Mayor Pasquale Menna offers an official welcome to the RBPD K9 unit of Hunter, a 21-month-old Belgian Malinois, and his handler, Patrolman Stan Balmer. Below, an image used in a presentation on the Bellhaven spray park last August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Details just around the corner…
Shouted down by cab owners and drivers twice in recent years, the latest attempt to amend the borough’s taxi law sailed though with barely a pothole in the way.
Among other things, the amendment boosts the number of licenses available in the borough to 50, from 45. It institutes a criminal background check, and bars felony convicts – and those found guilty of DWI or reckless driving – from obtaining or renewing licenses, with an appeal process. It sets the annual license fee for owner/drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles at $100, compared to $150 for gas-powered cards. And it bumps up the fares cabbies can charge. Here’s the full text: RB 2015-02
The pothole, if that, was in the form of a complaint by a cabbie who told the council that the increase in the number medallions would further cut into earnings of drivers, some of whom are already earning “embarrassing” levels of income because of competition.
“If you think we need 50 cabs in this town, then you really don’t know your town,” Paul Kulha, who said he’s affiliated with Yellow Car, told council members. “Give the little guy a break.”
Approval of the ordinance was unanimous, with only Councilman Mike DuPont absent.
BELLHAVEN SPRAY PARK
Last we heard, the spray feature playground proposed for installation at Bellhaven Nature Area on Locust Avenue was on hold. But in response to inquiries from resident Rose Sestito, one of the feature’s advocates, officials said that because there’s a May deadline for use a $239,000 Monmouth County Open Spaces grant, the council was moving ahead with plans to bid out the project.
“The footprint of the spray feature has shrunk considerably” since it was discussed last August, said Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, the liaison to the Parks & Rec committee, though she offered no specifics.
Business Administrator Stanley Sickels said the bidding process will help the council determine exactly how much various elements of the park will cost.
“Then we can make up our minds as to whether to go ahead with the water feature or not,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna.
The grant would have to be matched by other funding sources.
Three borough patrolmen were cited with Lifesaving Awards for their fast action in saving the life of a 61-year-old borough man who suffered cardiac arrest on River Street on February 20.
Councilman Art Murphy, the liaison to the RBPD, said Officers Tom Doremus and Tanner Shea performed CPR on the victim, who was not breathing, until Officer David Smith could use a defibrillator on him. The man was transported to Riverview Medical Center, where he recovered, Murphy said.
“We don’t hear enough good things about police officers lately, but they’re really out there doing good,” said Chief Darren McConnell, to applause from the audience.
Menna offered an official welcome to the newest member of police department, Hunter, 21-month-old Belgian Malinois.
The dog, handled by Patrolman Stan Balmer, is now undergoing narcotics-search training and certification, which will give him the equivalent of expert-witness testimony in drug cases, according to McConnell.
The council also unanimously passed a dog protection law, which Menna said last month would make it easier for the borough to prosecute those who neglect dogs by leaving them tied up for hours, or with heavy tethers, or when the weather is unusually cold or hot.
The amendment spells out when and under what conditions dogs may be tethered in yards or left in vehicles. Chains are prohibited. Dogs may not be left outside for more than half an hour when the temperature drops below 32 degrees or climbs above 85. Dogs under a year old or weighing less than 20 pounds may not be tethered.
Another provision of the law requires that any motorist who hits a dog must report the accident to the police and try to assist the animal, if possible. And dogs may not be left alone in cars for more than 15 minutes in extreme cold or heat.
Here’s the full text: RB 2015-03
Menna said he’s now working on proposed changes to the law as it pertains to pet shops and breeders.
Menna reported that he’s pressing Monmouth County and the state Department of Transportation for pedestrian safety improvements on East Front Street at Riverview Medical Center and along the entirety of Route 35 through town, respectively, and getting positive feedback.