Mayor Bonaccorso, Council Praise Emergency Services

By JULIA BONAVITACOLA
For Union County HAWK

CLARK — The Clark Council met on Tuesday for its monthly workshop meeting. Officials passed resolutions and discussed ordinances, as well as addressing the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

The governing body first discussed the proposed ordinance for the Rahway Valley Sewerage Authority Agreement. Business Administrator James Ulrich described what the agreement meant for Clark. He explained that the agreement was simply the renewal of an agreement Clark was already a part of. Some of the changes include adding Mountainside to the agreement, taking out a couple of sections referencing old bylaws, changing some legal wording and how excess flow will be identified. The ordinance will pass if at least eight council members vote for its approval, obtaining a super-majority.

The council also approved several resolutions during the meeting, including an agreement to continue membership in the New Jersey Municipal Self Insurers’ Joint Insurance Fund, authorizing the tax collector to participate in an electronic tax sale, and authorizing a refund of $4,514.37 for the overpayment of taxes. All of these resolutions passed unanimously.

Mayor Sal Bonaccorso addressed the gathered council members and public about the events of Hurricane Ida and its impact on Clark. “It was a hell of a night, honestly. It was a lot. But you see Mike Reuvers from OEM. I’d like to thank him, the fire department, the police department, the first aid squad — they did a tremendous effort. They really got wet. Swimming into places, pulling people out, pumping basements, you name it. The only saving grace was there were no trees down or power lines,” he said.

Mayor Bonaccorso said that there was a large cleanup effort going on around the township, and singled out Deerwood Drive and Brookside Terrace as getting particularly hard hit by the flooding.

He mentioned that some residents seemed to be taking advantage of the cleanup by throwing bulk items to the curb, regardless of flood impact. However, he said that Clark will still pick it up regardless.

“Hopefully, Mr. Biden and Mr. Murphy will get together and Congressman Malinowski to deem Union County a disaster area, which I think they will, so we can get FEMA money…There are residents that don’t have things covered who need FEMA money to help them,” Mayor Bonaccorso said. “But if you look to the left in Cranford, we did a whole lot better than Cranford did.”

Mayor Bonaccorso said that there was some water in the middle and high school but, overall, buildings around the township did well. He said that the DPW is running out of places to put debris from the municipality. He also said that the township is keeping track of the budget so that, should FEMA money be granted, Clark would be able to get the proper amount of funds.

Mayor Bonaccorso continued his praise of the emergency services in the township. “I gotta say, the overall response in our town from our emergency services was excellent. I couldn’t ask for a better job; I really couldn’t…We opened the rec. center, we had about 40 people in there for shelter. We did everything we could.”

Councilmen Patrick O’Connor and Brian Toal echoed the mayor’s praise for the emergency services and their work during the flooding in the township.

“My friend’s mother’s house on Williams Street took on a ton of water, about six feet of water…called the police department to get a pump, and in literally minutes, OEM showed up with a pump to pump it out. And here’s a woman who didn’t know what she was going to do…and OEM came to the rescue,” said Councilman O’Connor.

“When I got home, Mildred Terrace was under water; couldn’t do anything…came back the next morning, went to the mayor and went, ‘Hi, you notice there’s a Mercedes floating in the middle of Mildred Terrace?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah, we’re going to take care of it.’ And he was exactly right,” said Councilman Toal. “Just want to say ‘good job’ and we really appreciate it.”

The next council meeting will be held on Monday, September 20, at 7:30 p.m., in the council chambers located inside the police department.

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