Pennington Council makes appointments and improvements

At Pennington Borough Council’s July 5, meeting, the mayor made several appointments, fire inspections by Hopewell Township were discussed, and Public Works explained their lead line identification project.

Mayor Mayor Jim Davy appointed one new member to the Planning Board and two new members to the Environmental Commission.

Amy Kassler Taub was nominated to the Alternate 2 position on the Planning Board for an unexpired term ending December 31, 2022. Current Planning Board member, Jeanne Van Orman was moved from the Alternate 2 to the Alternate 1 position. 

“Jim Reilly and Deb Gnatt both interviewed Amy Kassler Taub and both found her to be an excellent candidate for the position,” stated Davy.

Davy recommended candidates for two of the three available positions on the Environmental Commission with his appointments of John Valenza and Jim Fuger. Fuger will serve in the Alternate 1 position. Both were both appointed for unexpired terms ending December 31, 2022. 

Davy also shared an update on the Sked Street Park Improvement Project and the process by which the project will be designed. 

“The Parks and Recreation Committee under the leadership of Brett Margulis will be coming up with a preliminary design for certain improvements at the park,” he stated. “The charge is that he and the Parks and Recreation Committee with work in collaboration and in conjunction with the Public Works Committee to reach agreement on what should be done at the park. From there we are planning to conduct a community neighbors meeting so that the community and the neighbors are very clear on what is being proposed and to gather more input from them and then the final plan would be presented to the Borough Council for authorization.”

Ryan Fraser, a Pennington resident moving within the Borough, wrote to Mayor Davy prior to the July 5 Council meeting on the issue of certification of smoke alarms when selling a home in Pennington.

Fraser stated in his letter that the Hopewell Valley Bureau of Fire Safety [administered by Hopewell Township] currently states that due to COVID-19, in person, residential inspections of one and two family dwellings will not be conducted. Instead, homeowners may self-certify unless there is a hardwired system present. In that case, a licensed electrician must conduct the inspection.

Fraser stated that this is a local requirement not detailed in the Administrative Code and that the requirement in unfair to homeowners. While in-person inspections no longer take place, Pennington residents are still required to pay the same fee.

“A lot of things have changed with COVID, including this self-certify,” stated Council President Kit Chandler. “So why can’t we just do the self-certify?”

“Why are we contracting out to Hopewell Township to do nothing?” she continued, stating: “We can do nothing all by ourselves.”

“We can ask them to do that,” said Council Member Charles Marciante. “We can say if you are going to charge a $100 fee, then go out and inspect it.”

Superintendent of Public Works Rick Smith highlighted the status of the lead service line identification project. Pennington residents who have received a letter can make an appointment with Public Works to have their lines evaluated. Smith noted that the next round of letters will be going out shortly to complete the evaluation process.

“Since the last formal update we have done 300 and have maybe 200 more to go,” stated Smith. “It is not as devastating as I thought it would have been, especially because we are not finding any actual lead.” 

“We are finding galvanized,” said Smith. “We hope to wrap up the last of these and then have a firm idea of [the number] will be for us to complete every year to meet the ten year goal.”

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