With three candidates voting against the resolution Monday, the township narrowly opted against applying for a Click it or Ticket grant through the state, amid concerns that the township police officers should not have to split their time with this initiative.
The state-funded, $4,000 Click it or Ticket grant applies about $50 an hour to pay for officers working overtime to look for people not wearing their seatbelts.
Township Administrator James Naples said the township has never gone for this grant in the past, but the application is coming due so he wanted to check with the council again.
Councilman Matthew Moench said he would not support the resolution to apply for the grant.
“I think the cops have better things to do with their time, and I don’t think we should have them waste their time with this,” he said.
Naples said the has put in its support for the grant in the past.
Councilman Howard Norgalis, who initially expressed support in favor of the grant but later voted against it, said he would like to know how many tickets are actually given out for a lack of a seatbelt.
“I have been critical of police ticketing on Sunday mornings [and other times], but people should have their seatbelts, and shame on them for not,” he said.
Norgalis said he would hope that the police department would send its officers to monitor busy highway roads, like Route 22, rather than side roads in front of residents’ homes if it had the grant money.
Councilman Filipe Pedroso, who was the other council member voting against the grant, said he does not want to see Bridgewater residents targeted through this grant.
“There are issues that impact the safety of our residents,” he said. “Although this is an important issue, I don’t feel it is paramount enough to do this because it could impact our residents more than others.”
With a vote of 3-2, the council voted down the resolution to apply for the grant.