The Morris County Freeholders were on the road on Wednesday, September 12, bringing their first meeting of the month to Jefferson.
Holding a meeting in the corner of Morris County that boarders Sussex and Passaic means a long drive for staff, and a hazardous material spill on Route 80 slowed traffic from the east. Nevertheless, the freeholders said they never have a problem visiting the county’s “recreation capital.”
It was part of that recreation that produced some public comment at the meeting.
Resident Robert Caruso asked why Lee’s County Park is not open for access to ice fishing like the state park is. “It seems like common sense; you have the land for parking,” he said, noting that not opening for ice fishing makes it appear that the park is available only for boaters.
Freeholder director Douglas Cabana said that the board will look into it. “It’s under the jurisdiction of the Park Commission,” he pointed out.
Caruso also had some questions about the intersection of Berkshire Valley Road and Route 15, which is partially controlled by the county. He said the timing of the lights needs to be improved to avoid traffic backing up during rush hour. Noting that the intersection is not completely under county control, Cabana agreed to meet with the state Department of Transportation: “We’re easy; the state’s different.”
Berkshire Valley Road was also the subject of councilman Jay Dunham, who was speaking as a private citizen. He conveyed a message from mayor Russell Felter thanking the county Shade Tree Commission for taking down trees along Berkshire Valley Road, and asked for more tree work to the east of Route 15. Dunham said that if Berkshire Valley Road is knocked out, Jefferson is out of luck because there are so few roads in and out of the township.
Another speaker was Diane Williams, the new CEO and president of Jersey Battered Women’s Services. She thanked the freeholders for finding space for the Family Justice Center in the county building near both the prosecutor’s and sheriff’s offices. She said the one-stop service for people impacted by domestic violence, which opened March 28, 2016, was recently named to the top 10 nonprofit agencies in the state. “This speaks to the transparency and the number of volunteer hours,” she added.
Cabana thanked the residents for attending and speaking at the meeting. “Aside from the mayor and council, the freeholder board is the only level of government you can see and touch. Good luck talking to the legislature,” he commented.
Council president Debi Merz thanked the freeholders for coming and for the support they have offered Jefferson over the years. “I’ve never had someone not get back to me,” she said of communications with the freeholder office.