Western New Jersey

P'burg water tower will come down

It's been a long time coming but it appears the demolition of the deteriorating water tower at the former Phillipsburg ice house site will become a reality as soon as next week.

That according to new owner Lenny Hernandez who offered sworn testimony during a public hearing Tuesday night before Phillipsburg Town Council.

"The demolition will be safe," Hernandez told town council members.

The news was akin to Christmas morning for several council members and Mayor Harry Wyant, who have been trying to get the dilapidated tower torn down for years.  Council members made it clear earlier this year to former owners Rodney and Carrie Perrucci Scott that tower in particular had to be taken down as soon as possible and considered a demolition order if Scotts did not comply, prior to when they recently sold the ice house property to Hernandez.

"I am glad to see Mr. Hernandez show concern about the safety of the community," said Councilman Todd Tersigni.

On Tuesday night Hernandez conferred with Town Inspector Kevin Duddy regarding the final procedures, permits, paperwork and notifications that needed to be made prior to the demolition, which included notifying in writing the Norfolk Southern railroad company. No specific time or date was noted during the council hearing. Neither was a specific agenda for the property from Hernandez, who was vague in his response to Councilman Randy Piazza's question about his vision for the property.

"It's up in the air," Hernandez said at one point.

The property is located at 1116 S. Main St.

In other business Tuesday night, by a 5-0 vote council approved an ordinance establishing salaries for patrolmen of the town's police department retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012 and extending through 2015.

"We have a police force second to none," said President Bernie Fey Jr.

Salaries for trainees through officers with more than six years of service range from $55,402 to $84,106 for year 2012 to $58,534 to $88,861 for the same classifications in the final year of the ordinance in 2015.

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