Harrison Township tackled several issues concerning their schools, public works and honored two veterans during the Oct. 15 meeting.
By KRYSTAL NURSE
Harrison Township residents Dustin Clark and Herbert Paley were recognized by the township committee for their service in the armed forces as committee members also tackled budgeting issues with the schools and costs associated with public works, and finalized several community events.
Committee members Jeff Jacques and Julie DeLaurentis read proclamations to Clark and Paley in recognition of their service.
“The mayor and committee of the Township of Harrison recognize the honorable service of Dustin Clark, United States Marine from 2007 to 2011,” read Jacques. “Honorably served in Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2009. He was the recipient of a Purple Heart.”
“The mayor and committee of the Township of Harrison recognizes the honorable service of Herbert Paley, Corporal of the U.S. Army, 1952 to 1954, Korean War veteran,” read DeLaurentis.
Shortly thereafter, the committee members (with the absence of Deputy Mayor Don Heim) made the public aware of the issues the Harrison and Clearview Regional school districts are facing with a reduction in funding and enrollment.
“Different audience members stood up during [Clearview’s] last Board of Education meeting and brought up missing tutoring and after-school activities while they’re under contract negotiations,” said Delaurentis, who serves as the liaison to Clearview Regional. “It’s a shame to see some services limited or eliminated during the school year.”
Mayor Louis Manzo added he’s been in constant conversations with state senators and administrators to either remedy or completely resolve the situation, but that students will ultimately feel the impact the most.
“We’re looking to get something called a ‘Band Aid financing’ within the next couple of years,” said Manzo. “You’re taking $200,000 to $300,000 hits that require classes to be cut or reduced in size. It’s not what this town is because it’s something we took great pride in.”
Controversially, some surrounding school districts, according to Manzo, were given more funding with a drastic decrease in enrollment, while others received cuts with a drastic increase in enrollment.
“The ones in the extremes like what I said were righted, but the ones in the middle, which is where Clearview and Harrison are, are getting hit,” said Manzo.
Deputy Administrator Dennis Chambers alerted the committee about public works, and others throughout the state, paying more to get items recycled at landfill stations overseas.
“One of the options that’s been talked about is considering going back to dual-stream recycling, which was a process that was used in the early ‘80s and ‘90s before the single-stream picked up,” said Chambers. “It’s not something that is feasible. We would have to re-educate residents and have another container for separating out cardboard, glass and plastic materials.”
At the moment, residents are being urged to remove plastic bags from their recycling containers and dump the recyclables in as-is to assist with cutting costs. Additionally, ordinances were adopted to reduce the cost of recycling containers and to redefine what can and cannot be thrown away in residential containers.
“We’re just saying that you cannot throw in sharp objects that’ll injure people,” said Brian Duffield, township solicitor. “It’s common sense, but we need to add them in.”
Other ordinances adopted also include allowing Inspira Hospital to construct a solar plant to power its facility, requiring sport teams and organizations to be compliant with the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 and refunding several veterans for their property taxes due to an exemption.
Lights on Main was authorized by the committee, and Township Administrator Mark Gravinese requested permission to close off Main Street to cars from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the event. The matter will be revisited at the Nov. 19 meeting at 7 p.m.
The committee, with the “no” vote of Committeeman Vince Gangemi, approved an application for Jason Burd of Mickleton to go door-to-door from Oct. 16 to April 16 to “establish relationships and eventually offer financial services.”
“You can put a ‘no solicitation’ sign on your front door or a ‘no trespassing,’” said Manzo. “So he’s requesting permission and authorization to go door-to-door for six months, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the police have done their background check and consented that this is OK.”
Jacques, liaison to the historical commission, closed the meeting with final remarks regarding the township’s 175th anniversary.
“The society was talking about potentially having the flagpole with the flags up that would call out our anniversary from January to December,” said Jacques.
Logistics and design regarding the flags are to be discussed further at November’s and December’s meetings as the new year approaches. The next committee meeting is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in the municipal courtroom, however, one could be announced following Election Day due to several outstanding issues that need to be addressed.