January 11, 2017 at 4:00 AM
SPRINGFIELD, NJ – This was the first meeting of Mayor Stampoulos’s tenure and it was a short one. The meeting started on a very positive note with the swearing in of the 2017 Officers of Springfield First Aid Squad.
After the officers were sworn in by the Mayor, President Elizabeth Fritzen of the squad made some comments. She noted that Springfield’s First Aid Squad has provided service to the community for 67 years in a time when many other communities no longer have it. In 2016 the squad’s 40 volunteers answered 1,750 calls. The squad also added 17 new volunteers during the year. Fritzen noted they would have liked to add more but were capacity constrained.
There were then two other “Proclamations & Announcements. First, Township Committeewoman Vassallo announced the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Vigil for Peace was scheduled Monday, January 16 from Noon to 1 p.m. It will be held in the Municipal Building on the second floor. It is sponsored by Springfield Interfaith Clergy Council and the Township Committee. All are welcome.
The second was announced by Township Committeewoman Bujnowski. She said there will be a free rabies clinic sponsored by Madison Board of Health on Saturday, January 14.. It will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chisholm Community Center on 100 South Springfield Avenue. The clinic was originally scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. There were no public comments on the agenda items.
The next part of the meeting was the reports by the Department heads. Of note, the Township spent about $1 million less than budgeted for 2016 due to strong oversight of spending and cost management.
Police Chief Cook said the state gave the Township a $15,700 Safe Corridor Grant to be applied for activities on Route 22. It is up from last year’s $10,000 grant and will likely be used for some type of enforcement equipment. He then talked about Project Medicine Drop, which has resulted in the collection of 920 pounds of prescription medicine. Expect to hear a lot more about it when collections reach 1,000 pounds. Springfield is one of a few towns in Union County with the program. He highlighted the need to remain vigilant as some people had packages stolen just outside their front door and had their car stolen because they left the engine running because they wanted to “run into a store and do a quick errand.” Lastly, he noted there was a heroin overdose but the person was saved because the police were able to provide the appropriate antecdote.
Fire Chief Palumbo said he hopes to get about $70,000 in rebates again this year from the state. He is also working on getting the inspections schedule set. Lastly, he noted the county made available new radios that are an upgrade to the system and that Springfield managed to get four instead of the planned two.
Township Administrator Shehady indicated he would likely propose adding a grant writer at an investment of $30,000 in hopes of getting grants from well over $200,000. The person in mind would be kept on a monthly retainer and has knowledge of the county, state and corporate grant opportunities. Some of the grants may require a matching grant from the Township and so, Shehady asked the Committee to consider that in their immediate budget deliberations. He then raised the prospect of moving to one community alert system. Currently, two are used and they are the older Code Red system and Union County’s First Alert System. The cost of Code Red is going up and if the entire system is migrated to First Alert, the Township would appear to be able to save money based on its old lower cost. It will probably be considered at the next meeting.
Lastly, Township Committeeman Huber commented about Joe Pepe after the Township Committee approved a request from Fran Corcione to use the Springfield Pool Parking Lot on
Sunday, April 2. Form the lot, people will catch a bus trip to Atlantic City for Joe Pepe III Sportmanship fund. He reminded people that Joe Pepe was a Springfield fireman who gave his all for the Township up until the day he died. He encouraged people to participate any way they could.