Highlights of Apr 12th 2016 Raritan Borough Council Meeting
All council people were present. At the start of the meeting there were about 25 people in attendence.
The meeting was broadcast on "Cablevision-Optimum" Channel 15. and "Verizon FIOS" Channel 37.
However the sound was low on Cablevision-Optimum.
Click to see video of full meeting- 1:43:00
The town voted to require the bank that owns (this beauty of a)
house at 401 Tillman Street to tear it down.
Construction Official Lou Gara testified that the house was not fit
for human occupation and that it was not worth repairing.

The building was abandoned by its owner ten years ago.

Click to see video - 10:08
The town wants the planning board to do a redevelopment study
to possibly rezone two properties on LaGrange Street. (Shown left)
Those two properties currently have the First Aid Building and a vacant business.
A new use could be "High Density Housing" - (Townhouse / Senior's Housing).
Click to see video - 2:58

The vote to move the decision to The Planning Board - was approved 3-2-1.
Councilmen Foohey and Sibilia voted "No" and Councilwoman Carra "Abstained".
In order to replace/improve the Electric System at the Raritan Library
Action Electric Services of South Plainfield was approved
as the contractor at a cost of $30,912.
The money for this unplanned, large expense needs to come from "The Capital Surplus"
Thus this Ordinance "Approval" is just the "First Reading" and
a "Second Reading" with a Public Hearing needs to be done at a later meeting
before final approval is granted.
(Government approval has its formalities - and is not always quick.)
It was reported that the owner of the badly damaged shopping center
on Route 202 has at last applied for a demolition permit.

(The demolition process is moving along slower than the town wanted,
but it is moving along.)
It is now official ! The Washington School Property, previously owned by the County,
will be sold to Raritan for $1.
The building will be knocked down (it needs too much repair)
by the county at no cost to Raritan.
The property is what can be used by Raritan.
There are 6 acres. That does not include the ballfields to the north.
Having this much property presents a unique opportunity for Raritan.
Mayor Chuck McMullin discussed his idea for what can be done with the Washington School Property.
The discussion at the meeting was a bit scattered.
But below is what this author interpreted as the overall possible plan.
On the location of The Washington School (after it is knocked down) a large building, or group of buildings,
could be built to house several of Raritan's Departments. This would include:
The Police Department, Fire Department, Recreation, and First Aid Squad.

Today the Police Department is cramped into a section of the Municipal Building and also has a trailer outside the building.

And the Fire Department uses two separate locations.
Both locations, even the more modern North Thompson Street location have limitations and challenges.

Recreation, which is currently squeezed into the back of the old Firehouse, could use more space.

The First Aid Squad, while shared with Somerville, still wants to have a presence in Raritan.

If the new complex is built the Fire Department could move its truck out of the old Anderson Street Firehouse.
That would allow for the first floor of that building to be used by The Raritan Historical and Cultural Committee
to display Raritan's history in a museum like setting.
The second story of the Anderson Street Firehouse could become a much needed "storage" location for the town.

The space previously used by the Police Department at the Municipal Building could be used by the town.

To pay for the new building(s) funding could come from a few sources:
- Sale of the Firehouse / Property at North Thompson Street
- Sale of the First Aid Squad Building on LaGrange Street
- Grants

The Mayor has requested that the various departments who would be impacted by the change
(the Fire Department, the Police Department, Recreation, and the First Aid Squad)
do a "Needs Assessment" for what they would need to operate at the new location.
The Mayor has asked that these "Needs Assessments" be done by the end of June.
Other Meeting Highlights Include:

The Borough Clerk, Maggie Schmitt has resigned. Her last day will be May 20th.

DPW is looking to hire two people at $10 per hour (no benefits) for the summer.
Duties include cutting the grass and other stuff.
One position will be filled immediately by Ronny Johnson. The other position is still open.

Purchase Order - approved (Vote 6-0)
$3,159 to "QED" for the Annual Software Maintenance Agreement for the Police Department's RMS System