Township of Springfield – New Deputy Mayor Approved at Committee Meeting, October 25

From left to right - Adam Lieb, Bruce Bergen, Maria Vassallo, Geri Bujnowski, Diane Sampoulos, Jerry Fernandez and Robert Boettcher

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Some of the major items discussed and addressed at the October 25 Township Committee meeting were the appointment of a new Vice Chair / Deputy Mayor, a Kid’s Trust Fund Grant, affordable housing, summer camp, and a change in hiring standards for the Fire Department.

DEPUTY MAYOR – VICE CHAIR:  Mayor Fernandez called for nominations to Vice Chair / Deputy Mayor for the remainder of 2016.  Committeewoman Vassallo nominated Committeewoman Diane Stampoulos for Vice Chair.  Her nomination was seconded by Committeewoman Bujnowski.  It was passed with a voice vote.  Mayor Jerry Fernandez said, “I know how hard you work and have seen what you have done.  We are leaving the Township in good hands.”

GRANT:  Union County Freeholder Chair Bruce H. Bergen presented the Township Committee with a Kid’s Trust Fund Grant Award of $75,000.  It is a matching grant used for lighting project at Chisholm Park.  There will be eight light poles illuminating the field and the parking lot.

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AFFORDABLE HOUSING:  The Committee went into Executive Session to discuss litigation on affordable housing. 

Later in the meeting, the housing plan that is part of the Master Plan was discussed by Bruce Bergen, the Township Attorney for Affordable Housing.  He noted that the Township of Springfield is in compliance with the recent settlement with Fair Share Housing of New Jersey.  Still, Springfield owes another 200 affordable housing units.  In an already build out town, this is a challenge.  Plans have been developed to provide overlay zones that enable potential for compliance with the 2016 amendment to the Springfield Housing Element and Fair Share Plan enacted pursuant to court order.  Those plans could include two vacant lots on Morris Ave. to be zoned for affordable housing.  Other sources of new units should include future downtown development and potentially land bordering Route 22.  The settlement is retroactive to July 2015 and is in place until July 2025.

SUMMER CAMP:  Adam Lieb of the Recreation Department commented on pool camp and said that summer there was a waiting of 40 campers for the eight week program at the Community Pool.  He indicated that if one of the private camps that contract with the pool was not allowed to utilize the pool, the Township would recoup the lost revenue if at least 12 Springfield residents could have been accommodated and taken off of the list for the Township’s own pool camp, with all other factors being equal.

HIRING STANDARDS FOR FIRE DEPARTMENT:  First reading was on behalf of the Fire Chief.  He requested that the residency requirement for hiring be eliminated and shift the focus to merit.

LEAF COLLECTION:  According to Robert Boettcher of DPW, all leaves should be placed curbside starting November 1 for the annual leaf pick-up.  Leaves do not have to be bagged.  Only leaves and soft vegetative waste will be picked up.  During this period, 80% of the personal will be used for this effort.

GIRL SCOUTS:  Girl Scout Daisy Troop #40562 requested use of the Community Pool on November 2 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for community bon fire.  They did it after Hurricane Sandy and it created great community spirit and the Girl Scouts wish to repeat it.  The rain date is November 10.

OTHER: Rob Walton of JCP&L stated they are tree trimming at the Waverly Substation and that JCP&L has substantially increased its capital spending on infrastructure to $387 million in 2016.

Committeewoman Bujnowski stated her opposition to the gas tax and suggested those who agree to call their legislators.  She said “This increase in the gas tax is a hardship.  It is outrageous.  We can change this.  If you call your legislators, tell them if they vote for the gas tax increase their job is in jeopardy.”

PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Daniel Kirk of Short Hills Ave. said he is very concerned about the speeding on Short Hills Ave. because of the number of kids and wanted to know what will be done about it.  He was promised a report at the next meeting.

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