At its meeting October 5, the Pennington Council discussed a wide array of topics from New Jersey’s plans to face COVID-19 to the Borough’s new website.

Mayor Joe Lawver opened the meeting by announcing a conversation he had with Judith Persichilli, a Pennington resident and, since December 2018,  Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health.  He said they discussed New Jersey’s plans for addressing the COVID-19 epidemic. The State’s plan, Lawver explained, is to “vaccinate 70% of adults within six months of a vaccine being available.” What that means, he said, is when they have full access to the vaccine,  70,000 people per day will need to be vaccinated daily to reach 70% in 6 months. He said that Persichilli explained that the current outlook is for a 2-dose protocol and that many issues regarding distribution will have to be addressed before the plan can be launched.

Lawver added that Persichilli told him that when the vaccine first becomes available, priority will be given to essential healthcare workers, then to other health workers and medically compromised people, including those age 65 and older. He noted that Persichilli emphasized that, in the meantime while we wait for a COVID-19 vaccine, everyone must get a flu shot this year to minimize the threat of a double pandemic.

Regarding Halloween, Borough Administrator Eileen Heinzel stated that the three Hopewell Valley municipal administrators have discussed trick-or-treating protocols and agreed that whatever the guidelines are for one town should be the same throughout the Valley. 

“Hopewell Borough got in front [of the issue] and, working with Stephanie Carey’s office [of public health], they came up with a set of guidelines,” said Heinzel who explained that the emphasis is on being “somewhat low-key and socially distant.” Heinzel shared a copy of the protocols, you can find it here.

Heinzel stated that the CDC and State of New Jersey have the same guidelines and emphasized that, if residents have their lights out or no candy out, people should respect that and refrain from knocking on their door or “tricking” them. She added that the Borough will not be closing Burd Street this year as they have in the past because they feel that encourages congregating.

Heinzel stated that Carey told her this decision “is going to be made by the virus” and if there is a spike in cases, her guidance may change, but for now based on current guidelines, this is the current thinking. The municipalities will be distributing guidance material through the schools.

The continuing issue of proper disposal of trash from outdoor restaurants on Main Street was addressed by Council member Chico Marciante who stated that the public works committee discussed that one solution might be to “hinge outdoor eating permits to garbage.” Marciante noted that the new restaurant, The Pig and the Pit has been taking care of its patrons’ garbage well.

There was discussion of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance’s request for $204, related to HVMA’s move from operating under a Hopewell Township grant to working with the Hopewell Valley Regional School District.  The request was granted by the Council with the caveat that the CFO of HVMA must identify a source of the funding in the budget.

Following the retirement of John Hall as Construction Code official, the Council appointed Thomas Petto as Construction Code Official. Heinzel indicated that the Borough received a number of applications and that Petto, who also is employed by the Hopewell Township construction office, was their preferred candidate. 

Heinzel also mentioned that the Borough unveiled their newly revamped website and encouraged everyone to check it out.

The next meeting of the Pennington Borough Council is scheduled for Monday November 2 at 7pm.

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