A REGULAR WORK SESSION OF THE VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD HELD IN THE SYDNEY V. STOLDT, JR. COURT ROOM OF THE RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE HALL, 131 NORTH MAPLE AVENUE, RIDGEWOD, NEW JERSEY ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2018 AT 7:30 P.M.
- CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG SALUTE
Mayor Hache called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act. At roll call the following were present: Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache. Also present were Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney; Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; and Donna Jackson, Deputy Village Clerk.
Mayor Hache led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag as well as in a Moment of Silence to honor the brave men and women serving in our armed forces and all our first responders.
Iva Sebestyan, stated that she will be opening a retail store downtown selling certified organic skincare for men and women. Flora’s Cottage at North Broad Street below Dunkin Donuts.
- COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Kathy Noe, 623 Ellington Road, stated that she was happy to see that the Village Council decided that the residents of Ridgewood should be allowed to vote on the school budget. As Americans she thinks we have that right to vote, and she appreciated that the Council did that.
Rurik Halaby, 374 Evergreen Place, stated that he received a letter in the mail from Mayor Hache concerning the Ridgewood Estate card. He said that when it was looked at two years ago it was decided it was a joke, and unless the economics had changed he didn’t see why the Village should provide its approval for a card that does not make sense. Mr. Halaby stated that you have to buy $10,000 of product for $25 applied to your taxes. He added that it had things that were highly misleading, concerning helping with reducing tax liability. He stated that two years ago it was driven by Deputy Mayor Knudsen and he urged the Village Council to forget about it as economically it does not make sense and there is no reason for the Council to push it. He urged Mr. Rogers to look at the language used very critically.
Mr. Halaby stated that his other concern was regarding the Schedler House. He added that he loves preserving history, but he would like to see a two page write up by an independent historic authority as to why the property should be restored, what the budget is, what it will be restored and used as, and what the maintenance and operating costs will be. He stated that the Village Council was failing the people in the Village by not coming up with a plan for Schedler.
Marcia Ringel, 250 Ferris Place, stated that she sent the Village Council and Village Manager notes this week regarding impermeable surfaces. She added that the Village is about to be paving, with the garage, apartments, and at the train station. She found in her files a comment that she made in October 12, 2011 in which she asked the Council, at that time, to hold a moratorium on any new paving in any flood zone. She added that didn’t happen, and a year later was Hurricane Sandy. Ms. Ringel stated that Councilman Sedon was going to be a point person on this and suggested that an ordinance go into effect before the new Master Plan regarding the new developments and construction to research the materials that are available that could help to prevent flooding in the future.
Saurabh Dani, 390 Bedford Road, stated that a few months ago the Village Council voted to move the Board of Education elections back to April to give the vote back, and last week the BOE began discussing a resolution. He added that they will hold meetings on October 8th, in addition to two other meetings, and then take a vote. Mr. Dani stated that the Village Council should do whatever is in their power to prevent this from happening as it is the residents’ right to vote and it would be very sad if the BOE could take away residents’ vote on the budget.
Mr. Dani stated that the Management of the library was there today to present their renovation plan, and he asked if the Village Council approved this could they add a cap that if they don’t get the planned grant amount they need to reduce the plans. He stated that if they approve a certain amount of dollars and if that grant and donation money does not come through, then there should be a plan B of that project as the Village should not be guaranteeing all of that extra money. He asked that when the Village Council plans the budget of the bond work, could they revisit the platform of the library because there is a tax that residents pay and a charter for the library. Mr. Dani asked if all of these additional meeting spaces were part of the library’s original charter.
Linda Keesing, 36 Bryden Place, stated that she was speaking from the perspective of someone who spent her career in education as a school library media specialist, adding that she and her husband were regular library users. She stated that the Ridgewood Public library is truly a jewel of this community. For the vast number of programs, people of all ages come and enjoy the programs and benefit from them. Sometimes, it is hard to find a seat and definitely hard to find parking. Mr. Keesing stated that she would like them to address the needs of 2018 and for the future. There is a need for additional quiet spaces but also a definite serious need for a large number of small breakout rooms for collaborative work, classes, and training.
Ms. Keesing stated that one of the passions has been an ESL tutor through the library program. Her group of six students meets in the Teen Room away from the general library traffic and her students can concentrate. She added that it is important that her students can listen and have an uninterrupted speaking space. Many of her fellow tutors do not have that same good luck, and those students do not have the same opportunity hers do. Ms. Keesing added that the Teen Room now is not an adequate space, even though it served its purpose for some time and could benefit from being enlarged. She added that she hoped the Village Council would consider her comments as it is important that the library remains the jewel that it is.
Anne Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that she appreciated that the Village Council restored to the citizens the right to vote on proposed Board of Education budgets and she hoped that they would do whatever it could in its legal power to resist this effort by the BOE to take away the residents’ legal right to vote on this.
Victoria Hilditch, 250 Woodside Avenue, stated that as a Village resident and library employee, having lived in Ridgewood for 23 years she knows the value of the library to the community. As library employee she has been the ESL Coordinator since 2016 and she has seen the program grow from 94 students to close to 130 that represented 34 countries. She added that these are eager learners of our English language and American culture. The tutors are training 17 new tutors this year who will join the 32 returning tutors to support the students to move about the community with confidence. Ms. Hilditch added that they lack space, as the September through June program has over 100 students have registered. They offer small group tutoring, so it runs everyday throughout the library. She added that to create quiet space for these students, the library needs more space.
Ms. Hilditch stated that a number of the members of the Village Council have attended their ESL luncheon and know what a wonderful event it is with food from around the world. IT also highlights the bond between the tutor and the students and celebrating how far they have come to operating with confidence in the community. She stressed that this is one of many programs at the library and is an important one that they need the space for. They strive to reach out to the community now and in the future, adding that they hope to be able to take advantage of this grant from the New Jersey Public Libraries.
Hans Lehman, 234 Union Street, stated that he wanted to speak to the Council about communications between the residents, Village Council, and Village employees. During the Reorganization meeting in July, Councilman Sedon was quoted in The Record saying that they want to continue listening to residents and give everyone a fair shot that come before the Council and send emails. Mr. Lehman stated that didn’t work so well for him as he planned to resign from the Zoning Board on July 11th and sent an email to that effect to the Village Manager. The only response he received was from Mayor Knudsen who informed him that his resignation would be effective immediately. He stated that response was not unexpected on his part, nor was her inability to thank him for his years of service.
Mr. Lehman stated that he followed up his email with one on May 29th to both the Village Manager and the Village Council Attorney with some questions about procedure, such as why his resignation was not a matter for a vote in an open meeting, as was his appointment. He also asked how does a resident get a proper response from Council if meetings do not allow for an exchange of information. He stated that the only response he received was from the Village Labor Attorney who informed him via email, regular and certified mail that the Council was fully entitled to act as it did. Other than that response and the one from Mayor Knudsen he has never heard back from anyone to who his emails were addressed. He is under the impression that many matters are spoken about behind closed doors in closed sessions.
Mr. Lehman stated that in the spirit of the sentiment expressed by Councilman Sedon during the July meeting, he is hopeful that going forward it might be possible to have more positive encounters with Councilmembers. He suggested that perhaps the current Mayor may bring back Meet the Mayor so that residents can meet with him on Saturdays to discuss their concerns.
Linda Tarzian, 576 Highland Avenue, stated she is a 31 year resident of the Village. She added she uses the library as she started a book group twenty years ago and she is one of the very few of her members who still go to the library to borrow a book at least once a month. She likes the library as a resource and community gathering center and she would like to see more community gathering spaces. Also, she would ask the Village Council to be circumspect about additional burdens on the taxpayers. Ms. Tarzian asked that whatever needs are looked at in terms of the new plan, that it really does address the growing needs of the community, the digital age, and in terms of ESL, and not do something unnecessary. She added that most of her peers in the Orchard district have left because of the tax burden and asked that the Village Council think forward, but also about our pocketbooks as well.
Jane Shinozuka, 825 Norgate Drive, stated that she was thrilled to see Schedler on the agenda tonight. She stated that there is problem on Walnut Street between Franklin and Linwood as she was almost run off the road there. She was heading towards Franklin and someone came from the opposite direction and was driving down the middle of the street. She had to swerve so far over that she almost hit a parked car. Her hope is that a yellow line is put down the middle of that street as a visual clue. Ms. Shinozuka stated that people use it as a one way and speed down that road.
Ed Houlihan, 212 North Walnut Street, stated that 40 years ago he completed a business assignment in Australia and in an article in Ladies Home Journal, Ridgewood was one of the ten best towns to live in in the United States. For the past 20 years he has been retired and involved in a number of activities at the library. A group he is involved in, The History Book, started with 25 members, and this month they spoke about the Russian Revolution. He added that he has written several Letters to the Editor in the Ridgewood News and he has spoken about the crown jewel of the community. Mr. Houlihan stated that with this investment, the library will remain the crown jewel of Ridgewood.
Rebecca Rubenstein, 201 Woodland Avenue, stated that she supported the proposed library renovation. She currently sits on the Board of the Friends of the Ridgewood Library as Treasurer. However, she was speaking as an avid user of the library as well as a taxpayer. She frequently borrows books for herself and her two sons; they frequently attend movie screenings and events hosted by the library. Ms. Rubenstein taught ESL for four years through the library, and she has met friends and colleagues for meetings there. She is a resident that takes full advantage of this institution and feels that the library should move ahead with the times and position itself as more of a community center and not just as a repository for books.
Ms. Rubenstein stated that she feels that it not only needs refurbishment, but a larger teen room, more movie spaces, more quiet spaces and more lounging spaces. She attends so many events in the library’s auditorium and would love to see a slightly bigger space with more comfortable seating. As a taxpayer and CPA she is aware that her local taxes will soon increase due to the bonding of the new parking garage and other capital projects within the community. However, there is an incredible opportunity to receive substantial grant money from the State of New Jersey to help subsidize this renovation and she feels the need to take it.
Ms. Rubenstein stated that the library has thoughtfully honed their renovation plan over the last few years and she definitely thinks there needs to be feedback from the community and she urges residents to think with an open mind and plan for the future. She added that she is hoping with a private-public partnership the renovation will happen to make the library the best it can be. She added that the quote the play ‘Hamilton,’ “We should not throw away our shot.”
Marie Malloy, 329 Beechwood Road, stated that she has been a Ridgewood resident since 1993. She has been a longtime supporter of the library and a constant user, as her family has taken advantage of its catalog of services. She believes in the library’s commitment to our community, which is why she was speaking in support of renovating and reimagining the library. Ms. Malloy stated that the library is the perfect example of what social scientist Eric Planenburg calls social infrastructure, “the physical place shapes the way people interact.” Planenburg says social infrastructure is “crucially important because local face to face interactions are the building blocks of all public life, people forge bonds in places that have healthy social infrastructures, not because they set out to build community but because when people engage in sustained recurrent interaction, particularly while doing things they enjoy, relationships inevitably grow.”
Ms. Malloy stated that our library is so much more than a repository for just books and materials, its spaces are the face of the town that most welcomes new people and new ideas. Through its myriad program offerings, the library tells potential new residents and investors who we are as a community. It is the kind of place that protects us all from the isolation and loneliness that degrades a community. She added that no other place in town offers the opportunities to meet one another, share with one another, and learn from one another in an egalitarian and small democratic atmosphere. At a time when there is so much dividing us. Protecting our social, physical, and economic investment in the library seems especially worthy.
Ms. Malloy added that this investment isn’t cheap, however there is a window of opportunity while the state is offering these grants to manage some of the cost reasonably. The Village has the opportunity to invest in the library that will allow it to continue to be the most valuable asset to its own community. She asked that the Council considers with open minds, recognizing how crucial a vibrant public library is to protecting and enhancing all that has made Ridgewood such a wonderful place to live all these years.
Denise Lima, 319 East Glen Avenue, stated that she provided a copy of the Ridgewood Herald News from 1919 which shows what the original train station looks like. She gave pause for the family that was impacted by the tragedy that happened near the train station, adding that it brings doubt to questions about this project. She wants to make sure that the Village leadership has done the right due diligence regarding resident safety. There is an increase in accidents on the west side of the train station, with three or four this month, and Ridgewood in general has about twenty-two occurrence per year.
Ms. Lima stated that the traffic issues around the train station are not new, and in the letter to the DOT in July 2017, Former Mayor Susan Knudsen wrote a letter strongly advocating not to make Glenwood Avenue a one lane near the Ho-Ho-Kus train station. Commuters may opt to utilize the Ridgewood Train Station, an area now choked with excessive traffic. She stated that the recent traffic study of the Ridgewood train trestle indicated more than 18,000 vehicles traversing the two lane roadway daily, and the roadway has far surpassed maximum capacity.
Ms. Lima stated that with two developments going on and knowingly anticipating a new parking garage, which will both increase traffic even further, why would we continue to do this project adding thirty-eight spots that would contribute to the problem. She stated that we need to take better strides to reduce traffic, reduce drivers disobeying the law, while also improving our safety so that we can bring trust to residents that we can be a walkable town. Ms. Lima asked whether a traffic study was done that anticipates what might happen. She asked that if the Village Council had any doubts to please say no to the referendum.
Ms. Lima stated that regarding the historic value, Charles Mulford Robinson wrote about the train station and really wanted to ensure that there is a plaza there which she thinks should be maintained.
Alexander Ruhl, 322 Crest Road, stated that he wished to thank the Village Council for adding his proposed changes of Section 105-18 Poultry and Fowl to the agenda tonight. He greatly appreciates the Council’s support.
Steve Kim, 291 Highland Avenue, stated that Ridgewood High School placed number 36 in this year’s New Jersey Monthly’s Public High School rank, Glen Rock ranked second. He stated that we can do better, and asked what was causing the low rank. It is the advanced placement program, the college level subjects. Mr. Kim stated that out of the top 40 schools, Ridgewood’s AP program ranked in the bottom in terms of performance. Participation rates were also low, so it is due to the fact that people are opting out. He is not sure what the solution is, but there is a problem and someone needs to look at it. He doesn’t know if BOE is looking at it because they are busy trying to take the vote from residents.
Mr. Kim stated that SRO is a great idea, as safety is important and it is important to have a police presence at the school. He added that the library renovation is unnecessary as it didn’t make sense to him to spend that kind of money on things that aren’t going to help people to read better or improve content. He stated that it was just a vanity project, adding that there is not enough parking.
Mr. Kim stated that the parking lot expansion is something that we need, as it will probably be positive financially and makes sense. He added that the Board of Education trying to take away the vote from residents that are funding most of the school with 2/3rds of our taxes is just wrong.
Cynthia Halaby, 374 Evergreen Place, stated that she was there as the co-Founder and President of the Conservancy for Ridgewood Public Lands. As their mission is to revitalize our parks and they are very proud of the fact that that Children’s Butterfly and Sensory Garden was just gifted to the Village. She feels very strongly that the plan to pave over an historic pocket park in the interest of adding 34 parking spaces is not in the best interest of the residents of Ridgewood. Ms. Halaby stated that removing 80% of the green space, cutting down fifteen mature trees, and permanently obliterating an attractive green space will be highly detrimental to future generations and is something that can never be recreated. She asked that the Village Council put this plan on the back burner until they have the opportunity to complete a Master Parking Plan for the Village.
Ms. Halaby stated that it was a terrible legacy for this Council if they go forward with destroying what could be a gem of a park for the Village listing of green spaces. She added that the Conservancy would be happy to work with the Village to turn this green space into a park we could all be proud of.
Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that several weeks ago the Village Council voted to move the school election from November to April, and now he is completely dismayed by events that are taking place at the Board of Education. During their meeting last week, Mr. Morgan waved a proposed resolution where he proposes that the election be moved back to November. They are going to hold four public comment sessions about it, but it appears as though they have every intent on doing whatever they can to move the election back to November. Mr. Loving urged the Village Council to consult with it’s legal counsel and take whatever legal steps they possibly can to prevent that from happening. It is absurd to him that the BOE wants to remove the opportunity for those of us who are taxpayers to vote on the school budget. One of the reasons they want it moved from April is that the April election is scheduled to take place in the middle of a school vacation. He added that it is as though they have never heard of an absentee ballot. Mr. Loving urged the Council to do whatever they could to stop this from happening.
Diane Palacios, 342 North Van Dien Avenue, stated that Twinney’s Pond is completely clogged with mud in addition to plants. The invasive Japanese weed can be taken away but the mud is a different problem so the egrets and heron no longer visit and there is no opportunity for the tadpoles. She stated that she knows that there is a lot for the Village Council to pay for, but if it could possibly be added to the list.
Mayor Hache stated that regarding the Estate card, the base reward on the card is 0.25%, but what is really interesting is the 10% to 20% rewards that you can get from local merchants. The purpose of this card was to encourage residents to shop small and shop local, and these are purchases that individuals would make anyway. For a $100 purchase, the merchant will credit $10 to your tax account at Village Hall.
Mayor Hache stated that at the next meeting the Village Council will get into the use, cost, historic significance, and proposed maintenance costs.
Mayor Hache stated that there was a suggestion from Mr. Lehman about Meet the Mayor, and he has been thinking about it as they recently had Meet the Council, and he would like to institute that.
- Budget – Ridgewood Public Library Renovation
Nancy Green, Library Director, introduced herself and stated that Gail Campbell, President of the Library Board of Trustees, and Consultant Leslie Burger were present as well. Ms. Burger thanked the Village Council for allowing them to speak before the Council this evening and to provide some information about what they have been doing as they think how best to reimagine the Ridgewood Public Library. She has been working with the library on and off for at least ten years. The name of her company is Library Development Solutions and she has been doing this kind of work since 1991. Ms. Burger stated that she has many years of experience as a consultant and also spent sixteen years as the Director of the Princeton Public Library in Central New Jersey. She has worked with over 150 libraries in her consulting practice, mostly public libraries, and a lot of their work has focused on strategic planning and to help libraries position themselves within the community and remain relevant well into the future. Several years ago she also served as President of the American Library Association, which is the oldest and largest library association in the world.
Ms. Burger stated that libraries are very much in the news, and shared with the Village Council some recent headlines from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and an article on CNN regarding an article from Forbes that “blew up the internet.” She felt that these articles displayed what libraries are doing now and are more relevant than ever before.
Ms. Green stated that a lot of people come to the library and say that nothing is wrong, why reimagine it as it was just renovated. It has been 20 years since the last renovation, when it was closed for nine months in the fall of 1998. Since then, the Ridgewood Public Library has had more than 6 million individuals utilize the library services. She stated that the library is not any longer the state of the art facility that it was. In the first five years that it opened people came from all over the State to see the library. Ms. Green stated that the Children’s Area is wonderful but the Teen Room is a windowless cramped room which they feel needs to support the young adult population with a renovation.
Ms. Green added that another major reason for the renovation is that that the State of New Jersey has set aside by public vote $125 million to renovate public libraries in the State and that money has not been available for twenty years, so there won’t be another wave of money that is available for this generation. She stated that when the State puts out their guidelines in early 2019, they want to be ready with a plan.
Ms. Burger stated that she feels that the idea of reimagination is very powerful, and added that they heard from a few of the audience members here this evening who spoke about how they use the library and she was quite taken with the remarks about the ESL tutoring and the opportunity that program provides to those who may not have any other opportunity for that service. She added that if you take that story and multiply it many times it begins to paint the picture of what libraries are like in the 21st century. Ms. Burger added that they are about books, music, and movies but also about serving the community, providing meeting space, and accommodating people of all ages and helping people succeed in their lives. She stated that they also have to consider the opportunity cost of not reimagining the library. There is the possibility that in this community the library becomes irrelevant, loses its best in class designation, may no longer be supporting the education needs of the children enrolled in the school system, and they have heard stories from realtors that people make decisions about whether or not to move into town by not only the schools but the libraries as well.
Ms. Burger stated that with the Ridgewood Public Library was renovated in 1998 there was no such things as an iPhone or iPad. Digital content was just becoming available at a very steep cost. The library was focused mainly on print and just a hint of some of the new formats. iPhones and smart phones meant that suddenly we had all this information right in our pocket, which changed the way all of us seek and find information. This has also changed the way that people use libraries. Ms. Burger stated that it has increased the role of libraries as a place to go to find out how to best get that information, search intelligently, and use the device. The shift from analog to digital has actually increased library use. The other great thing that has happened is that the cost of procuring digital content has become much more affordable, creating a 24/7 library for customers. This continuing shift means that libraries have to change, as there is just not enough power to plug in all of these devices that people bring in every day. Ms. Burger stated that this project was all about how to reimagine our library to service Ridgewood residents both now and into the future.
Ms. Campbell stated that they have been involved in the project planning process for at least sixty months. Before they even began thinking about a renovation they created the 2013-2018 strategic plan which helped them think about the future in a structured way and informed their thinking about the changing role of the Ridgewood Public Library in the community. As a result, they have increased their public programming efforts and engaged customers in new ways. The plan was followed by a 2014 facility assessment that identified the shortcomings with the existing space; that study led to a building program with suggestions for repurposing and reimagining the library.
Ms. Campbell stated that while all of this was going on the library rebalanced their print and digital collections and repurposed newly found space for different purposes. They have been unable to keep up with the demand for additional seating, quiet study, collaboration space, and meeting rooms. They considered an interior design solution but quickly realized those wouldn’t address the community’s needs. Ms. Campbell stated that they reached out to the community with an online survey and through focus groups to learn more about what they expected from the library. She added that they looked at peer libraries to see what they have done and how they have navigated change. The library hired an architect to conduct a feasibility study based on staff and customer feedback, building best practices, and creating a concept plan to reimagine the Ridgewood Public Library.
Ms. Green stated that in 2017 the library promoted a survey and focus groups to all residents through the Ridgewood Library’s Town wide Newsletter which is sent to every address in town, regarding how people like to use the library and how they would like to see the library change in order to be more valuable to them and their family. There was a 6% return rate on the survey, and the focus groups were for parents with young children, adults, and teens. Ms. Green stated that the word cloud captured the most frequent responses to the survey, and people wanted more places to meet, comfortable seating, larger area for young adults, more programs, improved auditorium, pleasant adult reading areas, makerspace, more light downstairs, automated checkout and returns, and improved mezzanine.
Ms. Green stated that the usage of the library has changed, and since 1999 the usage has gone up 71% with people who come to borrow books, attend programs, and also people who come to stay in the library to read, study, or write. She stated that if you want to improve yourself physically you go to the gym, if you want to improve your mind you go to the library. The programs that the library offers are enormously popular, and the children’s programs are so popular that they only permit Ridgewood residents to sign up. Ms. Green stated that there are book groups, discussion groups, TED talks, genealogy consultations, ESL, and technology classes. They used to have technology classes where you would come in and sit at a computer and they would teach you how to use Word, but now they find that people come in having trouble with their own devices. There are tech labs where people can come in with any kind of technological equipment and the staff will help them figure out how to use it. She added that they do a lot of work with people who are jobhunters, teaching the whole Microsoft Office suite, and there are special networking programs and resume building. Ms. Green stated that use of library materials is up by 75% since 1999, which now includes DVDs and books on CD, and also streaming services and downloadables.
Ms. Campbell stated that after listening to the community, the Board of Trustees engaged Peter Gisolfi and Associates in 2015 to develop a concept plan for reimagining the library. She added that Mr. Gisolfi and his team worked closely with the library staff and trustees to develop an architectural concept plan that addressed deficiencies in the library and integrated community suggestions. This was an extremely deliberative process that enabled them to review and improve on each set of plans until all agreed that the plans will meet the needs of the community for years to come. Ms. Campbell stated that they engaged Leslie Burger in February 2018 to help the library refine the plans, secure cost estimates, and guide them in the next steps.
Ms. Burger stated that the NJ Public Library Construction Grant was voted on in the General Election in 2017. This is the first time there has been money for public library construction since 2000. The guidelines and regulations are still being drafted, but they know that the intent is to support up to 50% of the project construction cost. She stated that the community must match the state grant award with 50% local funds and that can be a combination of public and private funding. The state must be assured that the funding will be available at the time that construction begins. Ms. Burger stated that they don’t expect to see anything in writing until winter 2019, which is actually good news because it gives the library time to continue refining their plans.
Ms. Green stated that they anticipate a construction cost of about $6 million, which has been verified by two different cost estimators. On top of that they are estimating about $1.7 million in soft costs, which includes a contingency of 20%, a 5% financing cost, and 3% for escalation. Additionally, they have already started their private fundraising with the Ridgewood Library Capital Campaign pledging $250,000 already. The Library Board of Trustees last night voted to reduce the reserves and pledge $100,000. Ms. Green stated that she hopes that the Village will continue its investment in the library and pledge $2 million. The library will pledge $2 million raised through a capital campaign. She asked that the Village bond a maximum amount of $4 million, with at least $2 million reimbursed by the library from the capital campaign.
Ms. Green stated that the plan will offer something for every resident in the community. This is primarily an interior reorganization and they hope to square off the interior of the auditorium to add another 40 seats and much needed storage. They plan to increase the size of the teen room and relocate it in a larger, brighter area right next to a maker space lab to explore new technologies. In the auditorium there will be much more comfortable seating, and they would like to add a stage curtain. Ms. Green stated that they would like to add a central stairway between levels one and two of the library which would be an invitation to the upstairs adult services and bring a more open feeling into the dim circulation area. She added that the staff would no longer be anchored behind large desks, with smaller desks so the public can work with staff shoulder to shoulder.
Ms. Green stated that they would add to their quiet study space by expanding the Bolger Heritage Center and they would have five new study rooms on the mezzanine. They would move the magazine lounge upstairs to a brighter, more spacious area, and add a news room that would be comfortable to lounge. She added that they would rearrange their 20,000 non-fiction book collection for easy browsing and would add climate controlled storage for the local history and genealogy collections. They would like to upgrade to LED lighting, and the entire library with new carpet, paint, and furnishings.
Ms. Burger stated that the concept plan drawings and layouts reinforce what Ms. Green said before. When walking through the library, you see space that feels much brighter and there is a central stairway which serves to create a better connection between the lower level and the second floor and mezzanine levels. This gives people an opportunity to sit and enjoy resources in that space. She added that by taking down the hanging fixtures and adding LED lights, they would bring more light into this level. At the top of the second floor there are new skylights added that bring natural light into that stairwell which will filter down to the bottom level. Ms. Burger stated that the mezzanine becomes transparent and there is a wall of books that extends all the way up to the mezzanine. She added that there are a lot of study spaces and places for people to spread out.
Ms. Burger displayed a color coded floor plan, she drew attention to the meeting room spaces on the lower level, the enlarged auditorium, a small arts room, the makerspace, and teen space locations. The existing teen room is so small and airless that the teens gravitate to the children’s center after school so that will free up some of the space to be used for more age appropriate uses. She added that they added collaborative spaces for the staff to be grouped together so they can have an efficient workspace while gaining more public space for community residents. Ms. Burger stated that there is a lot of variety of seating on the second level, with the Bolger Heritage Center being enlarged for dedicated quiet study. There is also a conference center, and the whole public space has been reoriented with lower shelves, a better collection arrangement, better seating variety, and more power everywhere. She added that there would be a refreshed lobby coming in from the Maple Avenue side. There will also be five transparent study rooms on the mezzanine level seating two to four people.
Ms. Burger stated that this is a fluid plan and they are pretty close to addressing everything that people told them that they wanted. The next step is to go to design and development which creates a refined plan and allows them to hone in on the cost and make sure that they remain on budget or find ways to reduce the budget.
Ms. Green stated that what they were presenting tonight is a concept that is a beginning talking place between the library and the Village Council and the community about what plan will give the best possible library service to our residents. They plan to have an interactive process with the public, and the first public meeting will be Saturday, October 6th at the library from 10:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. They invite anyone who is interested to come and give feedback and suggestions on the concept. Once they have a good sense, they will submit a letter of intent to the New Jersey State Library and will quietly launch a capital campaign. Ms. Burger has some experience with capital campaigns, as does Ms. Green. She added that when they did their past project they raised $1.9 million, and after the cost they delivered $1.7 million to the Village of Ridgewood towards the project costs. The hope is that this spring they can submit a grant application with non-binding support from the local funders.
Ms. Green stated that they think that in the summer of 2019 is the soonest that a grant award would be announced. After that announcement, the libraries that have been selected would have three months to get binding resolutions for their funding. In the fall, they would be issuing a request for construction bids and possibly January 2020 begin construction that they estimate would take six to nine months. Ms. Green stated that during the planned construction they plan to remain open. During the last renovation they had to close to do asbestos abatement. They feel that with this project they will be able to keep the children’s department and auditorium open. In the auditorium they would provide computers, chairs, and daily newspapers. There would be occasional scheduled closings, and the residents would be able to borrow from all libraries as they can now, and they would be able to download materials from the website as they can now. Ms. Green stated that staff would be on-site and at nearby libraries. Half a million volumes are handled in and out per year, and that use is going to end up in libraries that are contiguous to Ridgewood, so there will be staff there to help give service to Ridgewood residents.
Ms. Burger stated that they were open for questions and invited everyone to attend their forum, as it is a very fluid plan at this point and they want to make sure that they stay within budget but they have room to adapt and make changes if there is something that they have missed. Ms. Green stated that they were not asking for Village Council approval this evening, but rather to provide information.
Councilman Sedon stated that he understood the need to renovate the building, but added that he was concerned about the price. He stated that the parking garage would be funded through parking rates, but the schools may be looking for a bond referendum that would be on the backs of the taxpayers, budgets go up, but there is also another budget that directly impacts the taxpayers. Unfortunately, a lot of the grant is unknown right now, so he would hate to see them go down the road with an ambitious plan, spend money on designs, and then find out that not a lot of funding was there and taxpayers would have to come up with more. Ms. Burger stated that he was correct, and they were not spending any more on design and development until they knew that the funding was available and there was support from the Village Council. Ms. Green stated that a lot of the plan has been added as Add/Alternate so if they need to cut back and recapture some funding they can consider eliminating some of those items. Councilman Sedon stated that it was a good way to begin the conversation and it would help direct and guide them and the Council.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that ESL is her favorite program at the library and it is so incredible what they do. She stated that the slide presentation that was done was a little different than the slide packets that were sent out. She asked about parking and whether they were adding so much that it becomes a parking nightmare. On the materials that the Council was sent over the weekend, the current seating is 373 and going up to 510 seats. She added that over the years they have had many conversations to try to make parking less difficult for library patrons so she wanted to understand better that if they were to embark on this how would they accommodate those parking needs. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that there is baseball, soccer, fall ball, court, Planning Board, and there are so many competing entities how would they handle that.
Ms. Green stated that they haven’t discussed parking among themselves, as the same situation is there as it was years ago. There are many empty spaces on the other side of the field and everyone parks here at this lot with no clear signage that directs people for sporting events to park over at the other lot. She suggested that there was enough parking on the municipal campus to satisfy the need, but they were all clustered behind the library and the lot on the other side of the field is less used. Ms. Burger stated that as the project moves ahead they can see if it would be worth enlisting a parking consultant as they may have a way of looking at things and creating better access and egress and getting people into satellite lots. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that based on the projections of 1998 usage, currently, and the future planned seating could create a parking nightmare. She asked if the increase in the number of seats in the auditorium was based on the number of seats in the center aisle because her recollection was that adjusting the corner did not add that many seats and she noticed there was a change in the layout. She asked if they could add some of those seats merely by adding the same seats that they are depicting in the plan provided earlier to this plan that was presented tonight.
Ms. Green stated that there is a lot of grey area in the back designated for storage, they may be able to recapture some of that and increase the seating load. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that with the price tag in mind she would say see where things can be tweaked, scaled back, and come back with something that’s a little more doable, being cognizant of the competing interest for the tax dollars. Ms. Green stated that she would do the counts on the seating and get back to her.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that what Ms. Burger said that the library may possibly no longer be relevant if it is not reimagined was a pretty big statement. She wondered if they have by far, even in its current state, one of the best libraries around anywhere, and how then could it be that this particular library may possibly become irrelevant without this investment. Ms. Burger stated that we have to be cognizant of what is going on around us, as the Paramus Library was just renovated and they are getting some positive response to that as new attracts interest. She suggested that some Ridgewood patrons may be lost to other libraries that are investing in their buildings. Maplewood is also planning renovations, and people may say it is easier to order the book on Amazon. She stated that she thinks about it as refreshing space and you can scale that back or reimagine, whether or not you are planning a big renovation like this project or do something that makes people feel that you are doing something for their comfort or to update the space. Ms. Burger suggested that the growth that has been seen over the last 20 years in terms of patrons will probably taper off without the renovations. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she was wondering if it could be scaled back. Ms. Burger stated that there are all kinds of opportunities and there are some pretty healthy contingencies in the budget which can’t be released until they get closer to knowing what the final design is but she feels pretty confident that they won’t need all of that money.
Councilman Voigt stated that he was on the Library Board of Trustees for two years, and he was impressed with what they do, and the commitment by the number of people that came to the meeting tonight makes him feel good about the library. He moved here 25 years ago because of the schools, central business district, and the library. He stated that it would be nice to be able to frame for the community what was Best in Class in 1999 and what will be Best in Class moving forward. He added that they were asking for a $4 million bond from the Village, and as it relates to that he suggested that they think about how quickly they can pay back the $2 million and from a taxpayer standpoint how much is it going to cost per household, if anything at all. Councilman Voigt added that would be nice to understand and would help frame it for the residents.
Councilman Voigt stated that raising $2 million from the community with $350,000 in the bank, he expected they would try to get 50% before announcing the capital campaign. He asked how big donors were feeling about this project, as it is a tall order to get that amount of money. He stated that the timeframe for the fundraising and how quickly that could be done would help immensely with being able to fund this. He also added that he understood Councilwoman Knudsen’s concerns about the parking and suggested that they come up with creative ways for people to park remotely. Councilman Voigt added that they should be highlighting their employees, what they are doing now, and what kind of people would be in the library from a human resources standpoint. He added that how would they benchmark from a community standpoint but also from a State standpoint, and how do they want to be perceived. They need to understand how they benchmark versus the other communities that are out there as they have been Best in Bergen County for a number of years.
Councilman Voigt stated that they want to raise $4 million from the State, and the State has $125 million, and asked how realistic that amount of money was to get. He added that was a lot of money compared to what other libraries in municipalities might be asking for. Ms. Burger stated that they have a good sense of the competition, adding that Maplewood is the largest project they are aware of with a $22 million project with a $10 million to $12 million commitment from the town, so they are looking for about $10 million from the State grant. She added that Montclair has an ambitious project at $18.5 million. She thinks a lot of the other projects are smaller because there are three categories of money; renovation and new construction, infrastructure improvements, and ADA compliance and accessibility improvements. They are not yet sure how the money will be divided among those categories.
Councilman Voigt added that the library should highlight their volunteers, as Ed Houlihan does a lot from a foreign affairs standpoint, and people like that are immensely helpful in the fundraising as well. He stated that the Friends of the Library and the Library Foundation do tremendous things for the library so he thanks them as well.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she is the new liaison for the library so she wanted to hear what her colleagues had to say so that she could maybe address some of their questions and think of some new questions to ask. She echoed Councilman Voigt’s statement regarding all of the individuals and their dedication to the library. As the liaison, she has attended two meetings, and she appreciated all of the time and effort that they have put into the presentation. She stated that they have to figure out how the Council as fiduciaries of all this money make sure that all of the projects can be handled in a fair manner, but also so that they are projects that will be everlasting.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she moved to Ridgewood in 1997, and she was using the library to get acquainted with the Village, but then in the programming section they were in Storytime in the tower. Most of the people that she met in Ridgewood, and friends to this day, met at Storytime which is really a place for people to meet face to face. She added that when she got to the meeting last night, the area near the staff desks was filled with teenagers, so it was vibrant with school in session. Councilwoman Walsh added that it does compliment the new space at the high school, as a lot of those students come down to the library to study. She stated that as they said it is once in a generation that these funds come available, and the funds are there for those that want to actively try and get them.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she thinks that they do have the time to let the library do their thing and start raising some of the money and the Village match maybe isn’t that much. They need to consider the $4 million that they can get from the State if that indeed is how much they can get and make the library a better place. Ms. Green stated that she totally agrees with Councilwoman Walsh. To her it is important to go after that State money and get the grant as she would hate to see that opportunity missed.
Mayor Hache stated that he tutored Spanish at the library when he was in high school. He added that he met with Ms. Green a few weeks ago and he was happy to see that the points he raised were addressed in the presentation. He pointed out that the thought that went into this project was tremendous. In terms of not having an upgrade, and the way that it related to education is more like dog years rather than twenty years. One of the things that he saw in the presentation was when they mentioned that the number of visitors has increased from 1999 to 2017 by a tremendous amount. Mayor Hache asked why they think that attendance has increased, and if the teens at the library was something specific to Ridgewood or was it a new trend. Ms. Green stated that a big part of the reason that the usage is up so much is due to programming. They produce more public programming than any other municipal library’s in the State of New Jersey.
Mayor Hache stated that they mentioned in 1998 the renovations were before the smart phone, and added that it was difficult to compete with a phone. He asked how the library competes with the smart phone. Ms. Burger stated that they are not trying to compete against the phone, as the way in which they thought about libraries in the past is that the reference librarian is used, but that service has been greatly diminished and a lot has been moved to digital. She added that people are coming because they are looking for that common space, and the lasting impact of the 2008 downturn was that many people never went back to work in the office, and became entrepreneurs who look for spaces to work such as the public library. Ms. Burger stated that they are seeing that people who may have never considered the library before are coming for different reasons, and the phone has brought many people back for different reasons.
Mayor Hache stated that in a Radio Shack ad it had all of the things that were replaced by the phone, but what he was hearing from Ms. Burger is that it is really for the experience, adding that this goes along with retail and experiential retail. He added that they reference the article about Amazon replacing libraries, and asked if there was a way to take the fight to Amazon. He asked if there was any thought as an additional revenue generator to have a section of recent books or bestsellers that can be sold as a way to raise revenue. Ms. Burger stated absolutely, adding that it can be partnership with a local bookstore that is looking for shared programming and also an opportunity to sell in another location.
Mayor Hache stated that regarding the numbers and what the cost is per household. Assuming that no money is raised, it is about $1,000 per household. One of the things that he likes in the projections is that they are taking a conservative reserve for contingencies. He suggested that they stretch the goal line for the capital campaign as we have a very generous community at times, and if they can get beyond that assuming that they don’t get the matching grant, he would suggest that they set the eye on the prize and try to raise even more money. Ms. Burger stated that $2 million is a very modest goal and she thinks that they have great potential here.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked about program attendance, and from 1999 to 2017 she wondered what the increase in actual programming was, and if the increase in participation correlated to that increase in programming. Ms. Green stated that it did correlate. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she would be interested to know the numbers and if it correlated to program offerings. Ms. Green stated that they provided what the BCCLS system provided in terms of downloads to the Village Council and had additional flyers with them as well.
- Policy – NV5 – Master Plan Visioning Process
Neil Desai introduced himself and stated that he was a Community Planner, and has been working in this field for fourteen years. He thanked Councilwoman Knudsen who is part of the Master Plan Subcommittee which he has been working with to start launching “Our Village, Our Future” at www.VisionRidgewood.org. He invited everyone to visit the website and sign up to receive updates. The Master Plan for the Village has not been significantly updated since the 1960’s and a lot has changed since then.
Mr. Desai stated that his company NV5 used to be the RBA Group, which has done a lot of work for Ridgewood and Bergen County, adding that they now have a larger presence. He personally works for the public sector. He stated that the purpose of this project is to implement a community vision process that reaches out to a broad range of Ridgewood residents and other stakeholders and encourage us to think about and discuss the values, principles, goals, and priorities that should shape the future of Ridgewood. Mr. Desai added that an important part of visioning is looking at how to start thinking about things together, such as parking, the library, and expansion.
Mr. Desai stated that this is a campaign, so they want to grow the awareness of this process the best way they can by promoting it widely. He shared examples from other places to get the message out about an initiative, through social media, media coverage, posters, business cards, and these would be unveiled in the next weeks and months. Mr. Desai stated that providing tools for other people was important, as there is an energy in the Village that he hasn’t experienced anyplace else. He stated that they wanted to build relationships with local organizations to promote “Our Vision, Our Future” so that they can promote to their constituency. They want to give people options, through surveys, and other ways that people are comfortable proving input.
Mr. Desai stated that the website has a place called “Your Vision” where you can share ideas for the future of Ridgewood as they would like to hear from as many people as possible. There are a lot of festivals and events in Ridgewood, so they are going to have a presence at some of these as well as help from a group of facilitators to help promote input at events. Soliciting constructive input by asking for ideas to bring out the best of your thinking ahead and for the future of Ridgewood. He provided examples of engagement, such as in public places, podcasts, video interviews, tables, and reaching out to the harder to reach, such as high school students, is something that they will do. Mr. Desai stated that they are trying to get contacts with students at the high school, and those who aren’t usually as involved in these types of processes.
Mr. Desai stated that one of the outcomes of the process is confidence, both for him as a planner but also for residents, that they are providing enough ideas, representation, facts, visualizations, and then the actual vision plan itself which will feed into the Master Planning process. He added that if there is anyone that has questions or if there is an organization that would like to be involved, to reach out through the website. He stated that he wanted to know what topics people tend to gravitate towards, what Village Council would like to see, and if they had any questions about the process that has been designed for Ridgewood.
Councilman Sedon stated that he has involvement with the environmental groups. So, the push is for sustainability, different types of impervious surfaces, trees, and green space, that would be a big part of the Master Plan if that is what people wanted. It does seem to be very popular today and it is very forward thinking. His committees would be happy to have Mr. Desai or anyone else come and talk about this. Mr. Desai stated that the committees are something that they have included, as they have the pulse on certain issues and he would like to engage them in the process.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she is on the Chamber of Commerce and Library Committees, and previously she was on Citizens Safety. She added that they hear the residents daily, being on these committees and they listen to what the residents say. She stated that regarding everyone’s vision, Mr. Desai is going to get a lot of information, and she is glad that this process is organized and moving forward because all of the great ideas need to be refined and it will be a huge step. Councilman Voigt added that putting those ideas together would be good too.
Councilman Voigt asked how Mr. Desai would know whether the data he gets is skewed or not, such as whether he was talking to the right people or just those who are the most vocal. Mr. Desai stated that the key factors are reaching people where they are, such as community events to capture those people that don’t necessarily come to meetings or maybe haven’t been engaged before. The second thing is the in person workshops where people who like going to meetings attend. He added that covering a whole range allows people to provide some sort of input, in person, meeting at events, surveys, and those who are harder to reach which in his case is high school students. Mr. Desai added that in the promotions, they throw out a broad brush and start to reach out and get them to help promote while getting to know the Village as well themselves.
Mr. Desai stated that it is hard to skew the results because there are so many different ways of getting input that it is qualitative and quantitative, and you start to see trends emerge. He wants to see a higher return rate on the surveys so they can have some kind of quantitative as well as qualitative sense to see the amount of the population that is responding.
Councilman Voigt asked what happens if Mr. Desai doesn’t believe what they get back, or if it doesn’t make sense. Councilman provided an example of someone wanting fast food locations in the downtown. Mr. Desai stated that the way you frame questions makes a difference, such as starting with principles to get people away from a very focused thing.
Mayor Hache stated that he wanted to ask how much Mr. Desai trusts the sampling, and if he thinks that he is getting a true representation of the vision from the collective community is. He added that the other challenge is trying to look at it from the perspective of those writing the Master Plan in the 1960s and not really thinking about greener initiatives, or traffic and pedestrian safety, which are important topics now. The challenge is addressing the needs of today and what is relevant but also keeping the eye enough in the future where you are predicting some of the trends. Mayor Hache asked what some of the trends were that Mr. Desai is including that could be important thirty to forty years from now. Mr. Desai stated that the first couple of months of work is their own discovery where they learn more about the Village, and he thinks they would put that in context of what it happening in a lot of towns where there is access to the cities. When they have a visioning workshop they start with the big picture context of what is impacting the Village today, such as train ridership and driving patterns. That packaging in the beginning is important to give context, to track trends and technology into the future.
Mayor Hache stated that talking to different people, they would get a assorted list of things the people would like to see, and he asked whether that gets matched up to a realistic list of what can get done. Mr. Desai stated that they would definitely get people who want specific requests and they try to step back because this is not the Master Plan, but a visioning process and they start at values, goals, and priorities, which are not specific to a project with a cost associated to it. Mr. Desai added that people wouldn’t necessarily be asked for a wish list but rather being asked to think more broadly beyond that.
Mayor Hache asked in terms of the community outreach when that could be expected to start and how often it would take place. Mr. Desai stated that they launched officially September 18th at the Planning Board meeting, and all the techniques and tools they put into a calendar with all the different pieces they have done so far is all planned by the Master Plan Sub-Committee. In the next few weeks, there will be more visible representation, such as posters and business cards. He added that in October, residents would start to see more visible representations, and on the website they will create lists to engage those who haven’t signed up for the websites. Mr. Desai stated that they would have a Village-wide survey in late October or November. In the meantime they will schedule a series of events and then have facilitators locally, so they can take the outreach tools to various organizations or events and bring back the information to him.
Mayor Hache suggested that they create a sign up sheet for those attending the meeting today. Mr. Desai added that they could go to the website and sign up, as well.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they have devised a variety of platforms to get the message out and gather information through social media, emails, hard copy, or outreach. The Master Plan Sub-Committee has devised opportunities to get as much feedback as possible so that a tainted process becomes nearly impossible because they are allowing the opportunity for a 35% feedback from our residents. She added that Mr. Desai was discussing upcoming events such as Oktoberfest, and Conversancy for Public Lands, and interests such as stormwater drainage. Some of the information that Mr. Desai is gathering from Age Friendly Ridgewood is going up on the website. Councilwoman Knudsen added that there is a good deal of information on the website so you can understand the process and how it works.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked whether Mr. Desai could install a sign up for facilitators, and to email her that they are interested in becoming a facilitator so they can be assigned a corner of the Village to meet and greet residents and gather as much information as possible. She added that the website is VisionRidgewood.org and encouraged everyone to sign up and keep checking back for updates.
- Award Professional Services Contract – Historic Architect – Zabriskie-Schedler House – Phase 2
Ms. Mailander stated that Margaret Hickey of Connelly & Hickey Historical Architects of Cranford is assisting the Village with Phase II of the exterior restoration and interior rehabilitation of the Zabriskie-Schedler house. The restoration and rehabilitation work of this project is funded jointly through the Bergen County Historic Preservation Trust Fund and the Village of Ridgewood. They will deliver professional services including Documentation and Design Development; Contract Documents, Technical Proposal, Pre-Construction – bidding; Contract & Administration Services.
They expect to complete plans and authorization for Phase II by November 15th, with bidding expected to begin December 1st. Awarding construction contracts January 20th and construction beginning approximately February 1st, and completed by the end of September 2019.
Ms. Mailander stated that through a thorough investigation, additional asbestos was detected in the plaster of the interior walls. This finding has caused an increase of $8,400 in the Design and Construction monitoring of the asbestos abatement. The total cost is $48,900.
- Authorize Change Order for Village Hall HVAC Project
Ms. Mailander stated that on August 8th the Village Council approved a contract for HVAC repair work at Village Hall. At this time, an additional $26,500 is required for emergency repair to the HVAC system. A few weeks ago Village Hall had to be closed at noon because there was failure of a compressor, so that is the price to replace the failing unit in the compressor, as well as the three other compressors. This increases the initial contract to $277,900.
- Smoking Ordinance
Ms. Mailander stated that the ordinance to amend Chapter 244 of the Village Code entitled “Smoking,” this will create a new article entitled “Tobacco Shops, Cannabis Shops, and Electronic Vapor Substance Inhalation Shop.”
Mr. Rogers stated that this is a fairly involved ordinance that deals with a number of issues that are becoming of concern to our schools, town, community and the State in general. It regulates the use of electronic vapor shops and the products that are used with regard to inhalation of electronic vapor substances. It also regulates and prevents cannabis shops and prohibits any cannabis shops or the sale, retail, distribution, wholesale, or any type of transfer of cannabis in the Village of Ridgewood. It does not regulate in any way or comment on anybody’s privileges or rights in terms of medicinal marijuana.
Mr. Rogers stated that this is in advance of the State position with regard to possibly legalizing marijuana or decriminalizing certain aspects of it. He stated that depending on which way the State goes, this covers both of them in that regard. He added that since inhalation devices and electronic smoking is permitted in the State of New Jersey you can’t outright decidedly prevent and prohibit any of those uses in the town, you have to try to designate somewhere that type of a use can be found. There are already some that are existing in this town, but they have looked at this and it has to be sent to the Planning Board for review. This was looked at as setting up guidelines for where future tobacco shops can be located, with restrictions to where they can go. Keeping them away from schools, residences, other such shops, and houses of worship.
Mr. Rogers stated that it is extensive and properly addresses a number of the issues that the Village is facing. In the summer, they adopted an ordinance that prohibited the use of electronic vaping substances on public properties and parks, and this is the next step to go a little bit further.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the Planning Board meeting next week is cancelled, and their next meeting is October 16th.
Councilman Sedon asked whether this outlaws cannabis going forward. Mr. Rogers stated that this prohibits any type of a cannabis wholesaler, retailer, shop or distributor. He went on to read a portion of the ordinance. Councilman Sedon stated that if someone had an electronic vapor substance inhalation shop and they try to say that there is an extract that is cannabis, could they say that it isn’t a cannabis shop but they have a section there. Mr. Rogers stated that this ordinance prevents the sale or anything like that, including cannabis oil and gummy drops or any form whatsoever.
- Execution of Memorandum of Understanding – Stream Clearing at Kings Pond
Ms. Mailander stated that in July she was at a Managers/Administrators meeting and the speaker was County Executive, Jim Tedesco, who was the former Mayor of Paramus and is proactive in wanting to help municipalities. After the meeting, she sent him an email regarding the de-silting and de-snagging of Kings Pond because this is something they want to do in conjunction with the improvements. He passed this along to his Chief of Staff who contacted the DPW, and they have decided that this would be a good project. The County will use their equipment and operators to take the silt out of Kings Pond then leave it to de-water. The Village would then get rid of the de-watered substance and apply for all NJDEP permits.
Ms. Mailander stated that this may not be done until the Spring due to the DPW schedule and it takes a while to get the permits from the NJDEP.
- Approval of Human Resources Manual
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village of Ridgewood is a member of the Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund and has adopted the MEL’s model employment practices risk control program and are eligible for lower deductibles. Members with updated loss control programs receive the standard EPL deductible of $20,000 per claim plus a 20% co-pay capped at $50,000 and may be eligible to buy down deductibles and co-insurance caps.
Ms. Mailander stated that there are various changes to the Human Resources Manual, every two years. The changes this year include protections against discrimination and accommodation for breastfeeding employees, changes to communication and social media policy, there are a lot of things within this and includes no personal use of emails or social media, no bullying or harassing. You can’t install or modify any hardware, anything sent must be approved by the Village Manager. Only those who use social media as part of their job can use social media. If a Village employee identifies themselves as a Village employee on their social media there is required to be a disclaimer. There is also a change to personnel members in closed session and also a small change for non-exempt employees that they are paid time and a half over forty hours which is already in the contracts.
The labor attorney has reviewed and approved this already. Ms. Mailander stated that management staff would have harassment training, and online training for the rest of the staff concerning harassment. These programs must be updated every two years to remain eligible.
- SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETING - SEE SEPARATE MINUTES
Mayor Hache called for a motion to adjourn, there was a motion by Councilwoman Walsh to adjourn the special public meeting and reconvene the Work Session. Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.
Roll Call Vote
AYES: Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache
- Ridgewood Water
- Award Contract – Carr GAC Treatment System
Ms. Mailander stated that Ridgewood Water had this designed and went out for bid. One bid was received from Coppola Services, Inc. of Ringwood in the amount of $2,774,890. This is the second time that they went out to bid for this project, as the first time no bids were received. This bid has been reviewed by Arcadis, the Engineering firm for this project, which was found to be acceptable and below their cost estimate. The funds are available in the water account.
Ms. Mailander stated that this was four steel vessels with granular activated carbon that will filter the contaminants from the water. The Carr facility has a maximum output of 1,000 gallons per minute or 1.44 million gallons per day, so once this is completed there will be that much more water in the system.
- Award Change Order #2 – Distribution Improvements and Lakeview Extension Study
Ms. Mailander stated that on May 25, 2016 there were proposals accepted for this project. There was an evaluation for water main replacement or cleaning and lining in two locations; on Beechwood Road in Ridgewood and on Linwood and Myrtle Avenues in Midland Park. The existing old water mains were causing dirty water in the distribution system. They were also evaluated for fire flow. Suburban is the consulting design engineer of record who is performing a part time construction inspection of the installation of the new water mains.
Ms. Mailander stated that at this time, an additional $4,800 is required to complete the work beyond the initial proposal scope and subsequent Change Order Number 1. Change Order Number 2 will be paid for by the Village and then deducted from the contract payment due to construction delays. Change Order Number 2 is to be awarded to Suburban Consulting Engineers of Flanders in the amount of $4,800.
- CBD Employee Parking
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village has done some surveys of how many CBD employee spots are being used. They started in the summer and were not being used very often, but since Labor Day all CBD spots are full by about 9:15 A.M. in both the Walnut and Cottage Place lots. In addition, there are one are two vehicles that go out, but the spaces are quickly taken. Her suggestion is adding more CBD spots in Cottage Place because they are getting complaints from business owners whose employees are going to park as early as 9:00 A.M. and there are no spots available.
Councilwoman Walsh asked whether there could be flex spots designated, so that if at 9:00 A.M. an employee could have the spot but if at 10:00 A.M. there is no one there a resident could take the spot and pay the meter. Mayor Hache stated that this was a consequence of Ken Smith being under construction. He received some complaints from business owners expressing concern over that. He asked whether there was any room at the Walnut Street parking lot. Ms. Mailander stated that Walnut Street was full long before Cottage Place. Mayor Hache asked how many vacant spots there were at Walnut throughout the day. Ms. Mailander stated that she would have the parking enforcement look into that, as many times in the afternoon the lot is full.
Ms. Mailander added that 213 CBD employee permits have been sold, which is what is needed to park in the CBD spots, and there are a lot of hangtags being purchased. It seems that the employees are finally understanding that there are places for them to park long-term.
Mayor Hache stated that he has noticed that a lot of the employees on North Broad Street are now inquiring about parking because they had been doing a lot of musical chairs because enforcement was done by the meter, whereas now it is done by the zone. In the past two weeks he has seen one or two empty spots on Broad Street at peak times during the day, whereas before there had been none.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she thought there should be flex spots as you want to be able to accommodate the employee needs but on the other hand you don’t want to be in the situation where people have no parking and then when they park in empty spaces they are ticketed. Mayor Hache stated that if that was the case, they should add more spots. Ms. Mailander stated that she would have the Village Engineer write up that ordinance. Councilman Sedon stated that with seasonal employees they would fill more spots and then afterwards they would fill fewer spots.
Ms. Mailander questioned how many spots the Village Council wanted to reinstate at Cottage Place. Mayor Hache suggested restoring the fifteen spots that had been taken away as flex spots so they aren’t lost if employees aren’t using them.
- Award HGAC Cooperative Capital Purchase – 2019 Heavy Duty Rescue Fire Truck
Ms. Mailander stated that Chief Van Goor sent a memo requesting permission to use funds from the Capital Account for the purchase of a 2019 Heavy Duty Rescue Truck to replace the current 1998 International Rescue Truck. This vehicle will be purchased through the Houston-Galveston Area Council Cooperative Purchasing Program. There was a Rescue Truck Committee formed of various people from the Fire Department who then researched and put together the specifications for the rescue truck. The committee decided that the best rescue truck that fit their needs was the Ferrara rescue truck. It will take approximately one year from the time the order is placed until it is delivered. The cost is not to exceed $408,000. The 1998 International Rescue Truck will be traded in when the new truck is delivered. The trade in amount is $25,493.
- Declare 1999 Autocar Tanker Truck Surplus – Water Pollution Control Division
Ms. Mailander stated that this is a vehicle used by the Water Pollution Control Facility that requires more repairs right now than it’s worth. The functions are being performed by a new vehicle, and once it is declared surplus it will be put on govdeals.com.
- Award State Cooperative Purchasing Contract – Purchase Portable Radio – Police Department
Ms. Mailander stated that this is for the new Police Officer in the Academy. It is one portable radio for the Police Department through Motorola Solutions of Regional Communication in Paramus in the amount of $3,094.05.
- Award State Cooperative Purchasing Contract – Purchase of Ammunition – Police Department
Ms. Mailander stated that this is an annual purchase for mandatory training and duty use. This purchase is through Eagle Point Gun/T.J. Morris & Son of Thorofare. The total amount is $27,222.94.
- Amend Chapter 105 - Animals
Ms. Mailander stated that the current ordinance indicates that the coop cannot be within 75 feet of any dwelling unit or place where people congregate. This amendment states that it can be located with 50 feet. The current ordinance says that all coops shall be provided with concrete floors. The amendment says that they shall have concrete floors, unless it is a raised coop and then the excrement actually works as a fertilizer. There should be drop floors beneath each roost to catch all droppings and a solid, easily cleanable surface required under the feeding area.
Ms. Mailander stated that the fee is currently at $75 and the recommendation is for $30 for a maximum of fifteen chickens. She added that she would recommend adding that there should be no roosters due to their noise.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that the ordinance stated 50 feet from neighbors’ dwellings, and asked how far it had to be from your own dwelling. Dawn Cetrullo, Director of the Health Department, stated that she felt they should keep it at ten feet from your own house. Ms. Cetrullo stated that she believed that the rooster designation was already in the ordinance.
Councilwoman Knudsen confirmed that they were going to change the language on the distances in the ordinance. She questioned adding a run into the calculation for space. Ms. Cetrullo stated that the new coops are very nice. Ms. Mailander stated that they would put that change into the ordinance.
- Zoning B/1-B-2 Districts
Ms. Mailander stated Village Planner, Brigette Bogart, has come up with new definitions to add to the ordinance, including instructional schools, professional offices, retail sales, and retail services. It looks like she is still looking at a permissive zoning, but it removed items that are out of date and added some that are more relevant to today. This will allow a lot more without having to go for a variance for people coming into the Central Business District.
Mayor Hache stated that there is fitness centers and personal training establishments, and there is a lot of demand for physical therapy types of locations where they have a retail type operation, as well. He felt it would make sense to put these on the list as right now there is a big move for them especially with the types of things that insurance cover. Those types of places require a significant amount of square footage, but you actually get less customers than you would in a fitness center.
Ms. Mailander stated that perhaps the Council wants to set a limit of 5,000 square feet so that there isn’t a grocery store or a fitness center taking up an entire block. Mayor Hache stated that he thought it was tough given the lots and configurations as the typical retail space is 1,200 square feet.
Councilwoman Knudsen state that this ordinance would have to go to the Planning Board as well. Mayor Hache stated that currently if it is a one story building, office space is not allowed, and asked if that was something the Council would like to look at. Ms. Mailander stated that right now it says that it is permitted. Mayor Hache stated that it is not in a one story building. Mr. Rogers stated that they could point that out to the Planning Board to see if there is some adjustment that has to be made. Ms. Mailander asked if the Council would like to send it to the Planning Board first. Councilwoman Knudsen and Mayor Hache agreed to let the Planning Board review first to avoid having to reintroduce the ordinance due to the possibility of significant changes.
- Authorization of Application for NJDOT Paving Grant – Franklin Avenue Streetscape and Spring Avenue
Ms. Mailander stated that the Engineering Department applies to paving grants every year for NJDOT, and the Village usually gets some funding. They are looking to resurface Spring Avenue from South Maple Avenue to South Pleasant Avenue. They are also applying for Franklin Avenue Streetscape Improvements from to North Broad Street to North Maple Avenue. This resolution allows the Village Engineer to submit the grant application on behalf of the Village.
- Installation of Stop Signs – Fairfield Avenue
Ms. Mailander stated that if Fairfield Avenue is designated as a through street from East Glen Avenue to Franklin Turnpike, a separate ordinance does not have to be written to install a stop sign traffic control device at each intersection of side streets entering onto Fairfield Avenue.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she didn’t see where they would put stop signs on that section of Fairfield Avenue. There was some discussion as to what streets were located in that stretch. Ms. Mailander stated that a stop sign could still be placed there. Councilwoman Knudsen suggested that Mr. Rutishauser map out the locations for the Council. Ms. Mailander stated that she would bring the resolution back next week.
- Request Assistance from Bergen County for Franklin Avenue Intersection Improvements
Ms. Mailander stated Councilman Voigt asked for this to be on the agenda. Councilman Voigt stated that based on the fact that there have been three accidents over the past three weeks, he reached out to the County Freeholders and asked if they would be willing to consider working with the Village to update the intersections on that corner. The four lights at Franklin/North Broad, Franklin/Oak, Franklin/Maple, and East Ridgewood/Maple. The Freeholders asked from the Village Council to put together a resolution as to whether they would want to consider this.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they met with the County and they expressed interest in working with the Village but they had to wait to understand the money that the Village would be receiving from the development projects. She stated that they determined that because they have the four lights, the County had an interest in that but the Village would forego the light at Linwood and they would help apply it to the Franklin Corridor. The County would do the Engineering and the Village would do the land taking, but they had a gap that had to do with the monies that they would be receiving from the development project because how that was going to be broken out in terms of who was paying for what. She added that Mr. Rutishauser has all of the documents on it.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the Village already had an understanding, and it was left at that until they firmed up the plans. She added that the Enclave projects stairway was in the County right of way so they had to address that.
Councilman Voigt asked whether they should work with accounting to move this forward. Mr. Rogers added that he felt it should be in combination with the Planning Board as well because they have the say with regard to the off-site improvements and the contributions that are coming from them. Mayor Hache asked what the timeline was that the meeting between Councilwoman Knudsen, Mr. Rutishauser, and Ms. Mailander took place. Councilwoman Voigt stated that it must have been about a year ago. He added that the goal here is to get four lights that do the same thing so that they can get traffic that flows correctly.
Mayor Hache asked for clarification on the light locations. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that there was one light that they would add to the series, then the next light they would apply the monies for off site improvements, and then they would figure out whether or not the County would take care of two, and then how the Village would take care of the fifth light so that everything synched back in line. She added that there was no formal agreement but everyone agrees that this was a good approach.
Ms. Mailander suggested bringing someone from the Planning Board as well. Mr. Rogers stated that it has to be done as a concerted effort that this is coming from the Council because you don’t want two different members talking about different things; that it has to be a unified process. Mayor Hache stated that since they already met, they could just follow up on it. Mr. Rogers added that the Council would decide that they are going to get this together and try to finalize this with them.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that there are several different parts to Franklin Avenue and because it is a county road, the lights and how the road is going to be laid out is under the County’s jurisdiction. She added that Mr. Rutishauser and his team have been working on different designs to submit to the County, and have some very preliminary designs. The grant that Ms. Johnson got is also incorporated into that because they can have things for the Safe Walk to Schools.
Councilwoman Knudsen suggested that they take all of the documentation and what Mr. Rutishauser has and schedule a meeting with the County. She added that they were specifically talking about the series of lights, as this was specific to the engineering of the lights and make sure they are synchronized. She suggested getting a preliminary commitment from the County.
Mr. Rogers asked how far the Planning Board had gotten with regard to the off-site improvement aspect and the contributions. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that it was all memorialized in the resolution of approval. There was additional discussion, but she added that it was all in the resolutions. She suggested scheduling and meeting with the County again, Councilman Voigt volunteered to attend. Mr. Rogers stated that once they get the materials together it might be that the Council could approach them.
Councilman Voigt stated that the Freeholders had wanted a resolution from the Village Council. Councilwoman Knudsen asked whether the resolution would be regarding an agreement to work with the County regarding these five lights, as they stated they would do the engineering on the lights even though one of them is the responsibility of the Village.
- MANAGERS REPORT
Backup Generator Installation – Ms. Mailander stated that due to the installation of a backup generator, Village Hall offices will close at 1:00 P.M. on September 27, 2018 because there will be no power on levels 1, 3 and 5. Levels 2 and 4 will remain opened, and the Municipal Court sessions will be held as usual.
Water Forums – Ms. Mailander stated that Ridgewood Water and the League of Women Voters are working together to bring the NJDEP Deputy Director to a Water Forum on October 17th at 7:30 P.M. in the Ridgewood Library Auditorium. In addition, Ridgewood Water will be hosting Community Open Houses to provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about Ridgewood water and educate them about PFAS. There will be professional staff and technical experts there to handle a variety of requests such as questions about water bill, and ask questions. They run from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., on October 2nd at the Midland Park Fire House, October 4th at the Wyckoff Public Library, October 11th at Ridgewood Village Hall, and October 15th at the Glen Rock Borough Hall. All of these meetings are open to the public.
2018 Graydon Pool Season – Ms. Mailander stated that the 2018 Graydon Pool season went well with a lot of compliments about the water quality. There were 686 Resident Adult Badges in 2017, and 615 were sold in 2018. For Resident Children in 2017 it was 1,058, in 2018 it was 982. Non-Resident Adult Badges sold were 152 in 2017, and 159 in 2018. She added that in 2017 they received the difference from Recreation of the payment for the early bird as opposed to regular membership, in 2017 $9,297 was logged and in 2018 it was $9,023. Late season badge season in 2017 was $1,095 and in 2018 was $2,300. The total revenue for 2017 was $308,917 which takes into account the discounts, early sale, free family passes, free senior Tuesdays and SSA waivers. In 2018 the total revenue was $296,506. They are finding that not as many full members are joining, that will have one family member join as a member and then buy day passes.
Ridgewood Recreation and Health Barn USA – Ms. Mailander stated Ridgewood Recreation and Health Barn USA are partnering in the fall for a five week session called Nutrition 101. It will include hands on demonstrations and tastings. Back to School Storytime and Garden Adventure for six weeks will include a hands on story adventure to bring the story to life. They also have a Teen Chefs in Training open to middle school students in a six session program with culinary skill development.
Zabriskie-Schedler House – Ms. Mailander stated that the nomination of the Zabriskie-Schedler House to be listed in the State Register for Historic Places has been reviewed and will be on SHPO’s agenda for approval in March 2019.
Parking Reminders – Ms. Mailander stated that all hourly rates are seventy-five cents an hour Monday through Friday 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M., and Saturday 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Sundays and Federal Holidays are free. Meter duration is three hours, except for the Cottage Place lot which is eleven hours. CBD employee parking spaces required a permit. The kiosks are up and accept quarters, dollar bills and credit card. Parkmobile can still be used. The duration for the meter times for the park and ride and the train station have now been increased to fourteen hours.
Ridgewood Events– Ms. Mailander stated Good Life Ridgewood is on September 30th from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square, and Gold Star Mother’s Day on the evening of September 30th to honor those who lost military sons or daughters.
Ms. Mailander added that next week the Chamber of Commerce is hosting “Blowout” Sale Days.
Register to Vote – Ms. Mailander reminded everyone who moved recently to Ridgewood that the deadline to register to vote in the General Election is October 16th from 4:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. in the Library Lobby.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that there was an email recently about the partnership between Recreation and Heath Barn. Ms. Mailander stated that it was 60/40, with 60% to Health Barn as she provides the staff, location, and the administrative work, and 40% to the Village which does promotion and registration through CommunityPass.
- COUNCIL REPORTS
Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Committee – Councilman Sedon, REAC, and the Green Team met yesterday. A resident attended and asked about permeable driveways and a certain material you can get to pave your driveway with that you can put grass or rocks on so the water goes right through. Some of the companies were TrueGrid, Green Driveways, or Gravel Pave 2. That might be some of the answers regarding flooding and drainage.
Earth Day Fair will be scheduled in April, the theme is going to be Parks and Recreation. There is also discussion about some Federal grants that the Village might be able to partner with other towns for stream bank restoration along the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook. Councilman Sedon added that they spoke about a single use plastic bag ban, and the State may come out with a ban. So, they are going to see what that is about and then will present something to the Council at a later date to work with that.
Planning Board – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the Planning Board meeting on Tuesday evening is canceled.
Board of Education – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she and the Mayor met with BOE members on Friday morning with Jim Morgan, Vince Loncto, and Superintendent Dan Fishbein. It was a productive meeting where they discussed a couple of issues that have been pending. They discussed the option of the possibility of parking on the PSE&G right of way, to see whether they could add student parking in that area, where they could put some jersey barriers, and they will have a discussion with PSE&G to see if they can come to an agreement.
They spoke about the SRO and how it would be funded. The Village Council said they could fund until the end of the year and the BOE said they would go back and revisit it and see if they could find a way to at least help partially fund it. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they spoke about the BOE election and expressed that absentee ballots are readily available to anyone who would like to vote and that would not be dissimilar to people getting absentee ballots in November. So, the Council is going to encourage the April vote to remain intact.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they spoke about some of the kids that are close to Waldwick and on Glen Avenue. There is a two mile distance for elementary school students before the Board of Education funds a bus and a two and a half mile distance for high school students. She was under the impression that there was a hazardous conditions component so they are going to take a look and see if some of the roadways are equivalent to hazardous conditions. She and Mayor Hache spoke about the option of having the bus pick up on certain days when the bus is mostly empty, so she suggested that was something they could work out. They will move forward together and collaboratively.
Mayor Hache stated that some residents expressed concerns that they see the buses half empty, and Dr. Fishbein stated that the bus is oversold but not everyone who signs up for the bus takes it except for three days of the year. He added that there was a lot of confusion regarding the aspects of the SRO and what the BOE would cover. He was glad that the conversations they had with Dr. Fishbein were being communicated to the BOE.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the people reaching out for the buses are parents whose students are specifically required to walk along roadways that they would consider difficult to navigate for an adult, let alone a child. Councilwoman Walsh asked whether they were going to address in terms of entire populations of children walking on hazardous roadways. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she would add it to the discussion points for next month.
Citizen Safety Advisory Committee – Councilman Voigt stated that the Citizen Safety Advisory Committee met on September 20th. There were issues with West Glen sidewalk, as Mr. Rutishauser presented on putting in sidewalks from Oak up to Heights. The intention would be to start in the Spring of 2019. The money would come from the $400,000 Safe Route to School grant that Jeannie Johnson worked on. In order to get that effectuated they need to put capital in the budget from a design standpoint. They talked about Franklin Avenue and CSAC asked the Council to look at safety on Franklin Avenue and Garber Square. They also recommended to paint a double yellow line on North Walnut Street from Linwood to Franklin.
Councilman Voigt stated a concern from a resident who lives on Sherman Place with the issue of two sided parking on that particular section which makes it narrow to get through especially for the people who live in that area. They asked if the Village Engineer and Sergeant Chuck could look at making that one-sided parking, which would move the people who are parking there somewhere else which would be another issue.
He added that there continues to be an issue with speeding on North Hillside Place which is the intersection on West Ridgewood Avenue, the suggestion is a double yellow line along that street to calm the people who are driving in that area.
Community Center Advisory Board – Councilman Voigt stated that the Community Center Advisory Board met on September 13th, and they would like to be put on the agenda for next week to talk about what they did this past year and for the coming year. They talked about one issue with the Annie Zusy Room as it can get cold in the winter and asked if there was a way to regulate this. Mr. Calbi was going to look to see if they could put a thermostat in that area to regulate the heat and cold in that area.
Buddy Bench – Mayor Hache stated that tomorrow at 6:00 P.M. at Orchard School there will be a buddy bench ribbon cutting. The idea is that if the child is feeling lonely or does not want to participate, they sit on the bench and signal to other kids that they are looking for company. This is part of the Choose to Be Nice Campaign.
Stick Ball Tournament – Mayor Hache stated that the 10th Annual Tournament would be Saturday, September 29th. They get a mix of players each year. The proceeds go towards the Homeless Retreat Ministry at Mount Carmel. Sign up starts at 9:00 A.M. next to the Knights of Columbus Hall.
Parks and Recreation – Mayor Hache stated that Parks and Recreation met last night regarding the fields policy, which is a living document that has been updated over the years. The current document will be sent to the Council to look at. He added that there was a discussion about the plan for the maintenance of Maple Field. It had been funded by the sports groups and the Village was to take the money that was being saved to accumulate a fund for maintenance. This time around the Village paid for the field and the sports groups will pay for use which will go into a fund to pay for replacing it in the future. They are talking about $20,000 to do the maintenance on the turf surface.
Duck Pond – Mayor Hache spoke with the County Executive a couple of weeks ago, there have been some delays in the project due to weather but they plan to go out for bid in January on a $2.3 million project that will fix some of the issues from the last engineering project that was done on the park.
- COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that regarding parking Ridgewood High School students on the PSE&G right of way which is currently owned by the Village of Ridgewood, many years ago that property was purchased by some residents of North Irving Street to prevent residents from parking there because they thought that would create noise and trash in their neighborhood. He added that there was plenty of parking in the Graydon South lot. Mr. Loving encouraged the Council to talk to residents in that area because they were dead set against parking there in the past and there wasn’t a public hearing to talk about that.
Mr. Loving stated that he was disappointed in the $26,000 change order for HVAC problems. He stated that when someone comes in and does a quote for the project that should be it, and if someone came to his house and added money to a quote he would be furious. He added that there were no questions about the amount from the Council. He added that there would be a change order over asbestos removal at the Schedler House, and he would think that anyone bidding on the job would think that there would be asbestos so it is now going to cost residents another $8,000. Mr. Loving reiterated that these change orders need to be controlled, as anyone bidding on a job needs to be held to the amount of the quote.
Mr. Loving stated that he was disappointed by the announcement that there would be a half day for some of the Village staff tomorrow. He was shocked that another time for the installation of the backup generator can’t be found. He believes there were two days over the summer where the residents had to pay the salaries for these workers for half a day because of the air conditioning. He was surprised they couldn’t tell the contractor to put it in at a time that the building is not occupied. Mr. Loving stated that it was crazy that the contractor couldn’t be told no.
Mr. Loving stated that regarding the school buses, someone who went to school with his daughter took the NJ Transit bus from there every day, and asked if they could work it out with NJ Transit to get a discount for the students. He added that the bus schedules at that time of the morning are pretty reliable and frequent.
Mr. Loving stated that he sent a note to the Village Manager about the election signs that are being put in the public right of way all over town. There is a sign in front of 38 Oak Street in front of Park West, and it has to stop.
Saurabh Dani, 390 Bedford Road, stated that he has been looking at the school referendum that was done in 2009, about $29 million had projects that were State grant and 40% was matched by the State in a $9.8 million grant. Those projects came under budget and about $2 million was returned. The planning already was conservative and on top of that there was contingency but on those projects they came under budget. The remaining projects that were supposed to be lower budgets where there was no money to the State, all of the money was used. Mr. Dani added that when there is a lot of contingency, that becomes house money. He added that he has submitted OPRA requests and the school does not have any details. He recommended that they require the contingency, but use it only if needed rather than paying interest on borrowing it before the project starts.
Anne Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that the Employee Human Resources Manual applies to all contractors that work part time, and it also applies to all of the elected officials. She stated that she didn’t know if it was effective immediately or if it was effective in a couple of weeks, but in particular it might be worth reading that if employees choose to represent themselves as Village employees on their personal social media account he or she may be viewed as acting on behalf of the Village. She added that it specifies that you should state that “the views expressed on this website/web blog are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.” Ms. Loving stated that this disclaimer has to be placed prominently and be repeated for every single posting that expresses an opinion. Ms. Mailander stated that this would be effective as of October 1st.
Linda Tarzian, 576 Highland Avenue, thanked the Council for some of their thoughtful and considered questions during the Library Reimagination presentation. She asked if they could request that the library add additional Continue the Conversation sessions because she cannot make the session. She also asked if they could request a budget presentation as she would like to know the cost of the circular staircase with the special windows in the ceiling, and if they were to take that out what would that bring the cost of the project down to. She asked what the purpose of the renovation was, to add more power outlets, or addressing the real needs of adding more teen space and making it lighter and brighter. Ms. Tarzian stated that if the Village is going to do this project, she is concerned about the $8 million estimated cost and what it is going to be on an individual level.
She added that with respect to the BOE and the citizens right to vote, she asked that the Council represent the resident’s desires to vote. Ms. Tarzian added that it seemed like the BOE wasn’t going to respect the opinions of some of the citizens and she asked that the Village Council take the appropriate legal steps to make sure that the vote stays with the residents and is not left up to five people.
Ms. Mailander stated that a failing compressor was the reason for the $26,000 and that was the one day that employees have been out because it was over eighty degrees in the building. They did inquire about having the work done for the generator another day, but there would have been a $5,000 premium on top of the cost so they decided that in lieu of doing that it would be done during the day. She added that she didn’t know if they had that money allocated and so that was the decision that was made.
Mr. Rogers added that the manual does apply to the Council and some of those issues do extend to persons who come into the Village Hall as contractors and the like, but not all of it.
- RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION
Deputy Village Clerk, Donna Jackson read Resolution #18-241 to go into Closed Session as follows:
There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilwoman Knudsen, seconded by Mayor Hache, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 12:08 A.M.
Ramon M. Hache, Sr.
Donna M. Jackson
Deputy Village Clerk
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