a dog park.
The energy auction happened on Tuesday for energy aggregation. The original winning bid was 9.03 per kilowatt or a savings of $31 per year for the average homeowner. This bid was rejected. A second bid came in at 8.89 per kilowatt hour. This is a savings of only eight percent. This would save the average homeowner $42 per year. Township Administrator Ziad Shehady’s analysis was that the saving had to be at least ten percent to make the program worthwhile. “Ten Percent is what you go with”, he said. The bid would have been for a two year contract. After discussion, the decision was made to strike the resolution to aggregate kilowatt hours from the agenda. According to Shehady, “That is what is so disappointing. We are aggregation millions of kilowatt hours, I would not recommend going with this program. It will not be worth the headaches”. The resolution was removed from the agenda.
On June 22, Township Hall will be closed to the public while the employees receive in-house training.
Mr. Shehady reported on the data breach. Letters have gone out to all those affected. Hundreds of calls have been handled at Township Hall, Police Dispatch, etc.
Under public comments Maria Rakova of 114 Adams Terrace approached the podium. She said when she moved to Adams Terrace it was “The reason we bought our house, a quaint little place, a lovely park”. She then said, ‘But with things happened. First a baseball field was added, then a larger baseball field, more bleachers, then a concession stand. Now, lights are always on at night”. She presented the Township Committee with photographs to prove her point. She complained of parking issues and the crowds that play at the basketball court and the taking of ‘their meadow’.
Mayor Stampoulos asked, “What should be addressed first?” Parking appeared to be the biggest issue and Police Chief Cook was asked to address the issue. A number of other residents approached to discuss their displeasure with issues at the park. The residents were repeatedly told to call the Police Department with complaints. Mayor Diane Stampoulos said the Township would look into the issues of the lights immediately.
The Committee at this point moved to Executive Session.