Byram to adopt marijuana ordinance, schedules annual festival

Byram. The Byram council may use $780K for the new municipal building. The draft municipal budget is expected to be adopted on April 6.

| 02 Apr 2021 | 03:04

Budget to be adopted: Adoption of the 2021-22 municipal budget is scheduled for April 6. Township manager Joseph Sabatini said the township council will introduce all of the capital ordinances after the adoption.

Stimulus money coming: Councilman Raymond Bonker said Byram will receive $780,000 in stimulus money through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. He recommended the council use all the money for the municipal building project, which would lower the potential price tag from $5.5 million to $4.7 million.

Marijuana ordinances planned: Resident Ruth Rhodes asked whether the council will pass ordinances prohibiting marijuana sales and growing facilities in the township. Mayor Alexander Rubenstein said the council discussed cannabis legalization during its executive session, and after more discussion will likely introduce an ordinance around the end of April, and adopt it in May. Rhodes said the new state law prohibits police from notifying parents of minors about marijuana or alcohol first offenses and are only allowed to give minors a warning. Rubenstein called the lack of notification an “unfortunate and terrible aspect of the legislation.” Township attorney Tom Collins a legislative proposal was in the works to amend that aspect of the new law.

Bereaved family visits: Councilwoman Cris Franco said the family of Corporal Hayden Harris of Tennessee, a murder victim whose body was found in Byram in December, met with police and fire personnel, along with some members of the township council, at the Byram firehouse. Harris had been kidnapped from the Fort Drum Army Garrison before his murder. The Harris subcommittee continues to prepare a memorial for the corporal.

Byram Day/Fest: Councilman Jack Gallagher said the Recreation Committee scheduled the Byram Day/Fest for 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 9, with a rain date of Sunday, Oct. 10. He said the celebration will include a food truck, cheerleaders, a marching band, and business tables, and fireworks show at 8:30 p.m.

Ice rescue drill: Councilman Gallagher said the fire department successfully completed an ice rescue drill.

New planning board secretary: Township manager Joseph Sabatini appointed Caitlyn Phillips to be the new planning board secretary.

Sewer allocation: Councilman Bonker said township manager Sabatini proactively created an agreement between Byram Township and Stanhope Borough regarding sewer allocation that would benefit several businesses on the Route 206 corridor for many years.

HVAC system fails: Sabatini said the HVAC system in the meeting room has failed, and the township is collecting estimates. In order to avoid frozen pipes, they are using space heaters.

Altice hearing: Mayor Rubenstein said a Board of Public Utilities hearing was held to determine whether there should be a formal investigation of Altice. Throughout the entire state, he said, there were many allegations of terrible customer service.

Timber harvest: Bonker said the town made several thousand dollars from the timber harvest by C.O. Johnson Park.

Route 206 project at Pequest: Councilwoman Franco said she, Mayor Rubenstein, and township manater Sabatini had given the New Jersey Department of Transportation input at a recent meeting to reconsider detouring Route 206 traffic through township roads.

For more about the March 6 meeting, see last week’s article “Byram’s park improvement plans begin to take shape” at

For more recreational marijuana news, see related story, “Hardyston leans toward marijuana restrictions.”