Hazlet residents speak out at township meeting



The Hazlet Township Committee met recently to discuss issues concerning residents, resolutions and ordinances.

The committee received a letter from Andres Torres, who resigned from his position as a crossing guard effective Feb. 17.

During the consent agenda portion at the March 7 meeting, the committee voted “yes” on the issuance of raffle licenses to Schaufler Frazen Post 2303 VFW, Cove Road School PTO and St. Leo the Great School PTA and issued refunds for a landlord registration fee for 7 Allen St., a 2016 Railroad Parking Permit fee for Elizabeth Clarke, the overpayment of taxes due to a 100 percent disabled veteran status for a resident and for the overpayment of taxes due to a successful tax appeal for Block 182, Lot 7 and Block 213.06, Lot 6.

The committee unanimously voted “yes” on the following resolutions: rescinding Resolution No. 8 and Archer & Greiner as bond council; appointing Gibbons P.C. as township bond council; appointing Meredith Nelson as chief financial officer (CFO); and authorizing the extension of a competitive contract for concession services at the Hazlet Swim & Tennis Club to The Belly Flop Cafe for the season.

Charles Hoffman, a resident of Hazlet and a regular at the committee meetings, asked why the committee was rescinding Archer & Greiner as bond council.

Mayor Sue Kiley explained there would have been a conflict of interest between the bond council and Nelson as CFO as she is related to some of the council at Archer & Greiner. It was also stated that Nelson has a strong financial background and is currently getting her CFO certification at Rutgers University.

Lewis Itskowitz praised the committee for being so quick with the responses to potholes on Munro Avenue and respectfully asked if police officers could work shifts on the same block to catch speeders. He also mentioned there were more potholes on 9th and 13th streets.

Bill Shewan asked about costs being different compared to last year and broken sidewalks, which have yet to be repaired.

Laura O’Hara asked the township about a tree on her property where the branches are dangerously close to powerlines and, despite numerous calls, seemingly no one will cut the branches close to the powerlines. Dennis Pino agreed to look further into O’Hara’s matter.

Megan Croken, who has been coming to the committee meetings for almost two years, spoke about an alleged issue with the landlord of the Mieleville and Holly Hill trailer parks. According to Croken, landlord John Conti has been doing a terrible job taking care of the parks, claiming residents cannot sell their homes due to the poor conditions allegedly made by Conti.

Croken also alleged that Conti has avoided punishment, claiming the 34 summonses and over 100 violations for Conti’s alleged actions did not go to court. Conti was not at the meeting and was not available for comment.

She was angry at the committee for seemingly ignoring the huge amount of alleged evidence Croken has gathered since 2015.

“This is unacceptable,” said Croken.

She also claimed tenants from both parks are frightened to come forward out of fear of retaliation because of what has happened to her at the meetings.

The mayor said due to continuing legal action pending this issue, the committee could not respond to the issue at the meeting. However, Croken was told that she can discuss her views during the public hearing at the next meeting on March 21.

Hoffman, who is not involved with the issue, asked the committee to not ignore Croken’s pleas.

“You have a responsibility to this township so please don’t lose sight of that,” he said.