Scotch Plains – Fanwood Scotch Plains – Fanwood Scotch Plains – Fanwood Scotch Plains – Fanwood Scotch Plains – Fanwood THE TIMES
OUR 39th YEAR – ISSUE NO. 13-98 Published Every Thursday USPS 485200
Periodical – Postage Paid at Scotch Plains, N.J. Thursday, March 26, 1998
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BEING THEIR BEST...Brownie Troop No. 310 from McGinn Elementary School in Scotch Plains participated in the Girl Scout "Be Your Best" night at the school on March 6. Troops from the school performed songs from stage and screen. Baby items were collected and donated to Good Beginnings in Plainfield.
William A. Burke for The Times
ASSISTED LIVING OR A PARK?...Sunrise Assisted Living, the new owner of the former Scotch Plains Zoo property, is proposing to build a new facility on the land while the Township Council has begun plans to condemn and purchase the property if the deal goes sour. Scotch Plains officials propose to use the land for a park.
Scholarship Fundraiser Attracts Business Leaders
Whoever it was that once said "you can't mix business with pleasure" very likely couldn't have imagined the Snuffy's Pantagis.
That's where the Scotch Plains Business and Professional Associa- tion (SPBPA) sponsored its third straight SPBPA dinner-dance this past Friday night, March 20, and it was another success for the group that has grown to over 180 members since its inception in 1994.
Business leaders had a chance to converse over cocktails and an en- tree of either chicken and fish - all while listening to music as provided by a live disc jockey.
Ray Pardon, proprietor of Nuts n' Plenty and President of the associa- tion, provided an overview of the association's agenda for 1998.
Among the highlights are plans to rename East Second Street, West- field and Plainfield Avenues under the single name of Centre Boule- vard, in an attempt to identify and unify the downtown area.
Sixty banners have been proposed with the words, "Scotch Plains Town Centre" and the slogan "Enjoy the Towne Feeling."
The $8,000 cost to fund the cost of the banners will be split between the SPBPA and the budget for the Town- ship Council task force that was formed to address improvements to the downtown as recommended by
the 1997 Downtown Development Committee.
Also planned is a gazebo which will be built at the corner of the Village Green.
Councilman Martin Marks, who attended the event along with Coun- cilman Robert Johnston, said the plan is to have the gazebo, new signs and banners in place by Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.
He noted that the gazebo, among other things, could be used as a view- ing area for the Memorial Day Pa- rade.
As part of the SPBPA dinner dance, a 50/50 raffle and silent auction were held with proceeds going to the association's scholarship fund.
Upcoming activities by the group include a Classic Car Show and Craft Fair and the weekly New Jersey Farm- ers Market, all planned for the spring and fall. The association also orga- nizes Summer Sidewalk Sales in late July or early August, and a Halloween window painting contest in the fall.
Mr. Pardon noted that any business who is not a member and would like to join and support the work of the SPBPA can contact him at (908) 322- 7388.
The SPBPA is a non-profit corpo- ration with an 11-member Board of Directors representing a cross sec- tion of business and commercial in- terests. CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
Testimony Continues in Proposed Development for Townhouse Units
By CANDACE WALLER
Specially Written for The Times
The Scotch Plains Planning Board heard testimony from planner Betsey McKenzie Monday night regarding a 116-unit townhouse development
proposed for Meadow Street and Union Avenue.
Frances and Angeline Donato, sis- ters-in-law, own the 7.7-acre parcel. Some of the area is located near the Greenbrook flood plain.
The Donatos want to sell their prop- erty to K. Hovnanian, a construction company, which is seeking board ap- proval to build the townhouse units, 16 of which are designated for low- to moderate-income housing.
Eight would be for low income, with another eight designated as moderate income units in accordance with the Mount Laurel court deci- sion.
Ms. McKenzie, who owns a con- sulting firm in Flemington, said the development is described in builder's terms as "piggyback" units because there will be two units, one above the other.
"We wanted to use the slope in the design of the units," Ms. McKenzie said.
She testified that the Donato prop- erty would be an "ideal place" to put the low- and moderate-income units, and used the standards of the state Council On Affordable Housing (COAH) for her reasoning.
"This site meets suitable COAH standards," Ms. McKenzie said. "It has open space, parking, sewer and water. The accessibility issue is met."
Township Professional Planner Duggan Kimball had concerns about how the project will conform to rules for low- and moderate-income hous- ing. The plan, as it was presented, didn't include specifics about the locations of the Mount Laurel hous- ing.
"Basically the plans don't specify where the Mount Laurel units will be. It's the township's responsibility to comply with COAH requirements for affordable housing," Mr. Kimball said. "There needs to be a follow-up mechanism to check that (Mount
Laurel guidelines are being fol- lowed)."
Ms. McKenzie said that there will be no way to detect the low and mod- erate income housing from the rest. She said that most of the people who will be utilizing those units come from the surrounding area.
"My experience with people look- ing for affordable units is that they come from within the community, usually 10 to 15 minutes away," Ms. McKenzie said. "The very poor can- not afford to move from urban ar- eas."
Parking was another concern for the board members. According to the plan there are 266 spaces for parking, with 116 garages, 116 street spaces and 32 parking stalls.
Board Attorney Lawrence A. Woo- druff expressed concern about people taking parking spaces in the Mount Laurel section of the plan. Each unit is designated one space, with visitor parking available. Ms. McKenzie said she would look deeper into the park- ing issue.
This meeting focused on question- ing specifically for the planner and the board. Questions about zoning, which is out of the Planning Board's jurisdiction, were asked only in rela- tion to planning.
"The terms of zoning we cannot really change," Mr. Woodruff said. "As far as suitability of the site and test of flooding, I think the planner can get into this issue."
Ms. McKenzie on several occa- sions referred to the engineer when asked about retaining walls or other construction situations.
"I was very pleased with the inter- change tonight," said Township Coun- cilman and Planning Board member Martin Marks.
At one point, William Butler, the attorney for Weldon Materials, said "my problem is the board is protect-
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TOWNSHIP COUNCIL SEEKS TO TURN PROPERTY INTO PUBLIC PARK
Sunrise Assisted Living Unveils Plan for Facility On Former Zoo Property By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Times
The site of the former Scotch Plains Zoo at 1451 Raritan Road is back in the spotlight.
Its present owner, Sunrise Assisted Living, wants to build a 55,000 square-foot, 76-unit senior citizen residence on the site.
The proposed facility is designed for people who do not need full-time medical supervision, yet are not in- dependent enough to live alone. The average age of individuals entering the facility is 82 years.
The Township of Scotch Plains, on the other hand, has its own plans for the corner acreage. The municipality hopes to transform the property into a park and historic district that would protect the "Aunt Betsy Frazee House" which dates back to Revolu- tionary times.
On December 1, 1997 and again on March 4, 1998, the township sent letters to the owners offering to pur- chase the property at fair market value, recently assessed at $510,000. The offers were not accepted.
Sunrise's Vice President of De- velopment, Joe McElwee, calls his proposal a "win-win" situation for his company as well as the Township of Scotch Plains.
The building and adjacent parking space would be constructed behind the stream which intersects the prop- erty. Mr. McElwee said parking and traffic considerations are minimal as residents do not drive or own cars.
"Sunrise would donate the land on the street side of the stream to the township for open space," said Mr. McElwee, "and renovate the existing single-family house on the property
and preserve it for the township." He said the open space area covers ap- proximately two acres.
Sunrise would also be willing to finance a portion of a petting zoo in the open space if the right proposal came forward.
"This community would provide a property tax ratable for Scotch Plains that doesn't provide any traffic," added Mr. McElwee.
During the week of March 16, Sun- rise filed an application for a use variance for the property. The struc- ture would be I-shaped, "long and narrow," and modeled after a Victo- rian mansion.
On Tuesday night, the council in- troduced an ordinance authorizing its acquisition, by eminent domain, of the zoo property. Once passed, the ordinance would empower the coun- cil to condemn the property and ac- quire it for public purposes. The or- dinance also permits the township to pay the owner of the property "just compensation" for the land.
The ordinance reads: "The Town- ship Council determines that it is
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
FUNDS EARMARKED FOR VARIOUS IMPROVEMENTS
Scotch Plains Council Approves $15.7 Million Municipal Budget By KIMBERLY A. BROADWELL
Specially Written for The Times
The Scotch Plains Township Coun- cil approved a $15.7 million munici- pal budget, following a public hear- ing Tuesday night, which raises taxes 2.4 percent from last year. The in- crease is less than that for last year's budget, which marked a 3.63 percent hike over the 1996 spending plan.
This budget, which was introduced on March 10, will have taxpayers paying $23 more per year on the average assessed home of $115,000, with a market value of $230,000. The $381,917 rise in total spending will,
among other things, support improve- ments to roads, sewers, parks and services.
Councilman William F. McClintock reported that an amend- ment to the proposed budget was made in the amount of $11,138 in additional state aid.
In addition to the increase for mu- nicipal services, taxes on a home assessed at $115,000, the average for the township, will increase by $80.50, or 2.24 percent, to support the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education budget — should taxpay- ers in both communities pass the tax
levy at the school board elections on Tuesday, April 21.
The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education budget is estimated to cost Scotch Plains taxpayers about $3,680 per household in 1998.
Union County has reported there will be no increase in its share of the tax dollar, which translates into a $1,104 tax bill per average house- hold. Municipal tax estimates are $1,058.
This municipal budget, according to officials, includes funding related to downtown development projects,
TAXES WOULD INCREASE, ON AVERAGE, $80.50 IN TOWNSHIP AND $124.50 IN BOROUGH
Board of Education Approves $43.15 Million Budget, Up 2.2 Percent Over '97 Spending Plan
By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Times
The 1998-1999 budget of $43,148,449 for the Scotch Plains- Fanwood schools was approved by the Board of Education Tuesday, fol- lowing its review and approval by the Union County Superintendent of Schools.
Residents will vote on the school budget on Tuesday, April 21, when they will also choose from among five candidates to fill two Scotch Plains vacancies on the school board. Board member Richard R. Meade of Fanwood is running unopposed for the third open seat.
The budget breaks down into three parts: general fund, $41,685,513; debt service $522,208, and state and federal grants, $940,728. The amount of the general fund to be raised from taxes is $38,226,549.
Overall, the budget is up 2.22 per- cent, or $937,958, over the 1997- 1998 spending plan, well below the 3 percent cap on spending increases established by the state under the Comprehensive Education Improve- ment and Finance Act.
Contributing factors include the absence of a free balance; a decline in miscellaneous revenues, and an increase in debt service on the 1993 bond issuance for capital improve- ments.
The district's free balance from 1996-1997 dissolved in the face of unanticipated insurance charges, tu- ition increases and additional ap- propriations. Following the discov- ery of the budget crisis in Septem- ber 1997, the board and adminis- tration launched an intensive over- view and restructuring of the
district's budget practices. The 1998-1999 budget is the first to reflect the line-by-line spending accountability dictated by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ac- counting standards.
Under revenue, state aid to Scotch Plains-Fanwood schools for the com- ing year rose 10.34 percent over 1997-1998, while other state and federal grants declined 3.21 percent.
With respect to taxes, Scotch Plains homeowners continued to reap the benefits of new construc- tion and increasing ratables (taxed property improvements within the community).
On an average assessed home of $115,000, the anticipated annual school tax increase would be $80.50, or 2.24 percent.
The school tax increase in Fanwood will be 4.01 percent. On an average assessed home of $83,000, this trans- lates into an increase of $124.50 per year.
During the public budget hearing, Board President Dr. Donald E. Sheldon and Finance Committee Chairman Edward J. Saridaki, Jr. de- livered a summary budget presenta- tion to their colleagues and the five residents who attended the meeting. The meeting was taped for re-broad- cast on Cable Channel 35.
"The budget reflects a minimum increase given the district's increase in enrollment," said Dr. Sheldon. 'We do not anticipate changing any of our instructional, co-curricular or ath- letic programs."
Among the instructional improve- ments built into the proposed 1998- 1999 budget are $50,000 for the cyclical review of the English/Lan- guage Arts curriculum.
Continuing in the cyclical review process are Guidance, Health/Physi- cal Education, Business Education, Industrial Technology, Family and Consumer Education, and Art.
Five teacher positions were added to address increased enrollment. A second Pervasive Developmental Disorder class, which supports chil- dren aged 3 to 5 who exhibit charac- teristics of autism, will be created.
In addition, continued implemen- tation of the district's technology plan will incorporate $177,899 in restricted state aid to create two middle school distance learning labs, and distance learning capa- bilities at Evergreen and Brunner
Elementary Schools, and to develop blueprints for the technology in- frastructure of Scotch Plains- Fanwood High School and Terrill and Park Middle Schools.
Mr. Saridaki stressed that the dis- trict has control over 10 percent, or approximately $4.2 million, of the total $43,148,449 budget. Classified as "All Other" expenses, this portion of the budget includes classroom costs like general supplies and text- books, plus the costs of co-curricu- lar activities.
He identified salaries, benefits, tuition, debt service, state and fed- eral programs and transportation as budget components beyond board and administrative control.
In 1989-1990, salaries repre- sented 72 percent, or $22 million, of the overall budget of $30 million; in 1998-1999, salaries constitute 67
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
Page 10 Thursday, March 26, 1998 The Westfield Leader The Westfield Leader The Westfield Leader The Westfield Leader The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
Paine Webber 2x 5 1/2
Township to Launch Pick Up Of Leaves, Debris in April
The Scotch Plains Department of Public Property is preparing for the township's annual spring Leaf and Gumball Pick-Up, which will begin on Monday, April 20, and cover both sides of the township.
Weather permitting, all leaves and gumballs will be picked up at curbside during the week of Monday, April 20, only. Therefore, it is important that the debris be put out on that Monday, according to a township spokeswoman.
Residents are asked to refrain from parking vehicles on the streets during this pick-up. The township has also asked that leaves which are placed at the curb be free of debris such as branches, rocks and stumps.
This debris can cause serious equipment damage, and slows the pro- gram down considerably, according to the spokeswoman, who said residents will be able to put branches out during the township's June clean-up program.
When putting leaves at the curb, residents are asked to leave space near the curb line for the water to flow to catch basins.
Residents are also encouraged not to bag leaves, since the bags will have to be broken open and left on lawns.
SCOTCH PLAINS POLICE BLOTTER MONDAY, MARCH 16
• A resident of Rahway Road re- ported a burglary of his residence. Entry was gained by smashing a base- ment window. It could not be deter- mined if anything was taken.
• A resident of Crestwood Road reported that someone drove over the length of her yard, leaving a deep rut.
• Barry A. Anderson, 35, of Scotch Plains was arrested for driving while intoxicated on Terrill Road.
TUESDAY, MARCH 17
• Robert G. Griffrin, 31, of Scotch Plains, was arrested for eluding from police.
SATURDAY, MARCH 21
•Kimberly M. Wilson, 27,of Scotch Plains, was arrested for a con- tempt of court, on a motor vehicle warrant and for possession of drug paraphernalia. Police also arrested Lavonne Johnson, 35, of Newark, for providing a false identification to police during a motor vehicle stop on Front Street at approximately 9 p.m.
SUNDAY, MARCH 22
• Stanley F. Olencki, 40, of Scotch Plains, was arrested for driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest fol- lowing a motor vehicle stop on Coo- per Road. ing this witness. Anytime you ask her
(McKenzie) about flooding she re- fers to her engineer."
The quarry developers, located opposite of the applicants' property, are opposing the development.
"I try not to take sides," said board Chairman George Tomkin. "I'm ad- dressing the part of your (Mr. Butler's) statement about protecting the witness. The criteria of sustain- ing objections is when you ask her questions outside her expertise."
The Greenbrook Dam Failure Analysis, which will provide a study of the application in terms of flood- ing, will be on the agenda for a future meeting.
Angeline Donato, the last witness heard that night, said that since she moved to the property in 1937, there have been only five floods.
"I think it's time to get this matter settled quickly," Mrs. Donato said. "I don't mean to sound harsh but I'm 84 years old and Frances is 88. Put your
mothers in this position. COAH (rep- resentatives) came to our place and said it was a beautiful piece of prop- erty (for low- to moderate-income housing)."
The Donato application has been pending for three years. The hus- bands of the two women are deceased.
"If we don't follow procedure dic- tated by law, the state can overturn our decision," Mr. Tomkin said. "We have to follow the law as prescribed by the constitution."
"Don't take it personally that this is taking longer than it should," he said in response to Mrs. Donato.
Earlier in the meeting the board made a final resolution in the Wood- land Estates case. The property, lo- cated on the border of Scotch Plains and Plainfield, is also a K. Hovnanian holding.
The company was granted approval to subdivide the land into 29 lots: 22 in Scotch Plains and seven in Plainfield.
Testimony Continues On 'Reserve' Development
IN A NUTSHELL...Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education members August Ruggerio and Teresa Larkin, at left, were recently available for questions about the district and the upcoming budget during a tour of Park Middle School for the parents of incoming sixth graders. Vice Principal Teresa Elias, Guidance Counselor Mary Waters, School Nurse Kathleen Moulton and members of the school's Parent-Teacher Association were available for questions from parents about life in the middle school. The tour was lead by seventh-grade students.
Taxpayer Relief Act Makes IRAs More Attractive Than Ever
"It's IRA time and the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 has made IRA's even more attractive for retirement investing," stated Fred J. Chemidlin, Jr., President and founder of Family Investors Company in Fanwood.
The big news, he said, is the Roth IRA, a non-deductible IRA whose earnings, distributions and withdraw- als are tax free, provided certain qualifications are met.
"Unlike a traditional IRA, with a Roth IRA you can make contribu- tions past age 70 ˝, provided you have earned income and there are no requirements to begin withdrawals at age 70 1/2," Mr. Chemidlin added.
"The Roth IRA appears to be an excellent idea for young people to take advantage of since eligibility to contribute to a Roth IRA ends once individual or combined spousal in- come reaches certain levels," he ex- plained.
"For those with children, an Edu- cational IRA provides tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals if certain qualifications are met and provided that the funds withdrawn are used for higher educational costs.
"Only one educational IRA can be established per child. Currently, there is a $500 limit per year for this type of account and no contributions are permitted after the child reaches age 18," Mr. Chemidlin continued.
Family Investors Company, founded in 1960 and located in Fanwood for 38 years, is located on South Avenue in Fanwood.
Service League Offers Items for Holidays
Responding to the working public's request for longer Saturday hours, The Thrift Shop of the Fanwood- Scotch Plains Service League will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Satur- day, April 4, and Saturday April 11.
Recent innovations at The Thrift Shop include painted Easter baskets, spring table arrangements and small corsages.
Following tradition at the shop, three prizes will be offered to lucky shoppers. The first prize is a deco- rated Victorian hat, suitable for hang- ing on a door or wall. The second prize is a ceramic rabbit and match- ing candlestick. Prize number three is a Easter basket.
Shoppers are encouraged to take part in the drawing with their shop sales receipt. Drawings will be held on Thursday, April 9, and winners are not required to be present to win.
Donations of gently-used winter or spring clothing for all the family, household items, new items, costume jewelry, antiques and collectibles for the shop's cabinet are accepted each day during shop hours. All profits earned are returned to scholarships and local, county charities.
The Thrift Shop, an upscale resale shop, is located at 1730 East Second Street, at the corner of Willow Av- enue in Scotch Plains. Shop hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with regu- lar hours on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Questions may be directed to the shop's 24-hour hotline by calling (908) 322-5420. Also, a new dona- tion pick-up service is available by calling (908) 322-8496 to make a reservation.
Park Students Reading, Hearing About Careers
Park Middle students are actively involved in a reading and speaker project which allows them to read about a career or read works of an author, fol- lowed up by hearing about careers from many different speakers.
Seventh graders had an opportu- nity to put their talents to work in a poster contest demonstrating their attitudes about "Teaching Children to Think & Dream."
Winning finalist were: first place, Fabian Toro; second place, Aaron Quade; third place, Adam Only, and high honorable mention, Stephanie Heath and Monique Lemus. in the best interests of the town-
ship to acquire the 5.87-acre parcel for public purposes as park land, open space, public recreation, pro- tection of an environmentally sen- sitive area and preservation of the township's cultural and historic heri- tage."
"We're taking the zoo property," said Councilman William F. McClintock, "as is our right. This is the first step."
"(The) council would only get into this when negotiations with the owner to purchase the property were unsuccessful," explained Municipal Manager Thomas E. Atkins.
"Why would the township con- demn when Sunrise is willing to give it half of the property, plus a prop- erty ratable, and preserve a historic structure at zero expense?" asked Mr. McElwee.
Councilman McClintock also in- troduced a related mandate calling for a bond ordinance appropriating $600,000, and authorizing the issu- ance of $570,000 bonds or notes of the township to finance the purchase of the zoo property.
"This provides the financial back- ing to purchase the former zoo prop- erty," he explained. "We fully intend to get as much funding and grant money as possible, but we need to show that financing has been set up before the condemnation can take place."
Both ordinances will be discussed following their second reading dur- ing the council's scheduled public meeting on Tuesday, April 14.
The council also passed a resolu- tion engaging the engineering firm of Killam Associates to perform a Phase I environmental audit of the former zoo property.
"We want to make sure there are no types of environmental problems on the site," explained Mr. Atkins.
In the event of a problem, the costs to bring the site in line with environmental codes could impact the market value of the property.
Sunrise, based in Fairfax, Virginia, presently operates six assisted-liv- ing facilities across New Jersey, in- cluding one in Westfield. Three more Sunrise communities are un- der construction in Paramus, Fairfield and East Brunswick.
During the public portion of the council meeting, resident Donna
Ayers of Terrill Road, expressed concerns over using moneys to turn the former Scotch Plains Zoo into a public park. She expressed that, in her opinion, an assisted living hous- ing project was of more importance since Scotch Plains has no such fa- cilities to date.
Mayor Joan Papen commented that the council's ad hoc Zoo Park Study Committee is looking at the zoo site for a passive park because of the fact that the property is now in a one house per acre zone and that parts of the land currently have flooding problems.
Councilman Martin Marks agreed that there is a need for assisted liv- ing and reported that the committee is actively in the works for address- ing that need. He also stated that the zoo property was not best suited for the project.
Councilman Marks said the gov- erning body hoped to transform the site into park land because "recre- ational facilities in Scotch Plains are deficient. We want our residents to enjoy the beauty of the area."
Mike Cerick of Concord Road addressed the council concerning his idea to transform the proposed park into one with ball fields. He cited a lack of baseball parks in the vicinity, adding that it is difficult to schedule baseball practices due to the lack of available fields.
Councilman McClintock, in ad- dressing the need for more soccer and baseball fields, reported that the Recreation Commission is currently looking into the issue.
Councilman Robert Johnston re- ported that the township was inves- tigating opportunities to look for more open space to transform into fields. Because of the low and high slopes of the property, Councilman Johnston said this land is not appro- priate for ball fields.
Kimberly A. Broadwell contrib- uted to this article.
Assisted Living Facility Proposed for Zoo Property
Here's Where to Buy
WALT'S MOUNTAIN DELI 2385 Mountain Avenue, Scotch Plains
QUICK CHEK FOOD & PHARMACY 1928 Westfield Avenue, Scotch Plains
WALLIS STATIONERY 441 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains
QUICK STOP 1819 East Second Street, Scotch Plains
SEVEN ELEVEN Park & Mountain Avenues, Scotch Plains
FANWOOD CORNER STORE 34 Martine Avenue, Fanwood
FANWOOD TRAIN STATION North Avenue, Fanwood
QUICK CHEK 572 North Avenue, Fanwood
SHOPPERS EXPRESS 190 South Avenue, Fanwood
SEVEN ELEVEN 1200 South Avenue West, Westfield
J & M CAFE 251 North Avenue, Westfield
I AM SPECIAL…Every child at School One Elementary in Scotch Plains recently decorated his or her unique "I am Special" cut-out paper doll. This project was one of the many ways in which the school participated in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood public schools' district-wide effort to keep its children free from the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol. All of the dolls are displayed in the lobby of the school.
the proposed purchase of the former Scotch Plains Zoo property by the township, and new asphalt sidewalks.
In other business, the council passed a formal resolution in sup- port of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) six-month test on new flight patterns which be- gan on March 15 and will conclude on Tuesday, September 15.
These new flight patterns at New- ark International Airport, the FAA has said, are aimed at reducing noise from low-flying aircraft over resi- dential areas.
The test involves a 260-degree turn at higher altitudes for airplanes just to the south of the runways. Air- planes should then follow an indus- trial tract between Rahway and Carteret.
The council stressed in its resolu- tion that the FAA report bi-monthly to the governing body on the noise level tests and that the agency con- tinue to pursue all alternatives to reduce the noise.
The council also wants to see an FAA ocean-routing study where noisy, low-flying aircraft would loop back over the Hudson River and At- lantic Ocean before heading west at higher altitudes.
Rick Obrock, President of the Scotch Plains Fanwood Citizens Against Aircraft Noise (SPFCAAN), who was not present at the council meeting, provided The Times with a statement regarding the flight pat- terns.
"SPFCAAN has consistently op- posed moving aircraft noise from one community to another. The 260- degree departure procedure appears to do just that. This test has been opposed by Clark, Fanwood and Westfield councils, and the Union County Freeholder board," read the statement by Mr. Obrock.
"I was pleased the Scotch Plains Council indicated an interest in ocean routing which would provide maxi- mum aircraft noise reduction to our township and our neighbors," Mr. Obrock concluded.
In another matter, the council ap- proved a resolution to apply to the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a stream en- croachment permit to construct a bridge for a proposed 116-unit townhouse development between Meadow Street and Union Avenue. The application is now being consid- ered by the Scotch Plains Planning Board.
The proposed development, known as The Reserve, includes three to five buildings containing a total of 116 units for 300 plus people.
A portion of these units would be designated as low- to moderate-in- come housing to help satisfy the township's Mount Laurel obligation.
The Donato family, which owns the property and a large home on the site, has an agreement with devel- oper K. Hovnanian to build the townhouse complex on the 7.7-acre property.
Under the terms of the Donatos' deal with K. Hovnanian, the family home, which is more than 100 years old, would be torn down to make way for the development.
Other business included the rec- ognition of George Reider as he leaves his position as Emergency Management Coordinator for the township after almost 20 years of service.
Mr. Reider has served the town- ship as a member of several volun- teer groups, including the Board of Adjustment, and as an original mem- ber of the Senior Citizen Housing Corporation.
Also, 30 students from Park Middle School were honored by the council for their 24 performances of the song "God Bless Us Everyone," under the direction of Mary Lee Farrell, when they appeared in A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden this past fall.
Each student was presented with a resolution acknowledging this ac- complishment. The resolutions were presented by Mayor Papen and Park Middle School Parent-Teacher As- sociation President Judy McLaughlin.
The group performed for the coun- cil Tuesday night. They also have per- formed the number for Governor Christine Todd Whitman, and during WPLJ's "Morning Show" and NBC's "Today Show."
Mayor Papen has also declared the week of March 23 through 29 as Dyslexia Awareness Week in Scotch Plains, and urged all citizens to con- tinue to be aware of this disorder and to support the Scottish Rite Masonic Children's Learning Centers, Inc.
Councilwoman Irene T. Schmidt added a resolution to honor the local Rotary Club for 60 years of service to the community. A celebration to honor this organization was held yes- terday.
Resident Gabe Spera of Monitau Way commented to the council that he was "very appreciative" for the yearly spring cleanup and was hope- ful that it would be provided again this year.
The council reported that cleanup will start on Monday, June 1, for District 1.
Average Taxpayer to See $23 Hike for SP Municipal Budget
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percent, or $28.8 million, of the $43.1 million budget.
Projected tuition expenses for 1998-1999 of $2,281,282 (expen- ditures primarily associated with out- of-district placements for special needs children) are half of what they were five years ago.
"This is one of those expenses we can only try and forecast," explained Mr. Saridaki. "We can't control it."
The finance chairman also offered a 10-year comparison of how ex- penses have increased. For example, salaries, which account for 67 per- cent of the 1998-1999 budget, rose 22 percent since 1988-1989, while health benefits jumped 69 percent. Scotch Plains-Fanwood schools employ 620 people, including a pro- fessional staff of 371.
Tuition rose 113 percent, while debt service increased 105 percent. "All Other" expenses rose 7 percent in 10 years.
Mr. Saridaki also showed how a decline in non-tax revenues (i.e. in-
terest on free-balance moneys) is directly related to "how much money we need to ask the taxpayers for."
Scotch Plains-Fanwood schools serve 4,330 students, with 64 stu- dents placed out-of-district to ac- commodate their special needs. Nearly 30 percent (1,250) of the students in grades 4 through 12 par- ticipate in the instrumental music program.
At the high school level, 836 ath- letes competed in men's and women's sports during the year, while 319 children competed at the middle school level.
Student participants in co-curricu- lar activities number 615 and 1,435 at the middle schools and high school (non-musical), respectively.
For additional information about the proposed 1998-1999 budget or April 21 school election, residents may call the Board of Education tele- phone hot line at (908) 889-9665.
BOE Approves Budget With 2.2 Percent Increase
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