South police force moot

Catherine Urbanski of West Amwell
    I am responding to recent letters to the editor, which contained many very erroneous statements.
   Contrary to Mr. Bergenfeld’s assertions about the police study, Ron Shapella has told our local police force that no local police officers would be without a job.
   The township embarked on the study so we will be in a better position to keep our $1 million in revenue when state budget time rolls around next spring.
   Ron Shapella has consistently stated that unless all concerns about a combined police force are addressed, and unless there is broad public support from the community expressed at many public meetings on this issue, he has not and will not support a combined force.
   Mr. Bergenfeld’s ugly insinuations about deal-making could not be farther from the truth.
   This is really a moot point, considering that the Council on Local Mandates recently struck down Gov. Corzine’s attempt to require rural towns to pay part of the cost for State Police patrols. This means East Amwell no longer has any incentive to participate and, in all likelihood, the whole concept of a south county police force is dead.
   Hal Shute complained about the lack of municipal spending on road resurfacing.
   As Mr. Shute knows, thanks to the current Township Committee’s efforts, West Amwell didn’t have to spend municipal funds after receiving grants of nearly $700,000 to continue resurfacing the section of Rocktown-Lambertville Road that runs right in front of Mr. Shute’s house.
   Mr. Shute also blames Ron Shapella for not replacing the $1 million in revenue that the state tried to take away from us this year with new ratables.
   New commercial ratables have opened for business in West Amwell in the last few years. But as our township chief financial officer told us during the fiscal crisis, we would have to build another West Amwell in order to replace that much revenue in our budget.
   In addition, any significant commercial or industrial development would massively increase the township’s state-mandated obligation to build low-income housing, which would more than offset any tax benefits.
   Unlike Mr. Shute, I do not believe our township is interested in rushing toward that scenario.
   Mr. Shute also states the Fulper lawsuit was avoidable and blames recent land use ordinances, including the reserve septic ordinance. However, Mr. Molnar voted for those ordinances, and the Fulper lawsuit was filed when he was mayor.
   Furthermore, all recent applicants for development have been readily able to provide for a reserve septic area. It’s just common sense for the protection of wells and septic systems in West Amwell.
Catherine Urbanski
West Amwell