Hopewell Borough Council gets set for 2004 business

Nettles, Knights and Samse take oaths of office.

By Sandra Phelps
   Democrat David Nettles was sworn in as Hopewell Borough mayor for a four-year term and Republicans David Knights and Mark Samse took oaths of office as members of Borough Council for three-year terms at Monday’s reorganization meeting.
   Mr. Samse took the seat being vacated by Judy Jengo, who was appointed to fill a council vacancy in August, after the July resignation of Mark Moran.
   Mr. Moran had been appointed to the seat vacated by Mr. Nettles (Democrat), who was appointed to the post of mayor after former Mayor George Padgett (Republican) resigned in May.
   Later during Monday’s meeting, Mr. Knights, who was re-elected to council in November, was elected council president.
   Also present to be sworn-in were Andrew Lea as an alternate to the Hopewell Planning Board for a two-year term, and Ms. Jengo as a member of the Hopewell Valley Open Space Commission for a one-year term.
   Standing council committees: Mayor David Nettles, public safety, building and grounds; Janice Leigh, economic development, health sidewalks, finance; Alice Huston, recreation, Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance, personnel; David Knights, finance, buildings and grounds, public safety; David Mackie, public works, recycling and sanitation, personnel, buildings and grounds; Mark Samse, library, shade trees, finance, Planning Board; and C. Schuyler Morehouse, public safety, insurance and personnel.
   Council members OK’d appointments to various borough boards and commissions. These include: zoning officer, Harry Agin; SBRSA representative, C. Schuyler Morehouse; municipal prosecutor, Edward Hunter; public defender, John Holliday; municipal court administrator, Cindy Hooven; public agency compliance officer/affirmative action procurement and service compliance officer, Michelle Hovan; custodian of municipal deeds, Dennis O’Neal; accessory apartment administrator, Ed Geubtner; municipal historian, Beverly Weidl; clean communities coordinator, Herbert Ruehle; library board of trustees, William Baumbach, Alan Kooney, John Noonan, Steve Wood and Mark Samse.
   Also, Planning Board, Abigail Frantz, Michelle Hovan, Mark Samse, Peter Macholdt, Joseph Zito and Mr. Lea; Board of Health, Jill Reichman; emergency management, coordinator Herbert Ruehle, deputy coordinators William Springer and Michelle Hovan; Economic Development Commission, William Carlton; Hopewell Valley Open Space Commission, Nick Holt and Ms. Jengo; Recreation/Hopewell Valley Recreation Commission, Alice Huston, Chris Crowell and Valerie Steurmer; Hopewell Valley Traffic Management Coalition, David Knights and David Nettles.
Council OK’d a temporary operating budget of $484, 049.
   Professional services contracts were awarded to Mason, Griffin & Pierson, as borough attorney; Inverso & Stewart, LLC, as municipal auditor; Dennis O’Neal of Hopewell Valley Engineering Services as borough engineer; McManimon & Scotland, LLC, as bond counsel; and The Merritt Agency, Division of Bollinger, as risk manager/insurance broker of record.
   Congressman Rush Holt paid a surprise visit to "wish you well and wish the town well. This is a civic-minded town and it’s well-governed," he said. "I appreciate what you do. I like the town, and that reflects on you."
   Council members in turn thanked the congressman for his efforts in making the Taylor Terrace roads project a success. "We couldn’t get it done without you," said Mr. Knights.
   In regular business, council members introduced an ordinance setting historic buffer zone regulations. The historic buffer zone is that portion of Hopewell Borough not located within the historic district zone. The zoning revision will effect major new construction and demolition.
   Council also introduced an ordinance to hire a deputy municipal clerk. The additional borough office staff position will be part-time. A need for the position has been discussed for some time. The deputy municipal clerk will be appointed by the mayor and Borough Council and will serve a three-year term. The person will serve as an assistant to the municipal clerk.
   The borough has received a letter from Mercer County regarding a borough revaluation, according to Clerk Hovan. It has been 10 years since Hopewell Borough last had a revaluation of property. If the borough does not address the issue, the county will force a revaluation. The mayor said the borough must plan ahead and budget funds for a revaluation.
   Borough Engineer O’Neal said striping in the railroad station parking lot has been completed. The skating pond drain also has been repaired.
   Public Works Director Ruehle said December leaf collection has been completed. In January, Public Works will go back to its regular brush collection schedule, and work on potholes and sealing road cracks, he said.