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South Amboy: Promotions and Emotions Dominate

SOUTH AMBOY – Dennis McQuade is sworn in as Police Sergeant.
*Photos by Carolyn Maxwell

 12/20/17 Council Meeting

SOUTH AMBOY – Before the start of the 12/20/17 Council Meeting, a promotional service was held for Michael J. Kelly who was promoted to Police Sergeant and Dennis McQuade who was promoted to Sergeant a few weeks earlier.

Council President Mickey Gross said, “South Amboy has the best Police Department in the state and you can quote me on this!”

The two Officers were praised by Police Chief Darren Lavigne who said, “Both promotions were well deserved.” Lavigne also thanked Mayor Fred Henry for the tremendous support that he and all of the Council Members (past and present) have shown toward the Police Department.

During the Meeting, one of the ordinances had to be pulled – No. 22-2017 – An Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 1036 entitled “Parking and Traffic Regulations” for the City of South Amboy in the County of Middlesex and the State of New Jersey.

Law Director John Lanza stated, “There’s an error. There is not a starting and ending point, which is required.”

SOUTH AMBOY – Michael Kelly is sworn in as Police Sergeant.
*Photos by Carolyn Maxwell

Council President Mickey Gross asked the Council to have this ordinance pulled. The motion was made by Councilwoman Zusette Dato and seconded by Councilman Tom Reilly.

During the Council Comments, Councilman Reilly spoke about the fundraiser the Friends of South Amboy had for the family whose child is suffering from cancer, “A lot of money was raised, and we had a lot of volunteers.” He also wanted to congratulate Phil Smith and Janet Kern for their service on the Board of Education. “Kern is also a terrific volunteer.” Reilly also invited the public to attend the next PARA Meeting, “There will be a discussion of the possibility of a 7-11 coming into town. I and Councilman McLaughlin will be discussing the First Aid Response Time. There is a lack of volunteers. This meeting will be in January.”

Councilman McLaughlin then spoke, “I congratulate the new Sergeants and the Department of Public Works.”

Council Vice-President Christine Noble wished everyone Season’s Greetings.

Councilwoman Zusette Dato said, “The Y is having an event called “Hope to Dreams,” which is sponsored by Ashley Furniture. Last year, that company donated 50 beds to needy families and this year, they will donate 100 beds. Students will participate and decide which families will be the recipients of these beds. Two families from South Amboy will be given beds this year. Everyone have a Happy Holiday!”

Council President Mickey Gross congratulated Tom Reilly and the Friends of South Amboy, which is a grassroots organization. “I want to congratulate both officers, whom both I’ve known for a long time.” He then addressed a woman named Kim Sieber, who was sitting in the audience. “I want to thank you for helping people every day. You have changed many lives for the better.”

Business Administrator Stacey Kennedy sent thanks to the City and to the employees. “We delivered many gift cards to schools for two families that were donated by the residents.”

City Engineer Mark Rasimowicz extended his holiday greetings.

Law Director John Lanza extended Season’s Greetings and Congratulations to the two Officers.

Mayor Fred Henry thanked the City workers for the great job they did during the holiday season and remarked how great the tree lighting and Santa were. He congratulated the two new sergeants.

Mayor Henry added he had Dennis McQuade in a couple of his classes and had high praises for him and for Michael J. Kelly. “Both are great additions to our Police Department.” Henry sent out best wishes to Assemblyman Craig Coughlin on his new position as Speaker of the Assembly. “It’s well deserved.”

The public portion was next. The first speaker was former Councilman Donald Applegate. He had concerns about a blockage which is causing a lot of flooding on Pupak Street. “Was there a sewer cleaning going on in the City?”

City Engineer Mark Rasimowicz answered him, “There was a blockage on the City main. Pupak had a lot of flooding. I will reach out to the County about this matter.”

The next speaker was Mr. Vasquez who owns a barber shop on Broadway. He stated, “We need a business association and chamber of commerce.”

Also joining Mr. Vasquez at the mic was a woman who owns a bakery. She was concerned about a new business opening up close to her who was selling similar products. “I’m struggling and need help from you guys.”

Vasquez then started to speak again, “We were having problems on what kind of signage we can use for our businesses. I received a warning about the signage I have outside my store.”

Council President Gross asked Vasquez, “You got a warning first, but you did not remove your sign?”

Vasquez responded, “So, I knew I was going to receive a ticket.”

Councilwoman Zusette Dato said, “I know your business is good for the town. We want to encourage all businesses and we want you to succeed. We don’t like to hear these things. Maybe we can form an alliance and a grand plan is for a consistence and not a mishmash look (in the business district).”

Vasquez continued, “I would like to display my distinct colors for my business.”

Mayor Henry responded, “There is a packet for businesses that contains the ordinances (of what is required).”

Vasquez responded, “That doesn’t work for me.”

Councilman Thomas Reilly spoke up, “There are violations on Broadway and we need retail businesses, but codes must be enforced. I have business breakfasts, so we can get contact information. We want to educate businesses on how to promote themselves. We tried “Shop South Amboy,” which didn’t work.”

Council President Gross spoke, “You (the business owners) can talk to each of us (the Council). This is why Councilman Reilly started the business breakfasts.”

Reilly spoke again, “This makes no sense to have a new coffee shop next to a similar shop already existing. We have a proposed 7-11 coming close to a Krauszers. Maybe we can reach out to landlords who owns these buildings. I don’t know about stores opening up until we see the signs (on the buildings).

The next speaker was Lisa Winkler, “We brought in a New Jersey Preservation Association in the early 2000’s. We need a business association. When it was in place, we were successful. When Tooker (the former B.A.) was here, there was a liaison between the City and businesses. Now, the landlords are pulling the strings. This is a beautiful town. You need someone on your end to build businesses.” She then went on to complain about a swastika that had been near a business called, “The Monkey Bar” for years. “Also, on social media there are a lot of racial comments being made.”

In response to the last two comments, Council President Gross said, “We will take care of that swastika immediately.”

A Council Member then addressed the  comment on social media, “We are not responsible and cannot control that.”

Another person who works in the business district came up to speak. He suggested that South Amboy have a street fair with local businesses only, “Many times businesses from the outside come here when we have our street fairs or other outdoor events. There should be something just for the South Amboy businesses.”

Broadway Diner Owner Vickey Grasso came up to speak, “Something needs to be done about the parking situation which is very difficult. A lot of time the firemen are taking up the spots on Broadway and a lot of tickets are being given out. I love the Fire Department. My daughter is a member. Sometimes people who dine in my restaurant come out to their cars and there is a ticket on it. Sometimes I pay for that ticket.”

Councilman Reilly addressed Grasso, “The Master Plan addresses parking. We need more signage. Maybe businesses can give out vouchers.”

Grasso agreed with Reilly and thought that was a good idea.

Reilly concluded, “There are a lot of issues.”

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Perth Amboy Calendar

MON. Jan 22
• City Council, Caucus,
4:30 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

WED. Jan 24
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

THURS. Jan 25
• Historic Preservation Commission
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

MON. Jan 29
• Special Public Meeting, RE: Discussion of Rezoning Ordinance
6 p.m.
City Hall, High St.


Stay informed! Attend public meetings. All are welcome!

South Amboy Calendar

WED. Jan. 31
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

WED. Feb. 7
• City Council, Business,
6 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

Stay informed! Attend public meetings. All are welcome!