Clark to Enforce Grease Trap Maintenance at Local Restaurants
In an effort to fight grease entering the sewer system, this ordinance would require restaurants to prove they are properly operating their grease traps.
At Monday night's meeting, Clark Council discussed drafting an ordinance to regulate the maintenance of restaurant grease traps.
Grease traps are connected to the plumbing of commercial kitchens and prevent grease and food particles from entering the sewer system. Though the traps collect the grease, the grease must also be properly disposed of. If grease enters the sewers, it can congeal and clog them, causing a backup.
According to Business Administrator John Laezza, the Department of Public Works logs significant overtime fixing clogged sewers – many of which, they believe, are clogged because restaurants are not properly disposing of the grease they produce.
"Right now, these businesses can just call up the town and the DPW comes out and cleans it up and citizens are paying for that," said Laezza. "We have no penalties and it costs a lot of money in overtime when they come out. This is a way to call it to [the restaurants'] attention."
Though Clark restaurants must have grease traps installed, officials suspect many businesses are not properly disposing of the grease after it collects, perhaps even pouring it down the drain even after it is collected.
Councilman Brian Toal asked if there were any specific problem-restaurants in town that had had the DPW out to remedy a clog.
"Every business," answered Laezza. "You name it."
"We don’t want to enforce and impose another problem on businesses and people trying to make a living, but when you call overtime out its four hours of guaranteed overtime we're paying, whether it takes five minutes to fix a clog or three hours and 55 minutes to fix a clog," explained Mayor Sal Bonaccorso. "Right now, I would bet all of the grease being produced is not being properly disposed of and is going into our sewer system."
Laezza said that if council would like an ordinance governing the maintenance and inspection of the traps, the township would first educate businesses on how to properly maintain them.
Council members agreed that an ordinance was a good idea and directed the township attorney to draft an ordinance for council's next meeting.
Other notes from Monday's meeting:
Council approved a resolution awarding a contract to S. Brothers Inc. for ADA Curb and Ramp Improvements in an amount not to exceed the CDBG Grant amount of $15,000. Laezza stated that the town received two quotes – one at $1,700 per ramp and another for $2,000 per ramp – and S. Brothers was the lower quote.
Council approved a resolution awarding a contract to Energy Source LLC for the supply of electricity to municipal properties at an estimated cost savings of $196,034 over a three-year period. Clark had been using another company and, according to Laezza, the energy rate was variable for the 43 accounts the town has. The new contract has a guaranteed rate. "They based the savings on our history of usage," explained Bonaccorso. "Seeing the savings was close to three tax points, we felt the switch was an absolute necessity to do."
Council discussed a resolution opposing Senate Bill 1451, which changes the requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act, and Senate Bill 1452, which changes the requirements of the Open Public Records Act. Clerk Edie Merkel explained that the Municipal Clerks Association of NJ and the League of Municipalities have asked all local governments to consider adopting this resolution. Merkel explained that she personally objects to the bills because she believes they would take away residents' reasonable expectations of privacy.
"We have to give out any residents name, address, as it is," said Merkel. "Much of what we do is supply free mailing lists to businesses. One asked for a list of what residents had pools recently installed because they wanted to sell them fencing."
Merkel explained that in Clark, "you aren’t going to find the problem where people are trying to hide information. I get requests every day and they go out as quickly as possible," said Merkel. "We give them everything they need and help them be more specific on their requests, instead of denying them, if they aren't specific enough."
Council authorized the Tax Collector to prepare and issue estimated tax bills for the third installment of 2012 taxes. Laezza explained that although the town has adopted its budget, there is still the school budget and county budget to be factored into total property taxes. This resolution allows the town to estimate the tax in order to send one tax stub out in June and then have the remainder, once the budgets are decided, distributed over the remaining tax stubs sent in November.
Council affirmed the Township’s Civil Rights Policy with respect to all officials, appointees, employees, prospective employees, volunteers, independent contractors and member of the public that come into contact with municipal employees, officials and volunteers. Laezza said township employees will receive a copy of the policy and sign off on it.
Council ratified the Mayor’s January 3 appointment of Councilman Brian Toal as the Township’s official representative to the Solid Waste Advisory Committee and appointing Councilman Frank Mazzarella as the alternate representative.
In his report, Mayor Bonaccorso said that he had just participated in the Keith Dolan golf outing with several other council members. The Keith W. Dolan Foundation was established in memory of Keith Dolan, former Clark recreation director and community leader. The foundation provides college scholarships and awards grants to youth organizations of Clark Township to which Dolan dedicated much of his time and energy for more than 10 years. The annual golf outing enables the foundation to provide ALJ High School seniors with college scholarships and youth organizations in Clark, as well as contributing to the Dolan children College Fund. The mayor said the outing had a great turnout and that it was nice to be there, see old friends and honor Dolan's memory.
The mayor commended Clark Police Detective George Marmarou for going above and beyond to solve a purse snatching case.
The mayor stated that the town is aware of a tree down behind Brookside and the county is going to remove it. The mayor said rain has delayed the removal.
The mayor pointed out that the new municipal lot is open and was created to be environmental friendly.
Councilman Al Barr wants to remind residents to come to the annual Memorial Day parade on May 28, which kicks off on the corner of Nassau Street and Westfield Avenue.
Councilman Rich Kazanowski reminded residents that the pool will hold its open house on May 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All are welcome to come check out the pool. Read more on the pool, here.
Township Engineer Richard O'Connor stated that all of the town's road construction jobs are "progressing very nicely." He said that Ivy Street improvements will be done once the weather cooperates. O'Connor added that the municipal parking lot was partially funded by the DEP and a partnership with Rutgers for the differential between a standard and a "green" parking lot.