By Coleen Burnett
It was both a night of history and a night of frustration at the March 2 meeting of the West Long Branch Borough Council. The history came via Michael Paolantonio and Marlowe Botti, who were both promoted to the rank of sergeant on the borough’s police force.
Paolantonio is a graduate of Shore Regional High School and was hired by West Long Branch as an officer in 2004, after serving a stint as a Class 1 Special Police Officer in Belmar. He has served as a Juvenile Officer since 2006.
Botti began her career as a member of the Police Explorers post in Matawan. She was a Class 2 officer in both Belmar and Sea Bright before being hired by West Long Branch in 2004.
As a patrol officer, she received two unit citations and one excellent arrest award. She is a Field Training officer and an FBI certified/trained hostage crisis negotiator and a member of the Monmouth emergency response team (MOCERT).
Before her promotion, Botti was an acting shift supervisor and squad leader.
Tucci said she was pleased and proud of the officers and their accomplishments. “May God watch over you and keep you safe,” she said.
Calendars still not there
In the regular meeting that followed, the Mayor addressed an ongoing problem — many residents have still not received their 2016 calendars. The bundles are assembled by the borough and then are sent to the Eatontown Post Office to be delivered to individual homes. The same problem occurred last year.
Tucci was upset at what she perceived as a lack of accountability by the Post Office. “I got mine last Saturday (Feb. 27). I don’t know who to fight with,” she said.
“It’s still inexcusable. We’re schlepping them from West Long Branch to Eatontown and it still doesn’t matter. There is no rhyme or reason as to why they are doing it.”
Councilman Chris Neyhart suggested that next year they avoid the post office entirely, suggesting they use volunteers like the Boy Scouts to label, bag, and hand-deliver each calendar. Tucci indicated that might be the best solution down the road – but there seems no easy way to solve the current issue.
Why no FIOS?
On another hot topic, a representative from Verizon was in attendance to answer any questions concerning an ordinance, which would renew an agreement in place since 1966 that Verizon can use the telephone lines in the borough. Instead, Director of External Affairs Mark Bocchieri was peppered with questions about why the borough does not yet have FIOS, Verizon’s high speed internet service.
Though Bocchieri could not answer many of the questions (the phone lines and FIOS are two separate departments) he reiterated what has been said before – that there are currently no plans to bring the popular high-speed internet service to the majority of the borough, as West Long Branch does not meet population requirements set by the utility.
He told the Council their minimum requirement is 7,111 people per square mile, per agreements that were signed off on in 2006 and using numbers based on the 2000 Census.
“We do now!,” Tucci said of meeting the numbers. The mayor believes those numbers are too low and the population of the borough now is actually higher.
It’s a situation that will not be resolved anytime soon. For now, only a small portion of town near the Ocean Township border has the service, and Tucci vowed to continue lobbying the utility.