To the Editor:
I am writing this letter to appeal to the Milford Borough Council to postpone any voting decisions that pertain to the current sewer feasibility study until we are out of this pandemic and can once again have live meetings as well as video conference meetings.
During the COVID-19 crisis there is no “normal” for the residents of the borough, and although video meetings serve a very useful purpose, it does not bring us normalcy. Our “normal” right now is concern about loved ones, mortgage payments, and putting food on the table. Central sewage, which is of great importance to all borough residents warranting input from all concerned parties, is at this time not at the forefront of thought for the majority of our residents.
Meetings are currently being conducted via Zoom, which is a great additional tool, but it has limitations, such as a lack of residents’ comments or questions prior to the council members voting on issues. During the council meeting of 4/21/20, there was discussion among the members followed by a vote without questions/comments from residents. During that time the rest of the participants were muted and could not make comments or ask relevant questions. Only during the public comment portion at the end of the meeting after the vote had been cast were borough residents able to be heard. This is in clear violation of the Sunshine Act as stated below:
Can the public comment during public meetings?
Yes. The Sunshine Act gives the public the right to comment on issues "that are or may be before the board." Agencies must provide a reasonable opportunity for residents and/or taxpayers to comment on an issue before a decision takes place.
Again, I ask, what is the urgency? Why can’t we wait until the ban on public gatherings is lifted so that residents can once again focus on this issue and understand exactly what this feasibility study will mean to them?
I am in no way suggesting not to schedule the monthly borough meetings but that until the “live” public participation component has been restored we hit the “pause button” on any issues requiring a vote on the central sewage study.