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Posts Tagged ‘Neptune Township Committee’

By Charles Layton

The Neptune Township Committee voted Monday night to implement single stream recycling, under which residents will no longer need to separate their recyclables into different categories.

Instead, they will simply place cans, bottles, cardboard, paper and plastic in the same container and leave it at the curb. These various items will be separated out later by special processing equipment.

Deputy Mayor Eric Houghtaling said the new system should go into effect in about one year.

The ordinance approved on Monday night authorizes the purchase of two new automated recycling trucks and a large quantity of special new recycling cans, at an overall initial cost of $1.1 million. All but $55,000 of that will be financed through a bond issue.

These trucks are equipped with an automated arm that lifts the cans off the curb and empties them into the truck beds.

However, Houghtaling explained, these trucks are too large to navigate the narrow streets of Ocean Grove. Therefore, in Ocean Grove, as opposed to the rest of Neptune, recyclables will continue to be collected manually, as at present. But once the new system is implemented, OG residents will no longer need to separate their recyclables; everything can be placed at the curb in the same green containers that are already being used here — or in any similar containers, for that matter.

Ocean Grove recyclables will continue to be collected once a week, Houghtaling said.

Mayor Randy Bishop said the expense of the new trucks will be reduced by the fact that the Township needs to replace two of its garbage trucks anyway. Neptune’s chief financial officer, Michael Bascom, said he thought the Township would actually save money by switching to single stream — perhaps anywhere from $60,000 to $150,000 per year, he said.

Houghtaling said the single stream system, because of its convenience, should encourage more people to recycle, thus lessening the amount of regular garbage and trash requiring disposal. This, he said, should save on landfill tipping fees. Monmouth County landfills charge Neptune $73.50 a ton for garbage and trash, he said.

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By Charles Layton

Neptune Township is preparing to switch to “single-stream” recycling.

Chief Financial Officer Michael Bascom made a strong case for it at Monday night’s Township Committee meeting, and the Committee seemed to be on board.

Bascom said the change to this new recycling system could save the Township “tens of thousands of dollars per year” while at the same time making recycling easier for residents.

Under a single-stream system, residents would no longer separate out newspapers, cardboard, mixed paper, metal and plastic. Instead, it would all go into a single container to be collected and sorted later by special processing equipment.

Bascom’s arguments echoed the arguments one finds on various websites promoting the process — that because of its convenience more people will participate, and that the Township will save on landfill costs and also, because of the automation involved, on personnel costs.

Committeeman Eric Houghtaling said that the Township’s public works director, Wayne Rode, was “really for this.”

Bascom said the Township would need to purchase two new automated recycling trucks and a large quantity of new recycling cans, at an overall initial cost of more than $1 million, but that the savings in other areas would probably more than compensate. “At worst it will be a break-even,” he said.

Mayor Randy Bishop said the Township will soon need to buy new recycling trucks anyway, because the old ones are wearing out.

Although most Neptune residents will have to be issued new recycling cans — which look more like regular garbage cans — residents of Ocean Grove would probably continue using the same familiar green cans but with all types of materials commingled rather than sorted. Bishop said the new recycling trucks can’t be used in Ocean Grove “because they can’t reach between the parked cars.” Our recyclables will therefore need to be collected by hand, as now.

Bascom said the Township might have to collect more often in Ocean Grove.

Bishop said an ordinance will be introduced at the Committee’s July 9 meeting to get the process rolling. “Our expectation is that it will take 12 months to implement,” he said.

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Guess where? Is this public property? Photo by Paul Goldfinger.

By Charles Layton

Neptune Township proposes to pass an ordinance restricting skateboarding and rollerblading (i.e., inline skating) on public property.

For purposes of the ordinance, the term “public property” would include parking areas; parking lots; steps, walkways and ramps that provide access to buildings, and recreational areas not specifically designated for skateboard and rollerblade use. The term would not include public roads and highways, sidewalks abutting private property, or bicycle and/or skateboard paths — those would be permitted areas unless specifically disallowed.

The proposal was introduced at the Township Committee meeting on May 24. It received unanimous approval by Committee members on first reading.

Mayor Randy Bishop said the issue first came up because people had been skateboarding in the Neptune Senior Center’s parking lot, which was considered hazardous.

Under the proposed ordinance, police could issue a summons to offenders. They could also seize the skateboard or rollerblades of an offender.

In the public comment portion of the May 24 meeting, Kennedy Buckley of Ocean Grove told the Committee members that skateboarding had become a major recreation for a great many young people, “and you’re not providing a place. Think about providing, not just prohibiting.”

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By Charles Layton

The man who is seeking to replace Mary Beth Jahn on the Neptune Township Committee was himself replaced Monday night. The Township Committee voted not to reappoint Nicholas Williams to his seat on the board of the Neptune Housing Authority.

It was an unmistakable signal that Committeewoman Jahn and Mayor Randy Bishop are prepared to fight back against those in the local Democratic Party who wish to remove Jahn.

Jahn has said the party’s municipal chairman, James Mowczan, is opposing her candidacy for reelection because of a dispute over an important job appointment. Jahn has refused to support the hiring of James Manning Jr., a former Neptune mayor, as the township’s next business administrator when Philip Huhn retires from that post at the end of this year. Manning, she says, is not qualified. However, Williams, who seeks to replace Jahn on the Township Committee, is thought to favor Manning’s appointment, although he has made no public statements to that effect. (An attempt to reach Williams for comment was unsuccessful.)

Nick Williams -- removed from the Housing Authority board.

It was a tense moment at Monday night’s meeting when the Committee came to consider whether to reappoint Williams to the housing board. Jahn moved to appoint Beverly Holland, a former Neptune Board of Education president, instead of Williams. Mayor Bishop asked if anyone wished to second that motion. When the other three committee members — Eric Houghtaling, Kevin McMillan and Dr. Michael Brantley — remained silent, Bishop said, “All right, then, I’ll second it.”

When the vote was taken, Bishop and Jahn voted for Holland’s appointment. The other three abstained. Gene Anthony, the Township’s attorney, then ruled that, according to the law, when members of a public body abstain not based on a vested interest, their abstentions are treated as in agreement with the majority of those voting. And so, Jahn’s motion passed. By abstaining, Houghtaling, McMillan and Brantley were able to finesse an uncomfortable situation, allowing Bishop and Jahn to have their way without themselves overtly defying other leaders of their party.

Houghtaling, McMillan and Brantley appeared to be trying to avoid taking sides in what has quickly, over the past three days, developed into an open war among Neptune democrats, with Bishop and Jahn on one side and Mowczan and Williams on the other.

After the vote, no more was said about the matter — until time came for public comments from the floor. At that point, Kennedy Buckley of Ocean Grove rose and delivered a speech denouncing the Neptune Democratic Party leadership for trying to pressure the Township Committee into hiring Manning. He also praised Jahn for standing up against that pressure. “It just stinks to high heaven,” he said. He appealed to other members of the Committee to follow Jahn’s example. His appeal was answered with a tense silence.

Much would seem to be riding on the outcome of this struggle over Jahn’s seat on the Committee. Here is some background:

Jahn and Brantley are both up for reelection this year. On Saturday morning, Neptune’s Democratic district leaders, in a meeting at Mom’s Kitchen, voted — apparently by a narrow margin — to recommend that Brantley, but not Jahn, be given special priority on the ballot in the party’s June 5 primary election. In place of Jahn, the district leaders voted to recommend that Williams be listed on the party’s “line” on the ballot.

However, the final decision about that lies with the County Democratic Party and its chairman, Victor Scudiery. If Scudiery decides in favor of Williams, Jahn’s chances of winning the primary will be diminished, because she would lose the more favorable ballot position as well as the campaign support of the party. However, if Scudiery rejects the Neptune party’s recommendation and sticks with Jahn, that would constitute a defeat for Mowczan, for Williams and probably also for Manning. (The Republicans are not considered to have much chance in the general election, no matter who the Democrats’ candidates turn out to be.)

In case Scudiery rules against her, Jahn was gathering signatures on a petition Tuesday to assure that she has a place on the primary ballot.

The outcome of this struggle could effect Ocean Grove in tangible ways. Although Ocean Grove is a Republican stronghold, Jahn has developed a following here because of her positions on some important local issues. These include the North End redevelopment and the problem of derelict buildings in Ocean Grove.

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For more information and background on the local party’s move against Jahn’s candidacy, go here.

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By Charles Layton

At the end of every Neptune Township Committee meeting, members of the public are invited to come to the podium and ask questions or make comments on any subject they choose.

People complain about taxes, or accuse the Township of poor management, or ask for help with standing water or some other problem in their neighborhood. The Committee members have pretty much heard it all, many times over.

But on Monday night a man named George Matreyek of Seaside Park, NJ, took everyone by surprise. He told the Committee he had once been, at various times, a mayor, a committeeman and a member of the zoning and planning boards in Andover Township. “So I’ve been in your position,” he said, “and I’m hoping you can help me.”

After his retirement, Matreyek told the Committee, he and his wife moved to northeastern Pennsylvania where he took a part-time job at an outdoor store selling firearms and ammunition. Anyone who takes such a job must submit to a routine background check, and when Matreyek’s report came back “it said I was a convicted felon.” It also said he had served a year in prison for his alleged crime — assaulting a Neptune Township police officer.

So in December, Matreyek lost his job.

He says he’s absolutely certain he was never convicted of any felony, let alone served time in any prison. “He’s been in my bed for all that time,” his wife, Barbara, told me out in the hallway after the meeting.

Matreyek told me he and his wife have established that the crime in question was committed on June 26, 1998, that the perpetrator was a woman, not a man, and that she was convicted in Manasquan Superior Court. However, he said, through some typo or other form of bureaucratic foulup, Matreyek’s Social Security number was attached to the woman’s name. This misinformation has spread across federal, state and local databases far and wide, and officials have refused to take responsibility for correcting the mixup, he said. In the eyes of the government, at all levels, he remains a criminal and an ex-con.

Barbara Matreyek said one of the first phone calls she made, trying to clear things up, was to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The woman on the other end of the line, she said, told her, “Well, you don’t really know your husband that well. Men can tell you anything.”

Neither the ATF, the FBI nor the U.S. Justice Department has been willing to take their problem seriously, they told me.

The bum rap has been humiliating. It has damaged his reputation. People “think of him now as a convicted criminal,” his wife said.

“Nobody will clear it up but its obviously wrong,” he said. “I don’t know the name of the woman. Don’t know her age. Nothing.” Officials have denied them that information, he said, for privacy reasons.

In his speech before the Township Committee, Matreyek said that because the object of the assault 14 years ago had been a Neptune policeman, he hoped Neptune could get to the bottom of things “and get it corrected on down the line, and on up the line.”

The Committee said they would try.

Matreyek told me, though, that no matter what happens now he doubts he can get his job back. “They had to hire someone else,” he said.

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