Eatontown: It's July and the Borough Council was hot this week. Four big issues were on agenda and here's what you missed...
Community Choice Aggregation Presentation
Community Choice Aggregation: short for alternative energy suppliers for local communities. Presenting from Colonial Power Group was Brian Murphy with the help of Scott MacFadden of Birdsall Services Group.
The presentation stressed the benefits to the community. With energy deregulation consumers are no longer stuck with a single choice and electric company rates. Murphy and MacFadden expressed that choice, control and stability would be key features of this system. In addition, Eatontown could set its own energy-related goals and potentially create a revenue stream. The town in terms of stability can seek long-term rates with a host of different companies.
The plan proposed would not require tax dollars be used and there are no penalties to consumers. The consumer pays no fee to “opt-in” or “opt-out” of the program. However, residential electricity customers would be automatically included and serviced by the supplier unless they already have a alternative company other than JCP&L providing electricity. (WORDontheShore doesn't have to tell you that there are a number of alternative companies heavily marketing the JCP&L serviced area for your business already. Most make the claim that you can save up to 10% on electricity rates under their plans.)
The plan presented at the council meeting is in initial stages of discussion and would need to go through a "12-step" program before being implemented. Residents shouldn't expect a change in their electric supplier any time in the immediate future. However, the plan does have a benefit of savings up to 10% in lower electricity bills from the current JCP&L rates so there is a compelling argument to move forward.
Important facts for borough residents:
Eatontown Fire Department - New Equipment
Second "hot" topic of the evening was the fire department plea for new equipment. As was previously reported, the department had made a request to council for approval to retire two older trucks and purchase a new "Quint class" fire fighting truck. The department is again asking the borough to consider the request given costs to maintain the old equipment and need based on manpower availability with an all-volunteer crew.
The Quint truck that the department is proposing provides all of the features of the two existing trucks but require less manpower to roll in an emergency. The truck comes with a hefty pricetag as well, which is of great concern to the council.
Quint Truck Request by Eatontown FD
Mayor Tarantolo, while supportive of the department, would like to see possible shared services with adjacent towns to help defer costs while providing the current level of fire protection to Eatontown residents. “Eatontown should take the lead to create dialogue with other communities for mutual services. Let’s get surrounding municipalities to agree and make an effort to work together."
Council President Anthony Talerico suggested that given the current economic climate demand for new fire trucks is low and supply high. This might give the borough department leverage is negotiating a better price on a new truck.
Borough Library: Stucco Between Rock and Hard Place
Problems with the borough library façade was again the topic of discussion this week. Water getting trapped between the brick veneer and stucco has damaged the building and may require more than a minor cosmetic fix.
The current proposal with an estimated price tag of $75,000 was presented. This proposal would fix the stucco only and was presented as the minor fix. However, council is concerned that the cost may be higher given the cause of the water problem has yet to been identified. It was proposed that an architect be commissioned to determine the full story on the building before proceeding with repairs.
The "discussion" of acquiring Mallette Hall on the site of the former Ft. Monmouth property didn't disappoint. The familiar arguments of needed borough space and a high price tag peppered by deep political party division was the hallmark of the evening.
Mayor Tarantolo has been working hard to get the property from the Feds as a gift to the borough to be used as a new town complex and center. Councilmen Gonzalez and Connelly have both been staunch opponents to the proposal given the $15 million dollar pricetag placed on making Mallette Hall a new home.
Discussion was tabled to a later date and will be taken up again in August.
Mallette Hall - Proposed new home for borough complex
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