Borough and Township to Share Police Services

Chester Borough Mayor Janet Hoven and Chester Township Mayor William Cogger signed an agreement on December 20th, 2016 whereby the Township will provide all police service for the Borough.  The six Borough officers will become employees of the Township.  This agreement will go into effect on January 1, 2017.  To read the agreement, please go to the end of this article for the link.

As of January 1, 2017, The Chester Borough Police & The Chester Township Police Department will become The Chester Police Department. There will be no disruption of services and we will continue to provide the highest level of dedication to all residents of Chester. As of March 1st, 2017, the non-emergency phone number, 908-879-5626, for The Chester Borough Police Department will no longer be operational. This number will be forwarded to The Chester Police Department until that date.

If you are a resident or business in Chester Borough and have a Home Security Monitoring or Medical Alert system, please notify your security company of the phone number change.  The non-emergency phone number for The Chester Police Department is (908)-879-5514.  If you have an emergency, please dial 9-1-1.

Click here to read the agreement.

Openings on Chester Borough Commissions

Chester Borough has openings on the following committees / commissions. Open to Chester Borough residents only.

Shade Tree Commission
Board of Health
Library
Water Resources and Sewer
Environmental/Open Space

If you are interested in serving on any of these committees, please contact Mayor Hoven at jhoven@chesterborough.org

There are also openings on the Recreation Commission. If you are interested, please contact Recreation@ChesterBorough.org

Gas Safety Tips from PSE&G

With the arrival of frigid weather, PSE&G offers tips to help you stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning, stay warm and save energy.

For safety’s sake: remember that carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, tasteless and can be deadly. CO poisoning is more common in cold weather when fuel-heating appliances are in use.

  • The first line of defense against CO poisoning is to make sure all fuel-burning appliances operate correctly and are maintained properly. These appliances include furnaces, water heaters, ranges, space heaters, and clothes dryers. Improperly vented fireplaces and charcoal grills can also give off CO. Never use ovens or clothes dryers to heat the house.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors. CO alarms can provide an early warning before CO builds up to a dangerous level. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends placing a carbon monoxide alarm in every area of your house or business. If just one alarm is installed, it should be placed near the sleeping areas of the house. Check the batteries regularly.
  • Do not allow vehicles, snow blowers or any gasoline-powered engine to idle in a garage, basement or any enclosed space. CO can drift into the living space and create a hazardous situation.
  • Be prepared: In your mobile phone, program the emergency service line of your natural gas provider. PSE&G’s emergency service line is 1-800-880-PSEG (7734).
  • If you think high levels of CO are in your home or business: Go outside! If there is a medical emergency, such as someone falling unconscious, get the person outside to fresh air and call 911. Then call PSE&G’s emergency service line. Wait outside, or go to a neighbor’s home, until help arrives.
  • Symptoms of poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Symptoms can occur immediately or gradually after long-term exposure. People who are sleeping can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing any of these warning signs. It affects people of all ages, but infants and children are even more susceptible than adults.

Stay warm and save energy:

  • Lower your thermostat by just one degree, which may reduce your heating bill by up to 3 percent. Save even more by lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during the day when you are home, and 5 to 10 degrees when you are away and at bedtime, if health conditions permit.
  • Change thermostat batteries once a year, or when the low battery indicator appears on the digital display.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use.
  • Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers. Open any register or baseboard dampers.
  • Open your curtains and blinds that face the sun on sunny days to warm your home, and close them at night to keep the warm air inside.
  • Use weather stripping or caulk to seal up cracks and prevent drafts in windows and doorframes. Beneath doors, install draft guards available at hardware stores.
  • Visit PSE&G’s Home Energy Toolkit at pseg.com/toolkit. You can calculate the energy efficiency of your home and find out how to save energy and money on appliances and heating systems.

DEP safety tips on burning wood

DEP OFFERS TIPS ON REDUCING POLLUTANTS AND SAFETY THREATS FROM BURNING OF WOOD DURING COLDER MONTHS

TRENTON – With colder weather and the holidays approaching, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin reminds residents to practice safety and take steps to reduce the impact burning of wood has on air quality in their homes and neighborhoods.

“Burning of wood – whether in fireplaces, wood stoves, or outdoor wood boilers – can help reduce energy costs and add a cozy ambience to any home as the weather turns colder,” said Commissioner Martin. “But wood burning also emits small particles and other air pollutants that can be significantly reduced with some common-sense practices, better protecting your health as well as your neighbors’ health and creating the climate for a safer and more enjoyable season.” For some people, even short-term exposure to wood smoke can aggravate lung or heart conditions. Children, teen-agers, older adults and people with lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, or heart conditions are most susceptible to the effects of wood smoke.

The DEP recommends following these guidelines for burning wood at home:

  • Allow wood to season before burning it. Seasoning means allowing the wood to sit outdoors for at least six months. Seasoning allows moisture to evaporate from the wood, making it burn more efficiently Seasoned wood is darker, has cracks in the end grain and sounds hollow when smacked against another piece of wood.
  • Use a wood moisture meter to test the moisture content of wood. Wood burns most efficiently when its moisture content is below 20 percent.
  • Stack wood neatly off the ground with the top covered to protect the wood from rain and snow. Store wood that is to be used in the house a safe distance from fireplaces or stoves.
  • Start fires with newspaper and dry kindling and keep them burning hot.
  • Regularly remove ashes to ensure proper airflow.
  • Never burn garbage, cardboard, plastics, wrapping materials, painted materials or pressure-treated wood in your stove or fireplace.
  • Keep anything flammable – including drapes, furniture, newspapers and books – far away from any wood-burning appliance. Keep an accessible and recently inspected fire extinguisher.
  • Have chimneys cleaned annually by a certified chimney-sweep. Nearly seven percent of homes fires are caused by the buildup of creosote in the chimney. These fires can spread extremely rapidly, and are often signaled by flames leaping from the chimney or a low rumbling sound reminiscent of a freight train or airplane.
  • Consider using an indoor air HEPA filter in the same room as a stove or fireplace. These filters can reduce indoor particle pollution by as much as 60 percent.
  • State regulations and some municipal ordinances prohibit the emission of visible smoke from outdoor wood boilers. Wood boilers heat a fluid that is circulated in homes and buildings for heating purposes. Under state regulations, these boilers may only emit visible smoke for three minutes every half-hour to allow for start-up.

If you plan on burning wood as a major way to heat your home this winter, the DEP recommends upgrading to a U. S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified wood stove or fireplace insert. The newer equipment will reduce air pollution and is much more energy efficient.

For more information on wood burning in New Jersey, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/baqp/woodburning.html

For more on the EPA’s Burnwise program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/

Information regarding vote on school funding

A letter from Robert O. Strobel, President, West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education
November 1, 2016

Dear West Morris Regional High School Community:

Please remember to vote on November 8.  The ballot includes the following question put to the voters by the West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education:

“Shall the West Morris Regional High School District’s annual and special appropriations be apportioned on the following basis:  50% on each municipality’s equalized valuation allocated to the West Morris Regional High School District as provided by state law and 50% on the proportioned number of pupils enrolled from each municipality on the 15th day of October of the pre-budget year?”

If approved, this would change the funding of annual and special appropriations (more simply put, the District’s budget) from the current formula based 100% on each municipality’s equalized valuation.

The attached presentation, which is also available on the District website, is provided to inform your decision.  Most of it is self-explanatory, however, a couple of items may benefit from further discussion.

Some basic background provides context for the ballot question.  5 municipalities participate in the two high school District.  With only a few exceptions, West Morris Mendham High School is dedicated to the Chesters and Mendhams, which in the current year send 51.2% of the Districts’ students and pay 65.95% of the taxes necessary to run the District.   Likewise with few exceptions, West Morris Central High School is dedicated to Washington Township, which in the current year sends 48.8% of the Districts’ students and pays 34.05% of the taxes necessary to run the District.

The current 100% equalized value formula was mandated by a state law adopted in 1975.  Prior to that, and dating back to the District’s formation in 1958, the district’s budget was funded based 100% on the proportioned number of pupils enrolled from each municipality.

Pages 9-12 of the presentation contain charts that will give you a qualitative view of the potential tax impact of changing the funding formula.  They should not be viewed as providing a statement as to what you will actually pay.  This is because your actual taxes will depend on three variables that we can not predict with certainty: (1) number of students; (2) equalized property values and (3) district spending.  For this reason, the charts only provide the dollar impact for prior years, for which each of the variables is known.  These prior year charts show what would have happened if the new formula had been applied in those years.

Looking forward to years 2017-2020, the charts only provide the percentage of district funding (“% Regional Tax” in the last column) that might be paid by each municipality if the number of students currently in each of the sending K-8 districts arrive at the high school in exactly the same percentages as currently exists in the 5th through 8th grades. The actual numbers may be close, but it is highly unlikely they will be exactly the same.  As a result, the calculation of each town’s % Regional Tax should be viewed as illustrative and not absolute.

The best way to look at the charts for years 2017-2020 is to compare your town’s % Regional Tax  for the Current Formula of 100% Equalized Value in the top chart on page 7 of the attachment to future years % Regional Tax.  Assuming (1) the 5th through 8th grade student populations accurately predict the percentage of student from each town in the high school in a given year, (2) equalized property values hold steady and (3) the district’s spending is unchanged, in any year in which your town’s % Regional Tax is greater than its 2016 % Regional Tax, you will pay more tax than you will in 2016.  Likewise, in any year in which your town’s % Regional Tax is less than its 2016 % Regional Tax, you will pay less tax than you will in 2016.

The funding formula has been a source of controversy for many years, however, the Board takes no position on the ballot question other than to urge you to please vote on November 8.

Sincerely,

Robert O. Strobel, President

West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education

Click here to view the presentation.

Annual Tax Reassessment

Please be advised that the Borough’s Annual Tax Reassessment is currently taking place.  This will effect approximately 25% of the Borough’s properties. Over the next few weeks an inspector may be visiting to inspect your property.    These individuals will be able to provide valid identification.  Thank you.

Passing of DPW Chief Brian Olson

It is with profound sadness that we announce the untimely passing of the Borough Department of Public Works Superintendent Brian Olson.  Words cannot express the loss that the Borough staff is experiencing.

Obituary

Brian S. Olson, age 45, of Washington, New Jersey, died unexpectedly on Monday, October 17, 2016 at home in Washington.  Brian was born September 29, 1971 in Valley Stream, NY, moving to Mansfield, NJ in 1976. Brian graduated from Warren Hills High School in 1990. Brian led a full life volunteering as a fireman and ultimately became Chief of the Tri-County Firehouse in Mansfield, NJ.  He was the Superintendent of Public Works in Chester, NJ.

A celebration of Brian’s Life will be held at 4:00 pm on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Tri County Fire Department, 1720 Route 57, Mansfield Township, NJ. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to:  Fallen Fire Fighters Widow Fund, P.O. Box 498, Emmitsburg, MD 21727 or to Susan Olson, c/o Cochran Funeral Home in memory of Brian.

The full obituary from Cochran Funeral Home is posted here.

olson

JCP&L Storm Preparedness Update

Please read this information from JCP&L:

  • Tropical Storm Hermine UpdateJersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) is closely monitoring the developing weather conditions associated with Tropical Storm Hermine.  JCP&L is prepared to activate its storm response plan and Incident Command System structure. Should Hermine impact JCP&L’s service area, the company is prepared to: 

    ·        Bring in additional line, substation and forestry personnel 

    ·        Staff additional dispatchers and analysts at regional dispatch offices

    ·        Move resources to impacted areas 

    ·        Hold update calls with officials 

    ·        Secure additional hazard responders 

    ·        Arrange staging sites for crews if necessary 

    The company is also reinforcing substations in flood prone areas with protective devices and ensuring that all locations have sufficient equipment and fuel available. 

    In the event outages occur, customers without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage, or click the “Report Outage” link on www.firstenergycorp.com.  In the event of severe weather, customers should immediately report downed wires to their utility, or call their local police or fire department. 

    JCP&L reminds customers to stay away from downed wires, even if they believe they are no longer carrying electricity.  Extra caution should be used in areas where downed lines are tangled with trees or other debris.  Motorists are cautioned to treat intersections with inoperable traffic signals as four-way stops. 

    JCP&L customers can also subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive weather updates in advance of major storms and updates on scheduled or extended power outages.  Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts and make other inquiries about their accounts.  More information about these communication tools is available online atwww.firstenergycorp.com/connect. 

    Follow JCP&L on Twitter @JCP_L, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JCPandL or online at www.jcp-l.com.