Kuncken returns to the council

| 15 Feb 2012 | 11:20

STANHOPE - Former mayor Diana Kuncken has returned to the Stanhope Council less than two weeks after swearing in the borough’s new mayor, Rosemarie Maio. Kuncken, who wrapped up her term in December after eight years as mayor, accepted the nomination as Stanhope’s newest councilwoman at the first council meeting of the year on Jan. 10. She was one of three candidates chosen to fill the vacancy left when Maio took the mayor’s seat. Michael Depew and James Benson were sworn in for the other two council seats on Jan. 1, each for three-year terms. Maio joined the council in 2011. Kuncken will complete her former term, which expires in December of 2013. In other business Increasing recycling among residents is one of the council's major goals in the coming year. “Based on the preliminary look of the budget, garbage is going to be one of the 'ouch factors’ in the budget this year,” Maio said. Due to the increase in tipping fees at the county’s landfill, the council said they must remain even more vigilant in informing the public about the items that can be recycled. They plan to compile and distribute a newsletter to all residents and schools on the topic. The newsletter can be paid from a clean communities grant Stanhope Borough received. Maio said all plastic containers marked one through seven on the bottom, can be recycled. “If it doesn’t have the symbol, it doesn’t have to be recycled,” she said. Borough attorney Richard Stein said household batteries can now be tossed in the trash due to lower mercury content, and the Stanhope DPW will accept vehicle batteries. The council discussed concerns about the plaster mill across from Bell’s Mansion on Main Street and Kelly Place. Members of the council agreed the mill might present a hazard in its present deteriorated condition. Maio suggested taking the walls of the structure down to a lower level, cleaning up the area, and taking the stones from the mill’s walls to create benches. She proposed a rendering so visitors could see what the mill looked like at one time. Other members of the council approved of the idea. Resident Don Drake spoke out during the public portion and said 30 years ago it was decided no tax dollars would be spent on the plaster mill and that an individual had planned to take it down and rebuild it. The plaster mill has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977. “At the end of the day, it’s still borough property,” said borough administrator Brian McNeilly. Maio asked McNeilly and DPW superintendent Bill Storms to inspect the mill and surrounding area.