Council Introduces Anti-Underage Drinking Ordinance
Vote will be held in 60 days, giving the public the opportunity to review the ordinance.
The Kinnelon Council introduced an ordinance that would allow police to charge underage drinkers for possessing or consuming alcohol on private property, but the council agreed to postpone voting on the ordinance for 60 days, giving the public enough time to review the ordinance and ask questions.
Under the current ordinance, police are able to charge underage persons who have consumed or are in possession of alcohol as long as they are on public property, such as a borough road. With the new ordinance, police would be able to charge an underage drinker, the first offense coming with a $250 fine.
Councilman Andrew San Filippo originally asked Thursday that the council table introducing the ordinance because he said he felt the public has misconceptions about what the ordinance stands to do (see video above).
Councilman Jim Freda agreed that the council should table introduction of the resolution.
"I think the public does not understand this ordinance," he said. "I don't know why we need to rush into this."
During the council's work session meeting last week, Kinnelon Police Chief John Finkle presented the ordinance and asked that the council act on it immediately, but said that it was not dire that it be adopted before upcoming celebrations, such as prom and graduation.
Councilman Gary Moleta said the police chief did want to see the ordinance adopted immediately though so that the department could "protect our children."
"The chief has seen this as an important issue to the safety of the borough," he said.
Moleta spoke about the effects alcohol can have on young drinkers, saying that "this drug has led to a devastating effect on our children" and that he felt the consequences for drinking at a young age were not great enough.
San Filippo also questioned the legality of the ordinance, but Borough Attorney Mark Madaio said there is no question in his mind that the ordinance the borough is considering is 100 percent legal.
Councilman Stephen Cobell presented the compromise of having the council introduce the ordinance, posting its details on the borough Web site and having the council wait 60 days to act on the ordinance.