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Kinnelon Mayor Calls For Referendum On November Ballot for Turf Field

The mayor and two council candidates are pushing for a public referendum after years of turmoil with the Kinnelon Council.

Mayor Bob Collins and Council Candidates Adam Barish and Tom Kline are calling for a public referendum on the use of open space funds for the installation of a new turf field. File photo.
Mayor Bob Collins and Council Candidates Adam Barish and Tom Kline are calling for a public referendum on the use of open space funds for the installation of a new turf field. File photo.
The borough of Kinnelon's turf war continues.

Mayor Bob Collins and Council Candidates Adam Barish and Tom Kline announced today that they have called for yet another public referendum regarding spending public funds on new turf field installation to be placed on the Nov. 4 ballot.

The money that would be used for the creation of the field has been accrued in the past 10 years as part of the open space tax, which so far contains $1.3 million in taxpayer money, according to Kinnelon First, Collins, Barish and Kline's campaign page.

Members of the Borough Council said last year prior to a public opinion survey on the installation that constructing a new field was not a valid use of the open space and recreation fund and should instead go toward the maintenance of existing fields, according to north jersey.com.

"We are absolutely in favor of using some of the open space fund for the field. In fact we have suggested combining private fundraising with open space funds. We just do not think it is responsible to use the majority of the funds for a single purpose," a representative at Kinnelon First said. "We also are concerned with the deplorable field conditions and the lack of the use of these funds to maintain them properly."

Councilman James Freda said previously that turf is needed as the borough is spending too much on seeding and fertilizing existing fields. He claimed the over use of funds is what caused the closure of Stonybrook School field.

Environmental constraints have also put a damper on the move to install the new field, which would require permitting from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and a Highlands Exemption.

A recent release said that despite the turmoil with the Council, it is imperative the public be heard.

"The unprecedented use of the balance of the fund in our opinion is reckless unless it is the prerogative of the taxpayers to do so," a representative of Kinnelon First said.
rick June 01, 2014 at 01:37 PM
Really rich how many kids do you have that are in our school system that are playing sports
Rich beeferman June 01, 2014 at 01:57 PM
Really Rick, how many kids play in each sport? The debt service on field turf is likely $60 per year. Divide that by the total number of participants in rec sports for each sport. It's not a lot to ask. We have a huge football, cheer leading, soccer, lacrosse, baseball etc. if we have that many kids that we don't have enough fields the dollars per registrant per sport per kid is likely small. I have to pay $275 for my kid to play in the pep band at the high school each year and she never steps on the field. I think it needs to be looks at as an option.
rick June 01, 2014 at 02:18 PM
Last comment rich get your point but if your child was subject to glass and rocks and dirt while playing band you would see it a little different we already have one law suit against us she we wait until more kids get hurt? By the way I spend many thousands on my kids sports and over $26000 in real estate taxes and get very little back in services I'm sure the band does not miss practices for rain or poor field conditions. No perfect solution here but the town needs it and money has already been set aside. This has been discussed for 15 year with no results all I'm saying is the town needs fields period and not in 10 more years. Let's get it done
Rich beeferman June 01, 2014 at 04:22 PM
Rick I agree we need better and safer options. I just proposed an easier way for the council to get it done. It's easier for them to get it done when it doesn't cost more tax dollars. In fact if they save on maintenance costs that can reduce the increased fees to the rec. department. So maybe a little cost saving and fee increase gets it done. I'm not sure but I am sure it can be done with out using open space money and with out raising taxes.
Paul Ramirez June 02, 2014 at 09:41 AM
I have a child who plays in the Pep Band and who plays on the field. I support both the arts and the athletics. I see no reason we can't support both. If the band did not have a bass drum, I would support using ANY money we had to buy one. The field condition is deplorable. There are exposed rocks, pieces of metal and glass. As for open space money, one of the areas we can spend it is for a field. Maintenance is out of the question. The fields are destroyed after every rain. We can hardly use them. As for the Stonybrook field I think the information being sent out is wrong. Both the Stonybrook field and the Smoke Rise field were reseeded by the soccer club at their expense. How do I know? I donated the Keep off the field signs after the reseed. Rich, what do you support with the open space money. It has been spent on.. L'Ecole Museum, cages for baseball and a playground. There is a piece of land across from the Boonton Ave firehouse that may be used for a tennis court or playground... None of these expenses or acquisitions directly benefit my kid but I support them as they make our town a better place. Rich, would you support an outdoor band shell with the money? An outdoor stage where your daughter could sing? It troubles me that the response is that "my kid doesn't ever step on the field so why should I pay?" Answer: because it make our community better. This is why I support many things that don't directly benefit my family. Step out on a field once in a while and talk to the many parents who have their kids play on the fields. Why ask how many kids play in each sport? There are a lot by the way. It's like saying we shouldn't update our Calculus books because we don't have that many kids in the town that take Calculus and the old books are ok. You equate sports as something not necessary and a luxury. I equate sports with a character building activity that creates tomorrows leaders. Sorry Rich but I have to respectfully disagree with you. Next time I'm up at 6am on my way to Madison to practice with my son on a Saturday, I'll give you a call.

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