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METUCHEN Changes Noted for Issuance Of Westfield Parking Permits
WESTFIELD — The following changes have been announced concerning the issuance of Westfield parking permits for the fourth quarter of the year, including October, November and December.
• The Parking Permit Plan Renewal Form must be completed in full or it will be returned to the permit holder.
• The form must have the signature of the permit holder only. • Permits must be displayed on the rear view mirror. • Permits are nontransferable. The fee schedule is as follows: Railroad Parking Permit: $90; Watterson Parking Permit: $45 for residents and $67.50 for nonresidents; Citgo Parking Permit: $120, and Shell Parking Permit: $90.
Semiannual and annual permits will not be available until Saturday, January 1, 2000.
Mountainside BOE Notes Revamped Mission, Goals
By SONIA V. OWCHARIW
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
MOUNTAINSIDE – As the summer fades into the background, the Mountainside Board of Education began its school year Tuesday with the presentation of a revamped district mission statement and set of goals.
The mission of the school is to “develop selfconfident, independent, responsible citizens by providing the highest quality education to all students through a school, family, and community partnership,” according to the Mountainside Board of Education Mission Statement.
In addition, district goals were outlined. They include: • Evaluate the math and science programs to improve student achievement.
• Develop an ongoing communication/ articulation network, including administration, staff and parents with Berkeley Heights — regarding elementary and secondary curricula and school issues.
• Maximize the potential of the teaching staff.
• Develop and implement a plan to increase community involvement in the school district.
According to Mountainside Superintendent Dr. Gerald Schaller, the school year started with an increased enrollment of 615 students, apparent with the kindergarten classes and 5th, 6th and 7th graders. Last year, the district had 574 students finishing the 1999 school year.
Test scores for the district for the following tests: GEPA, (Grade Eighth Proficiency Assessment), IOWA and ESPA, (Elementary School Proficiency Assessment) will be presented at the Tuesday, September 28, meeting. “Ninetyeight percent of the students
who took the test (GEPA) scored either proficient or advanced proficient,” commented Dr. Schaller.
In other news, plans to provide Internet service to Deerfield School will be implemented and online by Friday, October 1.
The school board also discussed the possibility of a dress code. Currently, the board will be soliciting volunteers to discuss with clergy members, organizations and students what dress code would be appropriate for the district.
In addition, the board is looking for volunteers to help find out about dress codes other districts have in place. The plan wouldn’t be completed until fall 2000.
The district also hired a Somervillebased architectural firm, Jordan & Peace, to assist the district on consolidating or using present school space more efficiently.
Currently, the former Beechwood School is being leased by the MorrisUnion Jointure Commission and Union County Education Services Commission and may be an option for additional classroom space for the Mountainside schools.
Hearing on Renewal Of Cable Contract Set By KIMBERLY A. BROADWELL
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
MOUNTAINSIDE – A second reading and public hearing of the ordinance granting renewal of Mountainside’s Comcast franchise agreement is scheduled for Tuesday, September 21, at 8 p. m., it was announced at the Borough Council’s agenda setting meeting on Tuesday.
The ordinance, which amends an agreement put together by the borough last spring, was unanimously approved on first reading by the council in August.
The original agreement was tabled in July while negotiations continued between the governing body and Comcast Cablevision over language in the proposed pact concerning the franchise fee.
The franchise fee is the percent of gross revenues from borough residents’ fees that Mountainside collects from the cable company, as explained by Borough Attorney John Post at an earlier meeting.
As Mr. Post explained at that time, the amended agreement contains clauses addressing the franchise fee, as well as language regarding review periods for the agreement and a corrected typographical error.
He had stated at the earlier meeting that the amended agreement contained corrected wording regarding the maximum amount that can be collected by the franchise fee. Mr. Post further noted that the borough is currently receiving $14,200, which is 2 percent of the revenue collected by Comcast for Mountainside and is the maximum allowed by law.
He also noted at that time that the new clause stated the borough can raise that percentage if the law ever changes to allow a higher maximum.
As reported earlier in The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood, Mayor Robert F. Viglianti told audience members at the August council meeting that the other new clause in the agreement pertained to the review of the franchise agreement.
He noted then that stronger dialogue was added to the agreement, spelling out that a fiveyear review as well as a 10year review of the terms of the pact and services received from the cable company would be exercised by the Mayor and council.
The Mayor said last month that the new clause was added to clarify provisions in the agreement in response to concern conveyed by many Mountainside residents over the new 15year contract.
He had also pointed out that many surrounding municipalities, such as
Westfield, Fanwood and Scotch Plains, had all recently signed 15year agreements.
The existing franchise agreement, which was in effect for 10 years, will expire next month.
The new 15year franchise agreement gives the borough access to the Berkeley Heights channel, as well as a 24hoursaday access channel for Mountainside. In the past, Mountainside had to share its access channel with the Borough of Fanwood.
Other additions to the new franchise agreement include two new character generators, which are a type of computer keyboard that will enable both the Deerfield School and Borough Hall to type announcements for broadcast on the new channel.
In other business, it was announced that an ordinance will be introduced at the Tuesday, September 21 council meeting regarding the purchase of new Year 2000 compatible computer equipment for the Mountainside Police Department.
It was also revealed that the $60,000 cost for these systems will come from the borough’s Capital Improvement Fund. That money will be put back once Mountainside receives its $169,000 share from a law enforcement confiscation.
In other business, it was announced that an ordinance will be introduced at the next council meeting regarding the appropriation of $133,000 from the Capital Improvement Fund to improve sections of Mill Lane and Lawrence Avenue.
It was noted that this money will also be returned once the state Department of Transportation grant that was awarded to Mountainside becomes available.
DEP Relaxes Restrictions For North/ Central Jersey
TRENTON — Governor Christine Todd Whitman has removed the drought emergency and mandatory restrictions for eight South Jersey counties while the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has relaxed restrictions for the rest of the state due to substantial rainfalls and effective water conservation and management measures.
“We still need to conserve water as a precaution but conditions have substantially improved, especially in parts of South Jersey, thanks to several rainfalls this month and the conservation efforts of residents and businesses,” Governor Whitman said. “In some areas, local water use restrictions remain in effect and need to be obeyed.”
The relaxed restrictions allow some exceptions, primarily for lawn watering and golf courses, for the 13 counties in North and Central New Jersey including Union County.
DEP Commissioner Bob Shinn commended the cooperative conservation efforts of water suppliers, businesses and residents, which have helped to enable the modifications.
“( The) actions are the result of a combination of factors including the post Labor Day reduced demands for outdoor water use and cooler, seasonal temperatures, in addition to the replenishing rains and conservation efforts,” Mr. Shinn said.
At the time the Governor declared a Drought Emergency on August 5, many stream flows were at record lows following a longterm rain deficit and the exceptionally hot, dry July.
DEP Deputy Commissioner Mark Smith, the state’s Drought Coordinator, noted, however, that reservoirs are still low and caution needs to be exercised.
Reservoir levels usually reach their lowest levels in October and Novem ber, officials said.
Under the revised restrictions for northern New Jersey, newly sodded grass, either commercially or privately, may be watered every other day until Sunday, October 31, between 6 to 9 a. m. and 5 to 8 p. m. Watering can not exceed 20 minutes per area on any one day. Newly seeded grass may be watered Wednesdays and Saturdays until October 31 between during the same time frames. Watering shall not exceed 20 minutes per area on any one day.
Watering is permitted following application of fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide, for three days from the date of application between the hours listed above with watering not to exceed 20 minutes per area on any one day.
Watering is permitted for the revegetation of land to prevent soil erosion following earth moving activities in a “critical area,” as designated in a soil erosion control plan. Watering shall be limited to 30 days from the date of planting with no more than 20 minutes of water to be applied per area on any one day.
The watering of vegetation such as plants, trees, shrubs, vegetable and flower gardens, may now include lowpressure, perforated soaker hoses or a zoned sprinkler system. This is in addition to the previously allowed handheld hose watering.
Watering devices may operate during the same time frames and for a period not to exceed 20 minutes per area on any one day.
Golf courses, which posses a valid DEP water allocation permit or water use registration, may water newly seeded or sodded fairways between 9 a. m. and 4 p. m. no longer than 20 minutes for an area on any one day. The golf courses may not exceed 35 percent of their permitted average monthly demand, officials said.