Two motions, spontaneously suggested by outgoing council members at Monday’s council meeting, caused some stir among council.
The first motion, a proposal by council member Ralph Chiappetta to appoint two part time patrol offices to full time, ultimately failed 5-2. The second motion, suggested by council member John Todorich, to install gates at the Ewing Park swimming pool parking lot passed 4-3.
For Chiappetta and Todorich, Monday was their penultimate meeting. Chiappetta lost in the May primaries and Todorich was defeated in the general election on Nov. 3. Both seconded each others’ motions.
During the new business segment of the meeting, Chiappetta asked for a motion appointing part time officers Jonathan Fauzey and Richard Kruger to full time positions. Although Chiappetta acknowledged that such appointments were not currently in the budget, he felt it could potentially save money by reducing overtime costs, especially during the holiday season.
However, council member Marilyn Mancini immediately objected.
“This issue can’t be sprung up on council. We’re $1 million dollars off in the budget,” Mancini said, referring to the 2016 budget planning, not the 2015 closing budget.
Council President Brad Ovial said that it was something council would need to talk about in depth before making a decision, but as the motion was seconded, asked for a roll call. Only Chiappetta and Todorich voted yes.
Following this, Todorich suggested a motion to place gates at the Ewing Park swimming pool parking lot in order to curb vandalism. He added that the gates should be closed at 11 p.m. He listed language, speeding and noise levels as reasons to prevent people from accessing the lot at night.
“The community has too much vandalism, which is why I also supported appointing full time officers,” Todorich said. “I pick up the trash people leave there and most recently, I found a table leg.”
Ovial agreed that vandalism and rowdy behavior at the parking lot is an issue, adding that people do doughnuts and drink in the lot. “There’s a small group causing havoc there and beyond just catching them, there’s other questions such as restitution for damages,” he said.
While Mancini agreed with an attempt to curb vandalism, she disagreed with installing gates due to the cost and concerns that gates will lower the aesthetic value. Instead, she suggested security cameras.
Council member David Decaria agreed with security cameras. However, he also considered gates to be a worthwhile idea once questions such as costs and who will be responsible for locking and unlocking are answered.
Borough Manager Bob Villella said he has been looking into installing security cameras at the lot. Mayor Anthony J. Court agreed with both gates and cameras.
“The problem with cameras is that kids have been shooting them out,” Court said. He added that although officers do patrol the area at night, they can’t be there all the time so it’s difficult to catch the perpetrators.
Ultimately, Ovial asked for a role call. DeCaria, Mancini and Connie MacDonald voted no. Ovial, Chiappetta, Todorich and Michelle Lamenza voted yes.