Knights repeats as president of Hopewell Borough Council


By Aleen Crispino
   Republican David Knights was unanimously re-elected as Hopewell Borough Council president at council’s reorganization meeting held Jan. 5.
   Incumbent Republicans Robert Lewis and C. Schuyler (Sky) Morehouse, who won three-year terms on the council in the November 2005 election, were sworn in, as was Borough Administrator/Clerk Michele Hovan.
   Council is composed of four Republicans and two Democrats. The fourth Republican is Mark Samse. The two Democrats are Paul Anzano and David Mackie. Hopewell Borough mayor, David Nettles, is a Democrat.
   In other business, council adopted a resolution renewing the interlocal agreement with Hopewell Township to provide public health services to borough residents during 2006.
   Council tabled for future discussion a resolution that would have authorized a five-year interlocal agreement with the township to provide animal control services to the borough.
   Councilman Anzano proposed considering all the borough’s interlocal agreements together, including the one for police services, which remains up in the air. "This one (for animal control services) also involves an increase," he said.
   Concerning the police pact, which is negotiated yearly, Hopewell sees $318,000 or so as reasonable. The township is looking at $500,000. Because of this discrepancy, the township and borough have agreed to hire an outside consultant to review the interlocal agreement and make recommendations. Jersey Management Services will study the pact and report on it to the township and borough by spring.
   Council voted to retain the firm of Strauss and Associates/Planners, of Trenton to consult in the areas of land use planning, site selection and cost analysis.
   Council made several appointments and reappointments for 2006, including:
   — Maria A. Andrews as planning board secretary to replace Debi Schulze.
   — Donna Griffiths as tax collector.
   — Dennis W. O’Neal as borough engineer. Mr. O’Neal is senior associate at Hopewell Valley Engineering of Pennington.
   — The firm of Mason, Griffin & Pierson of Princeton as borough counsel.
   — The Merritt Agency, Division of Bollinger, of Princeton as borough insurance broker of record.
   — The firm of Inverso & Stewart of Marlton as borough auditor.
   — The firm of McManimon & Scotland of Newark as bond counsel.
   The next council meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 at Borough Hall.
   ALSO ON JAN. 5, council members took turns reminiscing about former Hopewell Borough Mayor George Padgett, who died in Florida on Dec. 29.
   Mayor Nettles read a proclamation in memory of the former mayor, who served from 1994 to 2003. The flags of the borough have been displayed at half-staff in his honor, the mayor said.
   Mr. Knights said he attended Mayor Padgett’s funeral in Florida on Jan. 3. He said a memorial service is planned for Feb. 18 at 11 a.m. at the Hopewell Valley Golf Club, located off Route 654 (Pennington-Hopewell Road) in Hopewell Township.
   Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine), a friend of the late Mayor Padgett, is expected to attend the service, said Mr. Knights.
   Council members Samse and Mackie also shared their memories of Mayor Padgett, who was a Republican, both speaking of his ability to work with people of differing views to achieve compromise solutions.
   Mr. Mackie told of his first meeting with Mayor Padgett during the time borough residents were working to preserve the Ruhland tract.
   "He said, ‘We’re all on the same side. We all want what’s best for Hopewell Borough,’" said Mr. Mackie. "It very much defines who he was and defines the council today," he added. "For many of us who serve on the council today, it’s largely because of George."