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Campaign Forum ’99
Proposal by Councilman Jung To Move Fanwood Post Office Released for Full Council Vote LET’S MOVE POST OFFICE... Thomas P. Ryan, Jr., left, Councilman Stuart
S. Kline, middle, who are each running for Fanwood Borough Council, and Councilman Louis C. Jung, right, who is running for Mayor of Fanwood, campaign outside the Fanwood Post Office. The three candidates collected over 300 signatures on a petition calling for the Mayor and Council and U. S. Postal Service to investigate the feasibility of moving the Post Office to the commercial area of Fanwood.
FANWOOD — Louis C. Jung, the senior member of the Fanwood Borough Council and Republican candidate for Mayor of Fanwood, claimed victory at the council’s October 13 meeting, when Mayor Maryanne S. and the Borough Council agreed to place a resolution on tonight’s council meeting agenda calling for the U. S. Postal Service to investigate the feasibility of moving the Post Office to the commercial area of Fanwood.
Councilman Jung first announced his proposal in June as part of his comprehensive plan to revitalize the downtown. However, he noted that his attempt to introduce the resolution at the council agenda meeting in July was met with opposition by the Democratic members of the Council.
At the regular session of the council in July, Mayor Connelly, speaking on behalf of all the Democratic members of the council, stated that the resolution was not supported because “it wasn’t the right time,” according to Mr. Jung.
Mr. Jung said he and his fellow Republican candidates for Fanwood Borough Council, Councilman Stuart S. Kline and Council candidate Thomas P. Ryan, Jr., campaigned for three months at the Post Office and went doortodoor to collect signatures on a petition calling for the Mayor and council to introduce the resolution.
“We collected over 300 signatures on this petition,” Councilman Jung noted. “When I presented the petition to the Mayor and Democratic members of the council on Wednesday night, they could no longer stand
on their opposition from July that ‘it was not the right time’ for this resolution.”
Councilman Jung continued, “If we have learned anything from the battle between our residents and the developer who proposed to build apartments on the former Dean Oil property, it is that we should not sit idly by and watch outsiders tell us what is best for our borough. If we want to revitalize our downtown, we must be more proactive.”
“This resolution authorizing the borough to ask the U. S. Postal Service to consider moving the Post Office to a more commercially central location in Fanwood is the first step in my comprehensive plan to revitalize the downtown,” he stated.
“For example, moving the Post Office to the core commercial area would create an ‘anchor store’ effect and attract new retail establishments, while also helping to foster the continued growth of our current merchants,” said Councilman Jung.
Mr. Ryan stated that he was pleased the Democratic members of the council had a change of heart.
“Whatever it took, I’m glad to see that Lou Jung’s resolution will now be permitted to come before the council for a vote,” Mr. Ryan said.
“I have worked with Lou Jung for the last three years on the council,” said Councilman Kline. “During this time he has always worked hard to build a bipartisan consensus on issues. The Post Office resolution is no exception and for that he must be commended.”
Frank Rossi Sees Taxes As Major Campaign Issue
SCOTCH PLAINS — “Taxes and taxes. That seems to be the number one topic on the minds of the majority of Scotch Plains residents these days,” reported Frank Rossi, the Republican candidate for Scotch Plains Township Council.
“I have visited several hundred households so far in my door to door campaign, and met with citizens in various neighborhoods. While I have discussed many issues with residents, invariably, all conversations lead to the very unpopular 5.4 percent tax increase enacted earlier this year. The largest municipal tax increase in nine years,” the candidate noted.
“I believe the town is still angered over the 1999 budget fiasco,” Mr.
Rossi continued. “In the face of all the public opposition to the tax hike, and in light of the record $3 million surplus, the approach this year was irresponsible.”
“The Republican zero tax increase plan put forth by Councilmen (William) McClintock and (Martin) Marks, would have left the township with a yearend surplus of $1.8 million or more, well within a reasonable and safe range,” continued Mr. Rossi.
If Republicans regain the majority, Mr. Rossi promised “not to turn a deaf ear to the public regarding the municipal tax rate as was done this year.”
Councilman McDermott Hails Privatization of Collection Of Trash in Downtown Area
WESTFIELD — In a move to get Westfield out of the garbage business, Republican First Ward Councilman Gregory S. McDermott has announced an agreement to privatize municipal garbage collection downtown and to sell the town’s garbage truck, thus freeing up the Public Works Department to use their manpower to help maintain local roads and parks.
Councilman McDermott, who chair’s the council’s Solid Waste Committee, is seeking reelection to his council seat.
Working with Town Engineer Kenneth Marsh, Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC) Chairman Joe Spector, and DWC Executive Director Michael LaPlace, Councilman McDermott said the town was “able to secure a privatization contract for municipal garbage collection while better utilizing the skills of the Public Works Department.”
“Public Works supports this effort. They would rather help maintain our parks and playing fields than collect garbage. It’s a real winwin for Westfield,” noted Councilman
McDermott. He said he would like to see improvements in the town’s fields, which are currently maintained by the Board of Education. His proposal would permit the Public Works Department to set the schedule for cutting, fertilizing and maintaining the fields.
“Now would be a terrific opportunity to further explore shared services between the Board of Education and the Department of Public Works,” said Councilman McDermott. “Some fields, such as Roosevelt Field, where fifth and sixth grade girls play soccer on the weekend, are not in the best of conditions. As a coach and a father, I would like to see these field conditions improved.”
“The manpower and equipment in the Department of Public Works far exceeds that of the Board of Education, thus making it easier to schedule maintenance of the fields. I’m confident the Public Works Department can take on the responsibility of park upkeep,” Councilman McDermott concluded.
Neil F. Sullivan Vows Support Of Police, Fire Departments
WESTFIELD — Westfield Republican Third Ward Councilman Neil F. Sullivan reiterated his commitment to ensuring that the town’s police and fire departments receive the support they need and deserve from the Town Council.
“One of the primary responsibilities of local government is to ensure for the public safety,” Councilman Sullivan said. “We on the council have a duty to every citizen of this town to ensure that our uniformed services receive the support and tools that they need to fulfill their missions.”
“We are fortunate to have dedicated individuals in these positions, each of whom plays a role in maintaining the high quality of life in our community,” he added.
Councilman Sullivan noted that during his tenure as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, the Town Council has made significant investments in meeting its commitment.
“This fall, three new Traffic Enforcement Officers will be added to our police department after completion of work at the (Union County) police academy. Their presence will enhance the enforcement of safety and other laws in our downtown and around our schools, and allow added police patrols on our streets to combat speeding,” he stated.
Councilman Sullivan noted that over $300,000 in muchneeded fire fighting equipment was included in the 1999 capital budget.
“I am pleased that in the coming year our fire department will receive both a new radio system and a new pumper truck,” he said.
“If you talk to a fireman, they’ll tell you that communication is almost
as important as water in battling a fire. The radio system we provide our firemen is out of date and out of repair,” he said.
“Firefighters in a burning structure cannot communicate with firemen on the truck or at headquarters. When we are at major situations, where multiple fire departments are called to a scene through mutual aid, our radios are unable to be used to talk to other departments,” Councilman Sullivan added.
The fire department will also be receiving a new fire truck in the coming year to replace a pumper truck that is inoperable after over two decades of use.
“Under our emergency response plan, a fire truck arrives at the scene of a fire within three minutes throughout our town. Time is critical in the early moments of a fire to first ensure the safety of anyone in the burning structure, and second, to minimize damage to the structure and any adjoining buildings,” he said.
Councilman Sullivan also noted that the department would soon be able to acquire a thermal imaging system at little or no cost to Westfield taxpayers. Newly enacted legislation now allow fire organizations to receive — at no cost to it — a quality camera chosen by the state.
Fire organizations that purchase a camera other than the one offered by the state will be entitled to reimbursement up to the purchase price of the stateselected camera, said Councilman Sullivan.
The hightech devices enable firemen to see through heavy smoke and pinpoint locations of trapped fire victims.
Councilman Sullivan stated that in addition to providing peace of mind, Westfield homeowners and businesses have lower insurance premiums as a result of the town’s fire protection plan.
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Mayor Faces Prospect Of WriteIn Opponent
By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
MOUNTAINSIDE — In the last 100 plus years, Mountainside has had one majority party on both its Borough Council and in the office of Mayor.
Republican Mayor Robert F. Viglianti is seeking a fourth term. While he is not opposed by a Democrat this year, it is likely he will face writein opposition from retired educator Adele Magnolia.
The issue that has stirred up the community of 6,600 is a change in how the mayor and Borough Council members are reimbursed for their expenses.
With the passage of an ordinance by the governing body in February, council members now have unvouchered expenses of $1,500 each. The mayor receives $3,000. The mayor and council previously received $1,200 each.
Opponents of the change, however, object to the word “salary” in the new system. They also believe the borough should revert back to a voucher system of a few years ago, when all council expenses were listed.
Ms. Magnolia said she was one of 455 signers of a petition seeking to place the controversial issue on the November ballot.
Borough Attorney John Post reported to the governing body in March that 5 percent of the borough’s registered voters must sign a petition for the question to be put on the ballot.
Currently, there are over 4,500 registered voters in Mountainside, according to the Union County Board of Elections.
Ms. Magnolia said that the number required for a referendum vote was reached through the petition.
Instead of placing a ballot question before voters, Mayor Viglianti formed a bipartisan committee of Republicans, Democrats and independents to look into the matter and to make a recommendation to the governing body.
Democrats objected when the sixmember committee, which was to be split evenly among the three political entities, was changed to four independents, three Republicans and two Democrats. Mayor Viglianti has said he did not want anyone who signed the petition to serve on the committee.
He thought such representation would bring a possible bias to the discussion. With this restriction in
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Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)