The Jefferson Township Council meeting on Wednesday, September 5, began with a series of special presentations. First were two promotions within the police department: Joseph Kratzel to sergeant and Robert Bush to lieutenant. In addition, lieutenant James Caruso was recognized upon his retirement after more than 20 years of service. Thomas Galfo was sworn in as a member of Fire Company No. 1.

Jefferson Township Police officer Robert Bush (pictured, left) being sworn in as lieutenant in the at the Jefferson Township Council meeting on Wednesday, September 5, 2018. (Photo: Peyton Riegel)

Jacki Espinoza, a Jefferson resident representing Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L), presented the company’s newly developed Reliability Plus distribution system, which is intended to provide further protection against power outages due to unfavorable weather conditions. The system would add 25 cents to bills for the first six months it is in effect; billing increases would be capped at $1.89 after the first six months. Over the course of four years, the budget for the project is expected to be $400 million.

Espinoza advised residents to check the health of any ash trees on their property. The emerald ash borer has killed hundreds of millions of trees throughout the country, making them more likely to fall and damage power line equipment. Council members noted that JCP&L has been responsive and reliable when the town experienced several car accidents related to power lines this year.

The council stated that the property at 757 Route 15 South in Lake Hopatcong, site of the former Pathmark/Fresh Imperium, is in need of redevelopment. Robert Benecke, representing Benecke Economics, spoke about the redevelopment of that property as well as the strip mall where the Jefferson Diner is located. (See related article: Former Pathmark Site’s Prognosis Still Unclear)

Public Comments

Melissa Senatore announced that the Board of Education, on which she serves, will host a briefing on the October 2 referendum concerning the district’s schools. It will be held in conjunction with the regularly scheduled town council meeting on Tuesday, September 18, at 7 p.m. at the municipal building.

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A representative from a local tavern stated that its gravel parking lot is a risk to patrons and requested the town’s assistance in having it paved. Council members said that since the tavern owns the lot, including the parking facility, the town is neither obligated to pave the lot nor liable for any injury that may occur on the property.

Closing Remarks

Council vice president Jay Dunham expressed appreciation for the recent repaving and piping on Ridge Road as well as the paving of the White Rock Boulevard area. Jim Leach, the town’s business administrator, noted that the currently uneven pavement on Ridge Road will be repaved to a smooth and level surface once the current asphalt settles.

The council reported that a 9/11 memorial service, open to the public, will be held at the municipal complex at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 11. (See related article: Cub Scouts to Host 9/11 Memorial Event at Municipal Complex)

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