Salerno addressed Chamber members at a breakfast meeting at the VFW Harold Daly Post 1330 and spoke directly about recent problems involving young people coming from the bars and creating a disturbance and leaving a mess when they leave town. Salerno said one way to address the problem is in the Municipal Court.
“We are working with the Judge (Daniel DiBenedetto) to increase the penalties and fines for these crimes. A $25 fine is less than a parking ticket,” Salerno said, adding that the whole range of fines is being reviewed and that changes will be proposed to the Mayor and City Council.
He also noted that some problems stem from over serving some patrons at bars.
“Businesses need to take responsibility,” he said.
Salerno also urged members of the business community to help by calling the police when they see someone causing a problem.
“Make the call, be specific and try to identify the restaurant or bar where the individual had ben drinking,” he said.
Another way the city is addressing the issue is by meeting with all the liquor license holders and reviewing the licenses. He cited the trend of expanding one license into additional spaces which attract young people who come to town to party.
Salerno said the City Council has agreed to increase the department’s overtime budget to put more police on the street during critical hours and there are overlapping shifts between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. He stressed his support for the business community, and said “I stand with you, every business owner.” He ended the talk by giving out his cell phone number and email address to increase the lines of communication.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jackie Pappas said the next breakfast meeting will be held in July, the date to be announced, and then take a break and resume in the fall.