I would like to address the misleading and disingenuous claims that the Milltown Republican candidates posted in the Home News Tribune on October 11, 2011.
The only obvious effort the Republican Council took with regard to the relocation of our Electrical Utility Sub-Station was to walk away from the negotiations of 50 Washington Ave. over approximately $300,000.00. The candidates should be embarrassed that they are taking credit for proposals with regard to the substation. I have been proposing we elevate the switchgear building since taking office on January 3rd, 2011.
Councilman Ryan and I have participated in many meetings and discussions both pre and post Hurricane Irene and therefore believe we are responsible in great deal for the shift of priority from Fire House to Sub-Station. Clearly our campaign of last year supports thefact that Councilman Ryan and myself are looking out for the best interest of the Borough of Milltown. We debated not only relocation of the Sub-Station but elevation as well.
Ironically the Republican Candidates accuse others of making this issue political yet the Republican controlled Council continues to conduct business while excluding the minority from the process. One of the reasons Councilman Ryan and I sat silent during audience comments during the September 12 council meeting was because we wanted to hear the residents’ concerns and complaints and not engage in negative dialogue which clearly was the case for others.
It is apparent that Republican candidate’s words carry no weightfor during the entire state of emergency the Republican led leadership of our Fire Department was noticeably absent. This behavior seems to be typical of the lack of leadership demonstrated over the course of the last several years.
Let the record also reflect had it not been for my private and public persistence the removal of the train trestle and consideration of other steps towards mitigation would not be part of the current debate.
With regard to our efforts to improve our communication with residents we once again have the resources of Middlesex County to thank, much like the fact that the lack of Leadership on the part of the Fire Department led to the need for an inter-local agreement with the Middlesex County Fire Marshall.
We are committed to work together with current council and the residents to find the best solutions for Milltown in this great time of need as long as we are fully informed at all times…something that has been addressed with the current council and is well on its way of being rectified.
If anyone would like further clarification please do not hesitate to contact me.
Milltown Borough Councilman
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.
Eric Steeber –Milltown Democratic Candidate for Mayor
Randy Farkas-Milltown Democratic Candidate for Borough Council
Joe Pietanza-Milltown Democratic Candidate for Borough Council