Melissa Paul John and Bill Uber Named as Dunellen Borough Council Honorees; Council Discusses Redevelopment and Volunteer Engagement

In a recent Dunellen Borough Council meeting, Melissa Paul John was selected as the Citizen of the Year, and Bill Uber was nominated for the Lifetime Achievement award. The council also discussed various issues including the restoration of the HMA minor sanitary sewer, upcoming walks and talks with the Mayor, and a town hall on volunteering. Public concerns about safety, nurse-to-patient ratios, and affordable housing were also addressed.

Melissa Paul John, known for her significant contributions to the community through organizing the annual Easter egg hunt, was chosen as the Citizen of the Year in a tie-breaking vote by Mayor Jason F. Cilento. The other nominee, Colleen Mendes, was recognized for her active involvement in St. John’s Church, the Senior Club, and the American Legion Post 119.

Bill Uber was nominated for the Lifetime Achievement award for his extensive involvement in the American Legion and his contributions to various fundraisers and programs. The council recognized his advisory role to the current Legion Commander and his dedication to the boy state program.

Council members Teresa Albertson and Trina Rios, among others, engaged in a lively discussion about the award selection process. Albertson proposed that the Citizen of the Year award be renamed as Volunteer of the Year to include volunteers from committees and commissions. While recognizing the need to review and improve the process for future awards, the council also considered the suggestion to nominate groups like the American Legion for the Lifetime Achievement award.

The council also addressed ongoing and upcoming municipal events and projects. Council member Rios highlighted the fire department’s Christmas tree sale and the non-American Legion’s toy collection for Tops. Hal Vandermark, another council member, urged community support for local businesses on Small Business Saturday, promising a $20 gift card to anyone spending $100 in Dunellen.

Maintenance work was discussed, with updates on various projects including the HMA minor sanitary sewer removals. The council is waiting on PSTG to complete the installation of a bypass main at the bridge. The possibility of the contractor working throughout the winter to finish the project by spring was also raised, in hopes of alleviating flooding problems.

Mayor Cilento announced forthcoming interactive events, including walks and talks with the mayor and a town hall meeting focused on Dunellen’s redevelopment. The latter is scheduled for Thursday, December 14th, and will cover topics such as master plan updates, ongoing redevelopment projects, affordable housing, school age children, tax exemptions, and downtown improvement districts.

During the public comments section, Roberto Molina Bon raised concerns about a damaged light post and urged the council’s support for a bill in Congress focused on safe staffing ratios for nurses. Carl Peter Clapper voiced concerns about rising rents and the impact of mortgages in the Washington Heights neighborhood, suggesting a moratorium on new mortgages. The council vowed to review these concerns, consult with legal counsel, and consider potential legislative action.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Jason F. Cilento
City Council Officials:
Trina Rios, Teresa Albertson, Jessica Dunne, Joseph Paltjon, Daniel Cole Sigmon, Hal Vandermark

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