Communities consider combining courts

OCEANPORT — Because the state is willing to foot the bill, the borough and Monmouth Beach are looking at the possibility of combining their courts. The cost of taking that look will be paid for through what is known as a REDI (Regional Efficiency Development Incentives) grant, according to Borough Council President Martin McGann.

Before people jump the gun, Mayor Gordon Gemma said it was important to keep in mind that the council’s unanimous vote Thursday was simply to study the concept.

"The courts are not combining," Gemma said. "This is a feasibility study looking at shared services. Monmouth Beach’s court is physically too small. We are about the same size, and we are close. They reached out to us. We will be using state funds to see if this will work. Even if it ends up getting recommended, the proposal still has to go back to the town councils. Monmouth Beach and Oceanport would both have to agree to do something. We are a long way away from anything happening."

Both towns will share the $699.50 cost to file for the grant. Jersey Professional Management will make the report determining the feasibility of the project.

Mayor Gemma said that passing the resolution is just the first step. "We expect a response back from the state pretty soon. The study will begin this winter, and we expect a recommendation in the early spring," he said.

In other business, Councilman Gary Wolfe announced that "the borough is in receipt of a letter from the state of New Jersey informing us that we were successful in our application for a Department of Transportation Trust Fund Road Program Grant, which we applied for. We are going to receive a $150,000 grant."

Kim Jungfer, the assistant borough clerk, said the repaving will probably not begin until spring, when weather permits. The job, which has been awarded to Fiore Paving, South River, will cover a section of Port Au Peck Avenue.

"(It is) one of the major arteries in the borough. It is in dire need of repair," explained Councilman Wolfe. The last time the road was done was 18 years ago.

Councilwoman Maria Gatta informed the governing body of an increase in participation in the borough’s "Safe Home" program.

"I would like to announce that for the (school) year 2000-2001, we have 273 families, who have signed up for the Safe Home pledge. This is an increase of what we had last year," she noted.

The Safe Home pledge requires parents in the school district to promise that they will not allow parties in their homes without parental supervision, that they will not serve alcohol to minors, or allow minors to drink alcoholic beverages on their property, and that they will not allow the use of illegal drugs in their home or on their property.

"It’s nice to note that every year we continue to get an increase in participation," Gatta said.