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RECENT MEETINGS: Summit Common Council Candidates October 24th and 25th, 2017.
These meetings were held at The Oakes Center Auditorium on 120 Morris Avenue. Democrats Marjorie Fox (Ward 2), Beth Little (at Large), and Matt Gould (Ward 1) met on the 24th; Republicans Mike Wattick (Ward 2), David Dietze (at Large), and John Dougherty (Ward 1) met on the 25th.
The following highlights are not sufficient to substitute for a complete discussion of candidate platforms found on other sites, but here are some highlights from the ESA meetings most relevant to our neighborhoods:
Lead-off topics were property taxes and Affordable Housing.
Candidates were asked how Summit could leverage less burden due to County and State distribution of tax payments, as it is known Summit pays more into the systems than it receives. For the County, part of the problem may be due to the fact the County Freeholders were elected from the Eastern side of Union Country, so Summit does not have a member to represent them. For the State, Summit only receives $450 per student for education, while other municipalities, especially those in the East side of the County receive several or more thousand dollars per student. Thus, Education and Taxes are intertwined. For example, Summit offers half-day kindergarten. To fund all-day kindergarten, property taxes would go up, possibly over $1000 per housing unit, further driving out seniors and other lower income residents. Also, members of East Summit suggested discounts for seniors and municipal servants with lower income to encourage a diverse range of residents.
An affordable housing unit was assigned to Russell Place due to the builders inability to allocate the mandatory 20% affordable housing at a development location, selected from one of the seven overlays. East Summit residents strongly advised future council members to hold to the seven overlap locations and not use a clause that allows alternate locations, most likely I East Summit, next time this issue comes up.
The new Springfield Avenue sidewalk is now open! Though it may require some stamina, you can now walk all the way from Broad Street to Downtown Summit via Springfield Avenue without crossing the street.
The Park Line is in progress. Councilman Rubino gave members of the ESA a tour of sections of the park line path already in place. A substantial majority of the path covers secluded areas such as the wooded areas between Morris and Broad Streets near Overlook hospital, and lesser known trails off Michigan Avenue reaching to behind the Nights of Columbus. Concerns about the path crossing behind residential areas are being addressed with plans for fencing and other coverage methods. The ESA constantly reminds Common Council members to enforce this coverage during construction.
Sanitary Sewer Issues
The Department of Community Services has written an article published on the front page of the Summit Times in March 2017 regarding the sewer system. The department asks that Summit residents refrain from disposing of adult and baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, cooking oils or other grease down the drains. Not only does this cause problems for homeowners and small businesses, but the old pipes along the Summit sewer system experience undue stress due to blockages, which can result in back-ups and odors. The ESA president has inspected areas along the Broad Street sewer line and detected some odors, his concern is that there may be a need to replace parts of the line, as the source of these smells has confounded many people.
ESA encourages residents to become involved in Summit's Neighborhood watch program. For more information, please contact the Summit Police Crime Prevention Officer Charlie Daly email.
POLICE UPDATE: Several thefts from unlocked automobiles in residential driveways continue to be reported. Also, there was a home burglary attempt in the area. Please continue to lock your cars and homes.