Business owner balks at paying for roadwork



Staff Writer

RED BANK — A request for road paving has left one business owner feeling flat.

Pat Mazzucca, president of Globe Petroleum on Central Avenue, spoke at the Borough Council meeting Monday, requesting that Central Avenue be added to the borough’s 2005 road program.

“We’ve sent letters going back 10 years,” he said.

Mazzucca said he recently received a letter from Mayor Edward J. McKenna Jr., responding to his concerns.

According to the letter produced by Mazzucca, which was written on borough letterhead, McKenna stated that the large trucks that belong to the company are partly the reason the road is in such disrepair.

“We have,” the letter states, “on many occasions suggested to you that due to the wear and tear that the road suffers as a result of your use of the road, which the borough might consider repaving the road if we are to receive a contribution toward the cost of repaving.

“Your individual opinion of our road program list and the condition of certain roads on that list is of no relevance.”

Mazzucca, who read McKenna’s letter aloud to the council as well as distributing copies to each council member, said he found it insulting.

“You should be embarrassed to have that letter go out to a business owner in town,” said Mazzucca.

Although McKenna was not present at Monday’s meeting, Councilman Robert J. Bifani defended the mayor’s statements.

“You have some very heavy trucking going over that road,” he said. “Your business is, in part, responsible.”

Joe Mazzucca, a co-owner of Globe Petroleum, said that he is not convinced that the company’s trucks have caused all the damage.

“Our trucks travel all over the state,” he said, “and we have never been asked to pay for a road to be repaved.”

Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said that the infrastructure of the road could not withstand the weight of the trucks going over it on a daily basis.

“The recycling center paved their road,” he said. “The heavy trucks damaged it, and they offered to pave it.”

“The road doesn’t meet DOT [Department of Transportation] standards,” countered Pat Mazzucca.

“The road doesn’t meet DOT standards for your trucks,” replied Sickels.

In an interview after the meeting, Sickels said that nearly all the roads in town were originally built for light duty and do not have the strong base required for tractor-trailers of the type used by Globe Petroleum.

“When the business started in 1929,” he said, “trucks were a lot smaller then.”

Pat Mazzucca said in an interview after the meeting that his standard-size 33,000-pound trucks are approximately half as heavy as the borough’s garbage trucks, which weigh 62,000 pounds.

“The way Stanley’s talking,” he said, “none of the garbage trucks should be driving on these streets.”

Sickels also said that Central Avenue was first built as a residential road, and that now there are several companies that use large trucks on that road, including Central Concrete, NJ Transit and Angelo’s Paving.

“In the past,” said Sickels, “the council has felt that streets that have kids playing took priority. Trucks can negotiate rough roads, but if a car hits a pothole and goes off and hits another car or a kid, that’s a bigger problem.”

Sickels said that Central Avenue has not been added to any upcoming road program.

McKenna’s letter also pointed to the fact that Globe Petroleum trucks transport some dangerous materials.

“As far as your business involving the transportation of hazardous and highly flammable materials,” the letter states, “I would assume that your company from a liability standpoint as well as a public safety standpoint, is [taking], and will continue to take every step necessary to protect the public, including properly instructing your drivers how to operate their vehicles.

“I would suggest that if you wish to discuss repaving the road,” the letter concludes, “tell us how much you wish to contribute and we can go from there.”

Sickels echoed the sentiments in McKenna’s letter at the meeting by saying that if the Mazzuccas feel the road condition is unsafe for the materials, that they could remedy the situation themselves.

Council President Pasquale Menna said that only the council can make a request of the nature presented in the letter from McKenna, and since no vote had ever been taken in that regard, the Mazzuccas should not see the request as an official one from the borough.

“We’ve never asked a property owner to do that,” he said.

Councilman John P. Curley said that he had read the letter, and that he also thought it was insulting.

“You’re taxpayers here,” Curley said to the Mazzuccas, “and you have the right to come before the council and ask anything. You should be given an accounting for where your tax dollars go.

“I wish I could apologize,” he added, “but I am not going to take responsibility for the mayor.”