Council members say faith is lost in Phillipsburg mayor


PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - Phillipsburg Town Council on Tuesday night reviewed updated and reorganized ordinances covering use of parks, special events and background checks for recreation programs.

Donald Kophazy, town recreation superintendent, who presented the updated ordinances during council’s work session, said the updates included additional language to address missing areas as compared to other municipalities, and to give “more oomph” and clearer language regarding what can and can’t be done in the town’s parks.

Council member Danielle DeGerolamo said fines should be higher for those who damage park property and suggested that language should be inserted to address loitering and parking in parks after closing hours. She said people park campers in the parks, specifically Delaware River Park.

The fees for the dog park, $10 for residents, $20 for nonresidents, should be eliminated, she said, adding that the dog park should be free, like the rest of the parks.

DeGerolamo noted that fees are charged for birthday celebrations held in parks but none is required for weddings and funerals. Kophazy said he didn’t want to burden anyone with a funeral fee and expressed willingness to include a charge for weddings.

Mayor Todd Tersigni said he’s officiated at park weddings, noting that the ceremonies go fast and should not require a fee. He agreed that the town should be compassionate and waive fees for funerals.

Council President Randy Piazza Jr., a metal detector hobbyist, said the devices should be allowed in parks but not on athletic fields because digging for subsurface objects would create divots.

In the ordinance requiring background checks for those providing recreational opportunities at municipal-owned facilities and to town-sponsored youth programs, Richard Wenner, the town lawyer, suggested adding language that would require no contact with youth if charges are pending.

Council member Harry Wyant suggested that all of the ordinances should be reviewed by the town’s new business administrator, Robert Bengivenga Jr., who may have further input on the updates. The rest of council agreed with Wyant’s suggestion.

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