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Summit Year In Review: Top Stories of 2011

A look at the top stories of 2011.

Atlantic Health has denied a request from Attorney Michael Kates to "intervene" on behalf of residents during the regarding 's application to build a helipad on the hospital's roof.

"Based upon the belief that the legitimate interest of the public and the Board of Adjustment of the City of Summit are coordinate and that the public's interest will be most adequately represented through the Board of Adjustment's attorney, Dennis Galvin Esq., your request for the appealant's consent to intervention is denied," reads a letter from Overlook Hospital to Kates dated Feb. 23, 2011.

 

 

Common Council will formally ask the office of County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow to investigate Councilman Tom Getzendanner on charges of official misconduct stemming from allegations that he asked the city's lawyer to commit insurance fraud last year.

"I don’t think the public will be satisfied with anything less," said Councilman Michael Vernotico, who made the motion.

 

In a letter to Jordan Glatt dated Feb. 15, 2011 the Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund informed the city that it would not be dropping Councilman Tom Getzendanner from the city's coverage nor would it be raising the city's insurance premiums.

The JIF Commissioners state in the letter that they reviewed the by Former Union County Superior Court Judge Edward Beglin Jr. into allegations that Getzendanner asked City Solicitor Barry Osmun to change the dates on legal bills in order to obtain additional reimbursement for the city in the Ameripay case. As a result, they have decided not to make any adjustments to the city's insurance coverage.


New Jersey American Water broke ground on the new plant on Wednesday at its property along John F. Kennedy Parkway in Short Hills. The $72 million project is expected to be complete in 12-18 months.

Guadagno joined New Jersey American Water President John Bigelow along with local and state officials including Millburn Mayor Sandra Haimoff, Sen. Thomas Kean Jr., Assemblyman Jon Bramnick and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz to break ground on the plant.

 

City Administrator Chris Cotter proposed a city budget Thursday night that would increase taxes 1.96 percent.

Common Council's first budget workshop comes just a day after Governor Chris Christie announced Wednesday that Summit's municipal state aid would remain flat this year at $3,023,257.

Common Council instructed Cotter earlier this year to keep the municipal tax levy increase to 2 percent which is now required by Christie's tax levy cap anyway.

"This shaves it very, very, very, close to get to 1.96 percent," Cotter said.

 

Area food markets, in some cases, saw long lines for supplies.

“Stopped by King's in Short Hills -- almost out of bottled water,” said Summit resident  Kara Whitley. “Line wrapped halfway around inside the store.”  

Gas stations have also seen a rush to fill up today. “I topped of the tank.” Whitley said.

Residents are presumably in a rush for good reason. Many retailers have made preparations to close at some point on Saturday,  most at around Noon, when forecasters say that the rain should be to fall and drive sideways.

“I just did some shopping in the A&P (In New Providence) and picked up some supplies,some paper goods and now I am going to see if I can find any bottled water,” said Joanne Tremanelo of Summit.

 

The parking saga continues.

After twice to pay for the equipment and lot upgrades to officially begin a paid shopper program in Summit, another ordinance which was approved to set the fee schedule back in 2010 is causing problems for the city.

Municipal Court Judge Donald Bogosian is dismissing all parking tickets for overtime issued in the Deforest Avenue shopper lots because an ordinance on the books from November states Summit charges for parking yet has no mechanism in place to collect the fees.

 

In a special session at Town Hall Tuesday night, the Common Council voted 6-1 to rescind a shopper parking ordinance that had instituted a fee structure to park in the city’s four Park & Shop lots. 

The city will now revert back to its former “two-hour parking, plus one hour in a different spot” parking system, which will take effect on September 1.

The ordinance was rescinded, the council said, because it was was not enforceable without a system to collect fees. Without the fee collection system, instituting the new parking fees was moot.

 

Summit Solicitor Barry Osmun agrees with a local resident that four City Council members violated open government laws by discussing the town's parking ordinance over email and purposely out of the public eye.

Osmun was asked to issue an opinion on the matter after calling into question the local body's adherance to open meetings, or sunshine laws. Osmun issued a memo Wednesday to Haselmann, the council, the mayor, the city administrator and the city clerk, stating an email sent from a council member to a majority of the governing body was a violation of the Sunshine Law.

 

The American Red Cross has set up camp at Lawton C. Johnson Middle School, opening its doors to the residents of eight different surrounding towns that have been without power since this historic Nor’easter began.  Hundreds of residents came to the Warming Station to charge electronics and heat up before venturing back to cold, dark homes many of which have become city hazards due to downed power lines and fallen trees.

Julie Siciliano, the Disaster Chair for the Northern New Jersey chapter of the American Red Cross was calm, friendly and eager to help anyone who entered the building. At 1 p.m. Siciliano informed Patch that 191 people had arrived at the Warming Station since 10 a.m.  Elisa Cordrey, who is currently serving as the American Red Cross Communications Director for this region explained the services available for residents.

 

Mayor Jordan Glatt made history as Summit's first Democratic mayor in a century and as he decided not to seek re-election, Dickson won the election that will return a Republican to office again. With three candidates seeking to take over his post, Dickson won her mayoral bid with 1,954 votes, or 39 percent of votes, topping Democrat Eileen Forman Ludden, who earned 1,699 votes, or 34 percent. Independent candidate Michael Vernotico trailed with 1,313 votes, or nearly 26 percent.

 

Summit, you are bigger, more diverse, and — except for a big group of fourth-graders — older.

According to a presentation this week from Chris Cotter, the 2010 census figures show that the city grew by 1.5 percent, to 21,457 residents. Cotter said the population gain appears to have come from a greater influx of Asians (1,368) and Hispanics (2,851) residents. The city’s African-American population (970) has slowed its growth, while the white population (17,926) has declined.

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