Beginning today, the Point Pleasant Police Department will have two new full-time officers in its ranks.
The Point Pleasant Borough Council on Tuesday night approved the hiring of Jeffrey C. Johnson and Ryan Barker as police officers.
The police officers will earn a starting salary of 34,944 increasing to 37,440 after the first six months, said Councilman Mitch Remig.
The hiring of the two brings the department to 30 officers, Police Chief Larry Williams said. "We're still down six officers," he said.
Johnson, 21, and Barker, 25, both took the state's civil service test in fall 2010, with Johnson scoring a 99.5 and Barker close behind, Williams said, "so they are the best candidates."
Both officers have been through the police academy, graduating in 2010, and have been working elsewhere while they waited for full-time positions, Johnson in Lakehurst part-time and Barker as a special officer in Point Beach.
"We really look forward to working with them," Williams said.
The officers, who were born and bred in the Borough, are also current residents and said working in their hometown was a priority.
"I definitely have a connection to this town," Barker said. "I look forward to being here."
Johnson, who was a Police Explorer in high school, said he has dreamed of being a police officer his whole life.
"I couldn't do a job where I was stuck sitting at a desk every day," he said. "I love just stopping and talking to people."
"As a police officer, you're not just a police officer; you're a lawyer and a doctor, and an accountant, too," he said. "I look forward to helping people."
In other business:
The council approved bond ordinances to fund three separate water and sewer projects, as well as a resolution giving notice that the borough will apply for funding through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust that is expected to cover as much as 75 percent of the cost of the largest of the three projects.
One ordinance authorized spending $210,405, bonding for $199,885 to complete work on the water tower construction at well No. 5.
A second approved spending nearly $900,000 on storm drainage improvements in the area of Powhatan Avenue.
The third authorized spending of more than $2 million on replacement of the sanitary sewer pumping station, which borough officials say has long outlived its useful life cycle.
It's the third project Business Administrator David Maffei expects will be eligible for grant funding through the infrastructure trust program. The bond ordinance passed last night "sets up a spending mechanism to charge bills," he said.
Mayor William Schroeder said when he and Maffei met with representatives from the infrastructure trust, it was as if they were selling a timeshare.
"They need applications because they have money to lend," Schroeder said.
As much as 75 percent of the cost will be covered by a no-interest loan from the state, and the borough does not have to begin paying until the work is complete.