April 15’s Talk with a Trustee marked the first time that all three sitting trustees have attended a session since Trustee Dan Suttles started holding them in 2018.
Suttles created Talk with a Trustee as an alternative meeting for people who have issues they want to address, but can’t make a regularly scheduled public meeting, or want a less-formal way to meet with the trustees. Suttles issues official meeting notices for each Talk with a Trustee session to meet the obligations of the Sunshine Law, which requires notification in the event that two trustees will attend a function.
Suttles, who always brings coffee and doughnuts to these sessions, held Talk with a Trustee sessions by himself until Trustee Mark Ferrara started attending after he took office last year. Suttles, Ferrara and Trustee Shannon Devitz all showed up April 15. Devitz had attended Talk with a Trustee meetings as a private citizen before she was appointed trustee late last year.
“I think it adds legitimacy to these kinds of meetings,” Suttles of having all three trustees show up.
The meetings are held in different locations in the township, in people’s front yards, business parking lots and public places. The April 15 meeting was held on the green in Brookfield Center.
Ferrara said he embraced the alternative meeting concept, because his vision for a strong, vibrant community includes public officials sitting down and talking to people.
Ferrara asked resident Chuck Booty of Brightview Avenue to attend the April 15 meeting to reiterate his long-standing complaint about water coming out of the woods and flooding his basement during heavy rains. Booty said the water sometimes is waist deep in his basement.
Ferrara said he wanted all three trustees to hear from Booty at once because “We all got involved in different phases of your concern.”
Road Supt. Jaime Fredenburg recently visited Booty’s home with Ferrara, and Devitz said she will ask Fredenburg for an update on whether he thinks the township can do anything to help Booty at an upcoming department head meeting.
The trustees also talked to residents about the conditions of township roads, and the plans for paving those roads now that voters have approved a 3.5-mill levy for road improvement and maintenance.
Other concerns included the placement of a sign at Broadway Avenue and Route 62 that blocks some Broadway motorists from seeing traffic on Route 62.
The next Talk with a Trustee meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon May 20 at Locust and Mulberry streets, Masury.