LAKEHURST – Council members reported on the status of various infrastructure projects, upgrades and repairs along with the pending retirement of a crumbling fixture and the borough’s lake during their last meeting.
Council President Steven Oglesby ran that session in the absence of Mayor Harry Robbins. The meeting included discussion of the development of the borough’s spending plan.
Councilwoman Patricia Hodges said she met with the borough’s financial officer to discuss the preliminary development of this year’s spending plan. “The finance committee met. We set a timeline which could change to developments of COVID going on. We’ll be working on the budget.”
She added that the ordinance committee had also met and that further review is taking place concerning the ordinance book. An ordinance is forthcoming concerning regulations pertaining to the borough’s lake.
“We will need to add one additional item to the lake ordinance before final passage,” the council president said. “There was some concern of alcohol use and that will be included. We need to incorporate the use of the pavilion. I don’t believe that is included within recreation use. I couldn’t find it. I think we will need to do that before we present it,” Oglesby added.
He requested that when the final wording for that ordinance was drafted, “send out the entire ordinance to the council so they can review it.”
During the summer the borough received complaints from residents regarding out-of-town use of the lake causing a lack of parking. For several months the council has been reviewing its options on what could be done to relieve the parking problem.
Borough Attorney Ian Goldman has been researching options for the borough and reviewing the wording of the ordinance.
“We’ll be having another meeting and we’ll be getting the wording down,” Oglesby said.
Councilman Brian Dimeo reported on the status of the borough’s youth recreation program and said “due to the rising COVID numbers and the state guidelines we’re not planning any gathering type of events. We discussed a few things that we could possibly do remotely. That really is the gist of it at this point. We just can’t get together yet.”
“Building and grounds are taking bids on the roof replacement on the borough hall. There is also some work on the bulkheads,” Councilman Gary Lowe said.
He added that “in regards to the pavilion (at the lake) we’re running into a problem with the fire pit. It is starting to dilapidate and it needs to come down. There is no need to have it there because it really isn’t usable.”
Councilman Lowe said that other than having a bonfire, there really wasn’t a use for the firepit and by removing it the area would gain more space.
“It is rather expensive to rebuild. I don’t know how the council feels about that?” Lowe added. “It is a safety hazard. It was an old box to begin with. It was there when we built (the pavilion) it. It would have to be rebuilt.”
“There was some discussion of putting an insert in and work around that and maybe extending its life,” Councilman James Davis said.
“Any money we dump into that would take away from other upgrades like increase the electrical system. It makes more sense to spend money on those upgrades than on something we essentially don’t use,” Davis added.
Hodges added that it’s nice esthetically but it’s more practical to upgrade the electrical system.
Councilman Lowe said internet improvements were set to occur at the water plant and for the community center. “We’re doing that due to the need for training for public works. It is easier to put things up on a big screen than having each one of them sit before a computer. For the amount of money it is worth doing.”
Davis noted that State Department of Transportation projects are planned, including concrete curbing south of Route 70 and asphalt on the north side of Route 70.
He also noted that 100 feet of bulkheading south of the pier “down by that curb that is crumbling” was planned. “We have about 110 or so pear trees that we will take out. We expect some people won’t be happy with them being removed and we’re prepping a letter to explain that there is a liability for damage and that would belong to the residents if they aren’t removed so we think most residents will want us to take them out because they could do considerable damage to the sidewalks.”
“We’ll be running to the new bathroom (at the lake) we are looking at that being in the second week in February. We are looking at getting the equipment in place,” Davis said.