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Council to Again Introduce New Open Space Law

The Town Council will consider a number of proposed ordinances during its Tuesday meeting.

The Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council will take up a familiar matter when it convenes its regular business meeting Tuesday evening. One of the primary issues on the tentative agenda is the reintroduction of a .

The prospective new law, supported by Mayor James Barberio, was met with criticism from some residents who question the controversial high school turf field proposal some call Fields of Dreams

Ultimately, the measure was put on hold. The  at its March 20 meeting after opponents noted that different versions of the law appeared on the township's website, in the Daily Record (the council's official newspaper) and in the text distributed at the meeting, a violation of state statute.

Township Attorney John Inglesino said the measure would be prepared again in accordance with the law. As promised, that rewritten proposal—the word "floodplains" was inserted into its title—is slated for reintroduction Tuesday night.

If the council approves the proposed new law, the current trust fund would be replaced with a new fund with a new name: the Municipal Open, Recreation, Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historical Preservation Trust Fund. The new law would expand the uses of open space dollars to include the items in its title. 

One major criticism of the turf field proposal is its funding mechanism: The mayor calls for the use of Open Space Trust Fund dollars to cover bonding of the estimated $4.5 million project, which would install artificial turf fields and other athletic improvements at and high schools.

Some residents , insisting that the Open Space Trust Fund was intended to preserve natural spaces. Others accuse the mayor of changing the law to make it easier for the Fields of Dreams project to be implemented. Some even say the proposed law would turn the Open Space Trust Fund into a slush fund for the mayor's pet projects.

. He said the ordinance change is intended to clean up a murky bit of law and to make the uses of open space funding more clear and his administration.

The Tuesday night meeting will not mean a vote on the proposal. The measure must go through two official readings at successive council sessions before being put up for a vote before the body. 

Even if the new ordinance ends up winning passage in May, there is an additional hurdle the turf proposal must clear before it can become reality: In order for the township to use open space funds for any project, the municipality under law must have an ownership interest in it. In the case of Par-Troy's high school fields, the  would have to cede 51 percent of its ownership of the fields to the township in perpetuity.

Before the school board can proceed with consideration of the idea, it first must get the approval of the state Department of Education, which sent the matter to the state attorney general for his okay. Even if such approval is granted, .

Two other ordinance proposals appear on the Town Council's tentative agenda.

One would establish hourly wage ranges for the township's blue-collar supervisors. The other would make changes to the health department fee structure. Both measures are up for their second readings, public discussions and potential votes.

The council is also expected to consider passing a resolution supporting the “” now under consideration in the state General Assembly. The measure, , would strengthen the rights of those victimized by criminals.

The council meets Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Mark April 10, 2012 at 01:53 PM
It is disingenuous for Barberio, through Inglesino, to claim that the new law has nothing to do with the FOD proposal. It is actually ludicrous that they think the people of this town are that ignorant. The Open Space fund has worked just fine, but now all of a sudden it has to be changed? How can the council members possibly approve this? You are essentially telling the taxpayers we are going to keep collecting but instead of in the past, when it was very clearly stated what the money would be used for, we have now made it so broad that you really don't know what we will be able do with your money. Do I interpret this correctly?
VietNam Vet April 10, 2012 at 08:43 PM
This is for the mayor's personal slush fund, he and he alone will have total access to this fund whenever he feels like it, and Inglesino says its just not true, well then whu was it all done behind closed doors and nobody could say anytrhing about it. To clear up some murky bit of law, thats funny because nobody thought it was murky and unclear when they voted on it the way it is now. Just this mayor and Inglesino thinks its murky an unclear to this administration. If they can't understand it then maybe we need a new Administration who can understand english instead. This is just another way to get around the law as it was written, its no wonder the school board tried doing the same thing with Seitz contract and look at the leagl mess that has caused. People of Parsippany, you want to restore the Pride back in this town, then lets begin here and stop the backroom corruption now. We want everything out front and in the OPEN from now on!!!!!!!!!!!!
VietNam Vet April 20, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Oh Mark, never underestimate this town for the crooked ways they do things. This town believes we are all stupid as does the democraps, they feel we need to be told what to do and what to believe or what to buy as Odumbo{Osama}. Some day the people in this town will wise up, I just hope its not to late at that time.
VietNam Vet April 20, 2012 at 01:57 AM
I agree Pete, they will wait until all the interest dies down and most people forgot about it, but I will not forget, I will always be watching and waiting and then I'll speak up again, as long as I'm alive and still live here. This has gotten to be one of the worst towns for corruption that I have lived in, and many years ago I lived in Passaic. So thats going some.
TJ Ritter May 01, 2012 at 11:37 PM
I am TJ Ritter at tj_ritter@yahoo.com. Please feel free to e-mail me if you would like to discuss further. Do you know what a conservation easement is and how it is traditionally used? Check out http://www.anjec.org/pdfs/EasementCD-EasementProvisionsinBrief.pdf and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_easement Did you know that the State Ethics Board is in the process of conducting a full and thorough investigation on many members of our Town Council, the mayor, the town attorney, BOE members and many committee members. Also, please check out www.parsippanyunite.com We have added a new Fact Check section that checks out some claims made on the “FOD” website. A basic tenet of a healthy democracy is open dialogue and transparency. Peter Fenn

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