At the Common Council meeting on Monday, November 18, the first item will be swearing in our newest Councilmember Susan D. Hairston. Councilmember-elect Hairston will represent Ward 1 and fill the seat left vacant after the untimely passing of Councilmember Matthew Gould. I look forward to welcoming Susan to the dais and working her on many upcoming important initiatives.
There will be a presentation by the Rent Commission. The Rent Commission can hear complaints in landlord-tenant relationships, educate landlords and tenants about their rights, and can try to mediate disputes between parties. The commission is required to have a certain number of landlords and tenants as part of its membership. For a number of years, the Commission did not meet because it did not fulfill requirements for membership. Over the past year, the commission has been reconstituted; this presentation will inform the public of available resources.
There will be four ordinances for consideration and vote. Three ordinances related to plastics—one that places restrictions on the use of single use plastic checkout bags by retail establishments, a second one that places restrictions on the use of polystyrene containers by food establishments; and a third one that requires customers to ask for plastic straws instead of being automatically given as part of service (except for those with disabilities). Once approved, these ordinances will take effect in six months. During that period, efforts will be undertaken to educate businesses about options and alternatives. In addition, with respect to single use plastic checkout bags and polystyrene containers, there is a variance process if establishments recently purchased those items and require additional time to use up inventory.
As I have previously reported, Common Council has had a number of meetings over the past two years when residents have requested restrictions on plastics. However, the issue of restricting items, such as polystyrene, have been advocated by individuals as young as a 5th grader for more than a decade. The use of plastic bags and polystyrene increases our recycling and litter collection costs as well as has public health implications. In passing these ordinances, Summit will be joining a number of towns in our area as well as a national and global effort to reduce the use of plastics in order to address real environmental challenges.
There are a few resolutions to be voted upon. There are a series of administrative resolutions that relate to the transfer of funds between accounts, the approval of the 2020 Common Council calendar, the appointment of a temporary municipal court judge, and the establishment of a date for the annual Earth Day Cleanup (April 18, 2020, with a rain date of April 19, 2020). There are a two resolutions regarding change orders that reduce the estimated costs of two work projects. There is a resolution for a grant application for certain senior services as well as for the Summit Housing Authority to refurbish the elevators at the Senior Housing building. Finally, there is a resolution to accept a donation from Celgene Corporation to the Summit Fire Department to offset training costs.
To view the complete Common Council agenda, go to: http://summitcitynj.iqm2.com/citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=1559&Inline=True
Next Council Meeting: The next meeting will be on December 3 at 7:30PM.