This letter was read into the Highlands Borough Council meeting on March 3, 2021 by Sheila Weinstock.
Dear Mayor and Members of the Borough of Highlands Council:
I received a notice of "Inspection Failure Report" on Monday, 3/1/21 dated 2/25/2, warning me that I will be subject to a summons if snow and ice is not removed within the 12 hour cessation of a storm as per the town ordinance.
I am a 72 year old retired resident of the Borough, on a fixed income and beset with several physical ailments: diabetes, high blood pressure, and spinal stenosis causing a sciatica condition for which I am currently under treatment.
I would like to remind you that we were doubled barreled by blizzard-like conditions the week of February 2.
New Jersey's three day storm was one for the record books with up to 31 inches of snow falling in parts of New Jersey.
After the second storm there was one inch of thick ice under the snow that was impossible to remove. Also, I’d like to indicate that my home faces north; no sun shines on my side of the street. I cannot depend on Mother Nature for help.
And, as my property is on a corner, I am obliged to maintain snow removal in the area along Highland Avenue and along Woodland Street. I do not have a driveway, so I will note here that every effort to dig out my car is complicated by the DPW plows that invariably plow my car back in. I was essentially trapped for four days.
As mentioned previously, I am on a fixed income and a retiree, so I registered for help on the boro website – to no avail. I did have two people approach my house to dig me out and remove snow. The charge was unaffordable. The only reason I was able to get out my back door was that a young man on his way back from HHRS saw me struggling with a shovel and offered his help. I know that many in town can rely on neighbors or family to help, however, most of my neighbors are also elderly and my son is in Louisiana.
I would like to propose a more effective volunteer effort. Here is my idea – we sign up volunteers, particularly those who are younger, healthier, and more able to handle physical labor – First Aid Squad and volunteer Fire Department members, more capable residents, high school kids, college students, etc. I suggest that a nominal charge ($25 to $50) or whatever one can reasonably afford, be collected for this labor and that amount be donated to the Highlands First Aid Squad, our volunteer Fire Department or other community group.
I would be happy to pay a reasonable fee considering my fixed income. A $25 to $50 donation is something I could do as apposed to a $125 to $150 charge; those who come out to do these jobs know a money maker when they see it. That is fine for some but not for those of us Seniors in the Borough who are constrained by our circumstance.
I would very much appreciate the Council making an attempt to help me and other Highlands Seniors to conform to the ordinances as they are outlined.
Thank you for listening and thank you for your efforts on behalf of the senior citizens in Highlands.