The Metuchen Borough Council recently deliberated on several community matters, including the contentious change to coinless parking meters, public support for the nurses’ strike at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, and upcoming winter events. The council also discussed grants for lunch programs, partnerships with senior citizen organizations, public safety, and local business initiatives.
The transition to coinless parking meters was a hot topic at the meeting, sparking discussion between council members and the public. Residents voiced concerns about the new system’s costs and accessibility, highlighting potential challenges for those uncomfortable with credit card use due to security concerns and those lacking smartphones. Paul Bradley, a community member, criticized the borough’s decision, describing it as prioritizing convenience over community needs and calling it a form of “bullying.”
In response, Mayor Jonathan Busch and Council member Jason Delia defended the council’s decision. The mayor emphasized the challenge of balancing different interests for community welfare, highlighting that similar changes were adopted in other towns like Highland Park and Edison. Delia clarified the system’s fee structure and pointed out the borough’s fiscal responsibility in maintaining the cost of coin collection.
The issue of public support for the nurses’ strike at the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital was also raised. Representatives from the hospital requested the council’s backing for a resolution favoring safe staffing bills. Mayor Busch expressed his support for the cause, while also noting the council’s typical focus on matters directly related to the borough.
The council also discussed various community and borough initiatives. These included the activities of the Matou In Cares Committee and the Metuchen Downtown Alliance (MDA), the upcoming Small Business Saturday event, and the efforts of the Department of Public Works in decorating the downtown area for the holiday season.
Several winter events were announced, including a menorah lighting event on the first night of Hanukkah, a holiday party scheduled for November 26th, and a parade featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus. Council member Hirsch provided updates about the library’s activities, while Council member Branch shared news about the Senior Citizen Center’s reopening and regular activities.
In the business section of the meeting, the council passed a resolution opposing the American Broadband Deployment Act, citing potential threats to local governance and franchise renewal. This action was taken at the request of Congressman Pallone. A resolution authorizing the payment of the bill list was also approved.