By FRED T. ROSSI
Specially Written for The Leader/Times
SCOTCH PLAINS – Township Manager Al Mirabella said on Tuesday that the recycling costs for many towns, including Scotch Plains, have “skyrocketed” and that municipal officials are looking at the best ways to continue the program.
At the township council’s meeting, he said issuance of the annual Property Messenger newsletter, which includes information and dates for recycling for the coming year, is being delayed because the township is switching to a new recycling company in March. That change may affect the pick-up schedule after February. He called the skyrocketing costs — which have doubled and tripled in some towns — a “crisis” and said officials are seeking ways to keep costs low and “lessen the blow to the budget.” Mr. Mirabella said he hopes the council can discuss the issue at its February meeting.
In other business, Police Chief Ted Conley addressed the recent spate of car thefts and break-ins and urged residents who want to warm up their vehicles on cold mornings to lock their doors while they are inside their home and their cars are warming up in their driveway. He said this would “make it as hard as possible” for thefts to occur.
On Tuesday evening, the municipal building was lit in amber as part of the nationwide memorial to the more than 400,000 lives lost to the coronavirus over the past 10 months. In Washington, now-President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris led the nation in the remembrance as homes across the country were lit by candles in windows to remember those who have died from the virus.
The day before the Biden Administration took power, Mayor Joshua Losardo spoke about the Trump-incited riot at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6 and expressed his “horror and frustration and just plain sadness” at the insurrection that sought to overturn the results of the November Presidential election and led to several deaths. Among those killed was a Capitol police officer who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher by the marauders. The mayor said the flags in Scotch Plains are being lowered to half-mast to honor that officer. Speaking on behalf of the council, he said that he looks forward to a time when Democrats and Republicans “are arguing about alternative ways of helping this country and its citizens prosper and no longer spewing alternative facts.” (Read Mayor Losardo’s full remarks on page 5.)
He said this alone could “improve the national discourse” and expressed his hope that Inauguration Day would be “a day for America to renew itself and move forward.”
In other matters, Councilman Roshan White said the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Committee had completed its report that was based on last summer’s listening tour. Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Stamler said the recreation department and the library are partnering on a book-delivery program for senior citizens age 55 and older. Those interested in taking part can contact the recreation department. Several resolutions were approved, including one reappointing Theodore Georgiou as chief financial officer, another naming Amit Vora as an alternate member of the zoning board of adjustment and a third consolidating the Historical Documentation Committee and the Historic Preservation Committee into a new Historic Preservation/Documentation Advisory Committee.
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