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Tinton Falls resident seek answers for closed library from council

TINTON FALLS Residents vocalized their questions and concerns to the Borough Council regarding the closing of Tinton Falls Public Library.  

Since mold was discovered in the Tinton Falls Public Library’s trailer area in one office space and basement, the library has been closed since Aug. 16, according to Borough Interim Administrator Elizabeth Perez.

More than 40 residents attended the council’s semi-monthly meeting, on Nov. 13, at the municipal building.

Borough Engineer Thomas Neff of T&M Associates is currently doing cost analysis for the facility to determine the costs and options for the library, according to Director of Law Brian Nelson.

Nelson said that the borough has received a notice of claim regarding the library which is, “…basically somebody saying they are going to sue us. So that is why I have advised the council and the members of the administration to limit the conversation on this particular issue without the details. I am not saying that nobody can talk about it entirely, but I have asked everybody to be careful about what is said on the record.”

The engineer is investigating the extent of what would be required to make the building fully safe in the future, according to Nelson.

“I want to say in [the] defense of the council and the rest of the administration is that their lack of back and forth on this tonight is by no means disrespect and I wanted to make sure that was clear it was at advice of counsel because of the notice of claim that was received with respect to the library,” Nelson said.

Most likely the council and the new administration will make the decision to determine the best option for the library, according to Nelson.

Employees from the library were present during the council’s semi-monthly meeting.

Tinton Falls Public Library Association Vice President Brian Perry said that the board has been receiving a lot of comments from residents about the future of the library.

During the meeting, Perry gave the council more than 575 signatures collected from residents who are asking for the library to be reopened as soon as possible.

Perry said that currently the library has more than 1,200 active library card users and that the association is committed to continuing to serve the residents and is waiting for a resolution regarding the library.

Resident Nyna McKittrick said, “According to the national library website over half of the youth and seniors that live in poverty use public libraries for their internet service. They use them in a way I probably wouldn’t think of because I have internet in my house, it’s not something that I have to worry about, but a lot of people still do.”

“On that note I just would hope that we could come to some type of agreement that the library in this town has proven in so many ways to be more than essential. Its proven to bring our community together, as anybody could see, who has ever been to the library…It just breaks my heart that the library is closed right now and I know that you understand that,” McKittrick said.

In other news, Mayor-elect Vito Perillo spoke during the meeting asking the council not to appoint Interim Administrator Elizabeth Perez to a permanent borough administrator position until he is sworn in as mayor in January.

Perillo said that he is currently in the progress of receiving resumes and conducting interviews to find a new administrator who he will appoint once he is sworn in as mayor.

“I look forward to working as hard as I can with this council to make Tinton Falls is the place we are all proud to live in. I also want to thank the residents for coming out and supporting me as I strive to make sure that your voices are heard. Thank you very much,” Perillo said.

The council will vote by a resolution on whether or not to appoint Perez as permanent administrator, on Dec. 5, during its semi-monthly meeting, according to Council President Gary Baldwin.

According to Nelson, only the mayor can make appointments. The mayor’s appointments, however, are subject to the advice and the consent of the council. Therefore, the council has to agree with the mayor’s appointment. If an agreement cannot be reached in January then whomever is in the office holds his or hers position until an agreement can be reached between the mayor and council.

“In my opinion it is important that each position that has an incumbent in it, is allowed to be carried over so that the incoming mayor has the information and a person or a resource for which to draw information while he or she is waiting..to interview, select and then recommend a person for the council to give consent on,” Baldwin said. “There is a period of time it takes to do that and during that period of time we don’t want the administrative position sitting empty because that would leave the new mayor with no one to talk to and to get information from when the existing mayor walks out on [Dec. 31].”

For more information visit www.tintonfalls.com/2017-MeetingsAgendas.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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