Rising Garbage Collection Costs and Crime Rates Addressed at East Brunswick Council Meeting; Residents Advocate for Safe Staffing Legislation

In a recent East Brunswick Town Council meeting, topics discussed included the rising costs of garbage collection, an uptick in auto thefts, and community members advocating for support of safe staffing legislation for healthcare facilities.

Mayor Brad J. Cohen introduced the topic of escalating garbage collection costs, a concern affecting many municipalities, including East Brunswick. The township had recently secured a new contract for garbage collection, which offered additional services but resulted in a 30% increase in costs over a span of five years. This increase was contrasted with the staggering 223% surge faced by the town of Readington. Mayor Cohen highlighted the difficulties municipalities face in negotiating contracts and the impact on budgeting, especially since garbage collection costs are not exempt from the cap.

Councilwoman Dana Winston defended the new contract, stating that despite not being thrilled about any increase, the expanded services make it a good deal in comparison to the state’s norm. She also addressed the issue of increased crime rates during the holiday season, specifically package thefts from porches. Winston stressed that while social media and home security systems have made people more aware of such incidents, the overall crime rate in East Brunswick hasn’t significantly changed in the past 20 years, with a noted exception for a rise in auto thefts, a statewide issue.

The town’s business administrator joined the conversation, urging residents to take preventive measures against auto thefts such as bringing their keys inside their homes, locking their cars, and using mobile apps to monitor their vehicles. Councilman Kevin McEvoy emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant and relying on the police department to ensure community safety.

A significant portion of the meeting was dedicated to public comments, with several residents advocating for the council’s support of State legislation A4536 and S304, which aim to establish minimum registered nurse staffing standards for healthcare facilities. A critical care nurse and another healthcare professional highlighted the importance of safe staffing ratios, citing the ongoing strike at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and the facility’s expenditure of over $150 million on replacement nurses. They, along with other residents, called on the council to pass a resolution in support of the legislation to ensure high-quality patient care.

Councilman James Wendell thanked the speakers for their comments and assured the residents that the council would review the safe staffing bill. He requested contact information for further discussion on the matter.

Other items discussed during the meeting included a presentation on the potential building or renovation of East Brunswick High School, leaf pick-up delays, and a feature article on affordable housing in East Brunswick authored by Mayor Cohen. The council also recognized Diana Weiner and local business Route 18 Lumber for their contributions to the community.

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.

Brad J. Cohen
City Council Officials:
Kevin McEvoy, Dana Zimbicki, Dana Winston, Dinesh Behal, James Wendell

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