Candidate Pietanza Takes On Cablevision & The Status Quo

It is well known that The Borough of Milltown was without electricity for 5 days after Hurricane Irene came through and the flood waters rose. For those of us lucky enough to have access to generators, it came as somewhat of a surprise when we plugged in our modems and cable boxes and still had no cable service. Who knew that Cablevision relied on Milltown Electric to deliver their service? At the September 12th Borough Council Meeting, I asked that a representative from the Borough contact Cablevision on behalf of all residents who subscribe to their service. Not receiving the response desired, I took matters in to my own hands and called Cablevision the next day. Initially, they refused to give me a credit for my outage stating that it was not their fault that I lost power. I reasoned that I did have power through my generator and yet when I did what was necessary, I still did not have service. They admitted that they rely on Milltown Electric to deliver their service to residents and granted the credit for my outage. At that point, I inquired about a credit for my fellow residents who are subscribers and who had the same issue. I asked for a “blanket courtesy credit” for all Milltown Subscribers which was promptly rejected. I was told that they will handle these inquiries on a case by case basis. I argued that the cases are virtually the same. The impression was that if a subscriber doesn’t ask, then Cablevision will not issue the credit. So I spread the word with what I said and what my result was in an attempt to help others. Some residents were successful and others were not. However, it should not have come to this. I can’t help but to feel that Cablevision should have done what was right and issued a blanket credit for every Milltown Subscriber. In addition, we will never know if the result may have been different had the Borough made the effort to contact Cablevision on behalf of all resident subscribers. Hurricane Irene sure did expose many things, the least of which was the unwillingness to make a phone call. Respectfully, Joseph Pietanza

Milltown Democratic Candidates Respond To The Hurricane

As residents of the Borough of Milltown and as candidates, we feel vindicated that Milltown’s Republican majority has finally relented and will allow Milltown’s residents to voice their opinion with regard to an extraordinary capital expenditure. After previously voting along party lines against a public referendum on the issue of a proposed multi-million dollar firehouse, the council will now permit the residents to decide whether the Borough should continue to sell electricity to its residents. Republican Council members conceded their complete lack of understanding of how to operate and manage our electric department. It is extremely unfortunate it took an emotionally charged outcry of nearly 400 residents at the September 12, 2011 Borough Council Meeting to accomplish this. A feasibility study for the utility department has been mentioned by the Council, however this is only one aspect of what is necessary for the residents to determine the viability of the Electric Utility. An in -depth analysis of every aspect of the Electric Utility must be conducted for the residents to properly determine whether to keep and upgrade the utility; or pursue its sale to PSE&G or JCP&L. This includes a complete valuation of assets and liabilities, the cost of property and construction of a new substation, an examination of all areas where the Borough currently saves money by operating the Electrical Utility, including electrical consumption by municipal facilities, street lights and the payment of wages and benefits to Borough employees not associated with the Electrical Utility. Most importantly, an accurate and honest assessment must be made of what financial benefit or liability awaits rate payers, regardless of which option is chosen. While this analysis is conducted, the Borough must implore the Army Corps of Engineers to both examine the current flooding issues and make recommendations to ensure that the flooding will be reduced, if not eliminated. In addition, county, state, and federal resources must be secured to correct this grave situation. Similarly, an Emergency Action Plan must be established with the input of our residents that is both viable and visible to all. The Borough must ensure that shelters are available for displaced residents and that all residents receive immediate access to critical information during times of crisis. In the wake of the events caused by Hurricane Irene, there is an immediate need to take action to ensure these events never occur again in Milltown. We have a plan for improving communications with residents. We have a plan for remedying the flooding problems. We have a plan for conclusively allowing residents to decide if Milltown should remain in the business of selling electricity. And we have a plan for our firehouses. With your support this Election Day, we will, with your consideration and approval, correct the problems and leadership deficiencies exposed by Hurricane Irene. Respectfully, Eric Steeber –Milltown Democratic Candidate for Mayor Randy Farkas-Milltown Democratic Candidate for Borough Council Joe Pietanza-Milltown Democratic Candidate for Borough Council