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Kinnelon Impound Lot Could Be Voted on Thursday

Kinnelon Council discusses future development of lot as revenue-gaining measure.

The Kinnelon Council could vote Thursday to approve a seized vehicle impound lot behind the borough municipal building where Kinnelon police can store vehicles taken after being involved in crimes.

The council discussed the lot after hearing from Kinnelon Police Chief John Finkle at the Oct. 11 work session meeting. Finkle told the council the lot would be used to store the vehicles, as well as some police department equipment currently stored behind the police department and taking up parking spaces that could be used for the municipal building. He said the lot is a necessity.

"I need this lot for the storage of these vehicles," Finkle said.

If approved, the lot would be located in the lower parking lot behind the Kinnelon Municipal Building and have 32 parking spaces plus two additional, indoor spaces. The covered spaces, Finkle said, would be used for vehicles involved in more serious crimes, such as a homicides, where it is crucial that evidence not be tampered with. After two years and a succesful application with the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, the police department takes ownership of seized vehicles that do not have liens on them and is able to use them for training purposes or to auction them off.

Finkle also said the lot could be used, as a secondary function if the borough chooses, as a way for the borough to gain revenue.

"What the town may want to do is actually create that to be an impound yard," Finkle said. "Instead of a vehicle going to a tow truck company, it would go to our facility and the borough would retain that money."

Vehicles that could be towed to the impound yard that are not seized, Finkle said, are vehicles that were towed from car accidents, DWI arrests, unregistered vehicle arrests and other motor vehicle stops. Finkle presented information to the council about how many vehicles were towed over the past year, including how many were towed for accidents as opposed to those that were towed for motor vehicle infractions, for which the tow company has made revenue. This year so far, 62 vehicles were towed after the owners were issued summonses out of 71 total vehicles towed.

Kinnelon CFO Donna Mollineaux said at the meeting that the Kinnelon tow yard could be appealing to other, neighboring municipalities as well.

"If there are other towns looking for this, now we would have a shared service," she said.

If the council decided to proceed, Mollineaux said the impound lot would become a part of the borough's budget.

"We'd have to budget the money for towing expenses," she said.

Other costs would also be associated with maintaining the yard, including Department of Public Works employees shoveling. However, Mollineaux said another New Jersey municipality that implemented a tow yard was able to bring in about $16,000 per year. 

Finkle said that for police purposes the lot for seized vehicles is needed. He recommended the council begin with the lot for police seizures and then conduct a study to determine whether towing vehicles to Kinnelon would be beneficial. The council will further discuss the lot at the Kinnelon Council meeting Thursday at 8 p.m.

Larry Huyler October 17, 2012 at 04:58 AM
While this project could be a revenue generating one, it looks like everyone has forgotten the hassle the town had when they wanted to repair/remove the hockey rink, or apply artificial turf on the soccer fields behind the municipal building. Has the town even applied for a variance from the Highland's Preservation Act for this venture. Look how long it took to get them to sign off on building the new firehouse on Boonton Ave. The area being looked at is elevated and about 600 feet from an active stream. What will steps are planned to prevent chemical runoffs from the impounded vehicles from entering the water to be carried downstream? Lastly, being placed in an area where "no eyes" can see it will surely guarantee that no one will tamper with these vehicles or the evidence they contain. Right?
Newman October 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM
another boondoggle, dumb idea by our council. How many cars are we talking about here? Can't the council members house them at their residences?
Eric Rosenberg October 17, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Great, a parking lot with rotting cars, right next to our "beautiful" municipal fields! Why not fence it in with barbed wire to add to the look. Another eyesore. Have any of these councilmen other than Jim Freda ever noticed that we already have a massive parking issue when we have football and lacrosse games going on? A revenue stream, I doubt it!
Clarity October 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Ariana, Thank you for posting this upcoming Council agenda item. Back in August you reported on how the council promised to get all the agenda's and minutes up on the Boro web site that same week. That still has not happened. An important issue like this, the council should have given more notice to the community that the vote was coming up. Instead they rely on you uncovering the agenda. What is the council trying to hide? I recently reviewed the web site and saw only one audit report on line http://www.kinnelonboro.org/documents/K_FinancialFinal2011.pdf This report identifies serious weakness in financial over sight. Has the council addressed these weaknesses? Have they corrected them? I do not think so, nor do we know if they ever discussed them. They do not want the public to know what is going on with our tax money. I recall the council spent a fortune for tax maps and when it came time to have a revaluation done, guess what Tax maps were incomplete. Meanwhile the folks with water front homes in Fayson lakes are still getting a huge tax break because the homes are under assessed, and people like me who built a home a little over a decade ago are over paying our taxes. What is going on at Boro Hall? Please find out if you can. The council will continue to hide the truth from the community.
Frosted Pumpkins20 October 17, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I would love to see the Boro employees actually enforce the laws of the state and boro. We have residents in this community with unregistered vehicles, trailers and other junk all over their properties and nothing gets done about it. The lack of enforcement against current violators is very selective and biased. If I represented violators in this community I think selective enforcement could be a good defense. Now they want to house a junk yard. Hey Collins I guess now when you look out the window of boro hall you will not see our children playing on a lacrosse field, you will look out and see the next Sanford and Son Junk Yard. Just look at the home on Brook Valley in Kinnelon, a junk yard parking lot, a second floor deck with no railing and a metal collection underneath it, a Miller Rd Property that stores junk cars, boats and debris, a Fayson Lakes home that has a junk pile in the yard, homes on ricker with falling down fences and abandoned cars. Think of the money we could raise by enforcing the laws and how this will truly clean up areas of our boro. Don't we have any one enforcing the laws? I know the snow plow violations only apply in the newer developments with big homes. Maybe the council would have some credibility if they made sure the employees did their jobs or were allowed to.
Retired October 17, 2012 at 03:08 PM
You really get around, although you missed the deck on Midland Trail. With all this knowledge you should call the clerk's office with addresses of the offenders.
steve aungst jr October 17, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Clarity, I highly doubt we Fayson Lake waterfront homeowners are underpaying for taxes. Ours for an old house on a mostly unusable yard are over 11k a year to be on a double yellow county road with speeders.
Jo October 17, 2012 at 05:17 PM
"The area being looked at is elevated" - I'm confused. Is this the area north of the field i.e. behind the field house and across the stream/ditch?
Tammy October 17, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I agree with Eric and was thinking the same thing! We already have a parking issue. Why didn't they ever consider it for additional parking instead of having people with their kids crossing Kinnelon Rd to get to their cars parked at the HS OR a playscape or something useful to the residents so we don't have to cart our kids to neighboring towns. What happened to "shared" services with out neighboring towns? Don't they have impound yards?
Repo October 17, 2012 at 09:09 PM
The council wants this so they can tow cars illegally parked at events. See they take away parking spots and you have few options on where you can park. They tow your car and give you a ticket. You pay the fine and the tow and storage fee. That's the plan. I also hear they will buy a tow truck and hire a driver. I also heard rumor there the council considering hosting a half way house for convicted criminals so they can also raise revenue.
Tony October 18, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Do these guys know what to do with our money?! Impound lot, solar panel ordinance, tree ordinance, teen drinking ordinance, library that is in arrears (for 3 years), turf field, new firehouse, new fire equipment to fill the new firehouse, new DPW house, future new Kiel Ave firehouse..... Let's hire a BA so when we have to raise taxes, they'll take the heat. Come on Kinnelon residents! Wake up! They must puff in a cloud of sleeping gas over Ktown, because it seems no one cares!
Susan Clancy October 18, 2012 at 01:33 PM
An impound yard? Cut down trees, pave over the land, imperil the stream? "Pave Paradise, put up a parking lot" This must be a bad dream....Do I still live in Kinnelon?

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