Members of the Bloomfield Council overrode Mayor Raymond McCarthy’s veto of an appointment to the Parking Authority by a vote of 5-2 at last night’s council meeting. The council also formally approved the “crash tax” to charge a fee to out-of-town residents involved in motor vehicle accidents in Bloomfield.
The appointment of Al Chalet, a relative of Councilman Elias Chalet, to the Parking Authority commission had passed at the February 20 council meeting, with Mayor McCarthy and Councilman Bernard Hamilton voting against the move. McCarthy had subsequently vetoed the appointment of Chalet.
The council had previously voted against the reappointment of Joe Catalano, who had served on the commission for five years, and Chalet was nominated in his stead.
The veto override had been on the agenda at last week’s conference meeting, but Councilman Hamilton, who was acting Mayor for the evening in McCarthy’s absence, ruled it was out of order to address the veto without the Mayor being present, and had asked it be moved to the next conference meeting.
At last night’s meeting, the Mayor stated his veto had nothing to do with Al Chalet personally, but as liaison to the Parking Authority, he felt it had been incorrect to fail to reappoint Catalano.
Councilman Hamilton said that he objected to the veto override being on the agenda at all, as he had requested it be deferred to the next conference meeting so a full discussion could take place prior to a formal vote.
Despite his objections, Councilman Michael Venezia moved ahead and made a motion to override the veto. Five votes were needed to override, and the final vote was 5-2, with McCarthy and Hamilton voting no. The conclusion of the vote prompted cheers from supporters and members of the Chalet family in the audience.
Earlier in the meeting, Steve Crooks, founder of the FELIS 50 charitable event that took place on March 13, announced that the event had been successful and said members of the Bloomfield Fire Department won the FELIS 50 Bicentennial Challenge by partnering with the Brookdale Shop-Rite to bring in over 400 cans of food for the local United Way pantry. They will receive a $150 gift certificate from the Town Pub. He also thanked Councilmen Venezia and Joanow for attending the event.
Michael Sceurman, representing the Bloomfield Bicentennial Committee, announced that the kickoff event for the year’s celebrations will be at Bloomfield High School at 7 p.m. Friday, March 23, 2012. There will be a re-enactment of the signing of the Bloomfield charter, with members of the township council in colonial garb. Sceurman also announced that a Spring Spectacular event will take place on Sunday, March 25 at Pulaski Park, with the “Bicentennial Bunny” arriving by helicopter. Families can have pictures taken with the bunny, and there will be an egg hunt. Bloomfield Animal Shelter will have a tent at the event, and donations will be accepted.
In other business, the council approved a number of ordinances on first reading. These included an ordinance creating a “downtown business improvement zone” in Bloomfield, to replace the currently defined “special improvement district,” as well as an ordinance to create a “motor vehicle accidents response fee for out-of-town residents,” known as a “crash tax.” This fee had been previously approved at a council conference meeting.
The council also approved ordinances governing the management of “steep slope” areas in town, amendments to the Bloomfield Center Redevelopment – Phase II, and the establishment of compensation for Special Law Enforcement Officers, all on second reading.
The next meeting will be a conference meeting to be held on Monday, March 26, 2012, in the 2nd floor conference room in the Law Enforcement Building.