Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Liquor Licenses, ShotSpotter on Council Agenda Tonight

It's been more than a month since the last City Council meeting, so here's a reminder that it is an agenda-fixing session at 7:30 p.m. tonight in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Avenue.

The annual exercise known as liquor license renewal takes place this month, or at least is supposed to, but stragglers in paying state taxes or renewal fees tend to draw it out for a couple more months.

Only one social club license, for Club Cosmo, is ready to be moved to the June 20 agenda for approval. The Mohawk Lodge and Stone Square Lodge have not yet received tax clearance.

Eleven licenses for bars, restaurants and nightclubs are ready for approval and eight liquor stores met all requirements for renewal. Nine others, including the two social clubs, are not yet ready for renewal.

All the liquor license establishments are subject to review by the Police, Fire, Health and Inspections divisions and no objections have been raised to granting the 20 licenses that are ready for a vote on June 20.

Another item of interest is the proposed payment of $120,000 for a one-year renewal of the ShotSpotter contract. According to the resolution, the payment covers use of the gunshot-detecting system from Feb. 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2017. The system is in use for its third year. Unfortunately, there have been multiple shootings, three fatal, in recent weeks. The ShotSpotter system helps police pinpoint locations of shots fired. One innocent bystander was killed along with two other victims in May. Law enforcement agencies and community activists are seeking ways to stop gun violence from happening in the first place.

Also of interest is a proposed agreement between the city and the school board to mutually waive "any and all fees associated with licenses, permits, applications or use of facilities required by each respective entity" The memorandum of agreement does not obviate the need to file for permits in a timely way and does not eliminate the authority of wither entity to deny a request for other reasons.

It is momentous because of perceived spats between the city and board over permission for events under past board leadership. Although the school board is supposed to be nonpartisan, in Plainfield candidates tend to run on slates and in April a slate backed by Mayor Adrian O. Mapp captured three seats in addition to one won in November. Mapp emerged at the May school board reorganization with enough votes to have his November winner, Emily Morgan, declared president of the board. Once the agreement is adopted by the governing body and the school board, it will remain in effect for three years, although a clause allows for termination upon 90 days' notice by either entity.


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