Western New Jersey

Phillipsburg municipal lot fees still unchanged

Mayor must veto repeal of sections of town code

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - Phillipsburg won’t change its municipal parking lot fees for at least a little while longer.

Council did repeal the section of town code dealing with paying at municipal lots during Tuesday’s regular meeting but tabled its replacement after three of the five council members said they had not had time to read it.

Two versions of the replacement code, ordinances 2018-06 and 2018-06A, were not on the agenda as sent out to officials Friday. 

One version would allow residents to purchase a town-wide permit that covered all municipal lots. The other, 2018-06A, would instead have residents apply for permits to individual town lots.

The town solicitor worked on the ordinance over the weekend to prepare it before the meeting, Council President Robert Fulper said.

In order to get parking revenue from the Market Street lot when the Easter Train comes to station, Mayor Stephen Ellis must now veto the council’s earlier decision to delete the subsection of code concerning municipal lot fees and permits.

Ordinances 2018-06 and 2018-06A are tabled pending review by officials and the public.

Other business

Youth center employees and volunteers spoke out against the council’s Feb. 6 decision to reduce Superintendent of Recreation Kelly Post-Sheedy’s salary.

Post-Sheedy has since tendered her resignation; her last day will be Friday, Feb. 23. She has been recreation director for nine months.

Matt Peters, wrestling coach at the Steele Hill Athletic Club, said Post-Sheedy was the best thing to happen to Phillipsburg’s youth center and youth programing.

“[The youth center] is a very good place for the youth to be,” Peters said, adding that the town wouldn’t be the same without her input.

Others said the youth center had changed for the better lately and questioned how Post-Sheedy’s absence would affect morale and the recreation department’s overall vision.

Also, officials are taking aim at an unoccupied house on Heckman Street, saying that the structure’s disrepair has been causing health and safety concerns to the neighborhood for too long.

Building owners say the property is weeks away from being sold to a buyer who can fix it to code. But council members say they aren’t buying that.

“It’s nonsense. It’s garbage,” Fulper said. “It needs to be cleaned. The homeowner needs to be charged.”

The fire chief or a code official has the power to condemn the building upon inspection if they notice dangerous situations or blockages preventing fire fighters from accessing the building.

The property owner will have 30 days to bring the site up to code, but a condemnation notice would allow the town to take more aggressive action.

The Heckman Street property is just one battle among many. Phillipsburg has 570 vacant houses.

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