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Bulk trash fees raised, budget for Closson study approved at Lambertville city council meeting

By Karen Taylor

Thursday night’s meeting of city council included discussion on reimbursing Lambertville residents for cancelled Zoom meetings. Residents appearing at land-use meetings were forced to re-notice at considerable expense when meetings were cancelled because of incorrect links posted for access to the meetings. Council members expressed concerns about creating a precedent, but agreed to pursue the issue of reimbursements.

A resolution was passed to raise bulk rate trash fees to reflect the actual cost of disposal. In previous years, some of these items were accepted during Sparkle Week, but in 2020 the cost of that event doubled, forcing the city to impose limits. Items such as sofas, mattresses and box springs will be collected throughout the year after payment of a fee at city hall.

A resolution to pay for a second round environmental study of the Closson property by BRS, not to exceed $27,130 was approved. This is a continuation of earlier work that was authorized by ordinance.

Council agreed to spend $16,800 for an interim business administrator who will work 240 hours at $70 per hour. The focus will be on the 2021 budget but will include looking at systems and processes within the scope of the budget.

An ordinance to amend fees for dumpsters on city streets was approved on first reading. According to Mayor Fahl, the intent is to get dumpsters off city streets as quickly as possible.

Councilman Ward Sanders introduced an ordinance to impose a prohibition on awarding contracts to organizations which make contributions to elected officials. The ordinance aims for zero tolerance, but will permit emergency exceptions when the need for access to services is critical.

A bond ordinance for $33,500 plus bonding costs was introduced to pay for repairs and maintenance to the street sweeper, parts for trucks engaged in plowing snow and repairs to a truck used for waste collection.

Councilman Sanders reported the PennEast Pipeline Committee needs new members and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case regarding eminent domain for New Jersey state lands. He also mentioned that the city is considering the ramifications of voters’ approval of recreational marijuana sales in New Jersey. While waiting for the governor to act, the city is trying to get ahead of the issue by considering where retail can be permitted.

During the public participation portion of the meeting, residents were reminded that CAT surveys on purchase of the Closson property is due Thursday, Feb. 21.

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