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 OCTOBER 24, 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 7:31 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.
- COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Rurik Halaby, 374 Evergreen Place, stated that a couple of months ago there was talk about acquiring the Elks Club property and refurbishing it with a cost of about $1.6 million, and now he sees that it is at $4 million. He added that he understands that Rich Calbi is installing a water filter at his house to counteract certain pollutants that will be difficult to remove at the water plant level. Mr. Halaby stated that it made him think why not use the $4 million to subsidize the purchase of a water filter for each home in Ridgewood, or why not spend the money on fixing the third of the Ridgewood Water wells that are inoperable.
He stated that regarding the Zabriskie-Schedler property, when reading the document prepared by the Village Manager, he felt that the Village Council should not spend a penny until they have a real plan.
Hans Lehman, 234 Union Street, stated that people move to Ridgewood for any number of reasons, but the three main ones seem to be our educational system, the Central Business District and the many restaurants which make it so vibrant, and the train station and bus station which provide access to Manhattan where many individuals work. He added that he is particularly concerned about the state of the Central Business District. Mr. Lehman stated that he is encouraged that a number of repairs have been made to the sidewalks, but you will see crumbling curbs along Ridgewood Avenue, loose and missing bricks in sidewalks, and weeds growing everywhere. He added that there are storefronts with green mold, adding that it has gotten to look so shabby that it makes him think no one cares about this attraction to Ridgewood. He stated that people looking to open a business are looking to Westwood, Rutherford, Englewood, even smaller communities like Maywood and Midland Park.
Mr. Lehman stated that there was a time when the Central Business District carried 13% of the property tax in the Village, now it carries a mere 8%. He encouraged anyone to stand by the clock at Van Neste Square and look down, as the sidewalk is crumbling and is unsafe for anyone with physical challenges. He added that sidewalk is the responsibility of the Village.
Mr. Lehman stated that tonight the Council is planning to address the Community Relations Advisory Board, a citizen volunteer committee that has been serving this Village for well over twenty years. He stated that in the past it allowed residents a forum where they could voice any number of concerns. He added that he feels that members of this administration have pitted themselves against members of this committee with a rather open agenda to get rid of it, which all seems to be a power play going back to the pride flag incident of last year. He stated that he thinks the action is shameful and smacks of bullying.
Mr. Lehman stated that now the Council has decided to go to war with the Board of Education, and asked what all of this hostility was about. He added that they should be working hand in hand with the BOE to provide the best possible education for our children. It might be a good idea if the Council could agree on a more positive agenda for our Village.
Laurie Weber, 235 South Irving Street, stated that at the October 8th meeting, the Board of Education told them that the next meeting regarding the school election date would be in November, after the school election. She stated that those individuals who have been active in this issue had been watching the RPS website, and saw at the last minute that there was a special meeting convened two days from today and the school election is on the agenda. Ms. Weber stated that she is concerned about that, and the fact that it was done at the last minute, not advertised, and minimally noticed. She added that she was wondering if the Village Council received the courtesy of any type of advance notice, was invited to participate, or were planning to attend.
Ms. Weber stated that her concern with this type of notice is that the BOE is trying to control who attends the meeting, or they already know what they want to do at the meeting. If they are looking to make a decision about the April vote as a way to take that off of the agenda in the election then she hopes that they are going to make that permanent, and that each member is going to abide by that after the election. She added that as someone who attended and spoke at the last BOE meeting, there were comments made by someone that were perceived by various individuals to be racist and there was also an allegation of chicanery in the budgeting process by the Village Council. She added that several individuals made these comments known, and Mr. Loncto actually thanked this resident for speaking and has deflected all commentary making his own view of this paramount to those of the community. Ms. Weber stated that she was wondering if there was any other recourse for community members who feel very insulted that the Board of Education is not adhering to its own meeting rules and puts individual board member’s views above the residents.
George Wolfson, 212 Steilen Avenue, stated that later in the agenda the Village Council would be discussing putting a tree nursery on Village property. He added that it should be noted that this request comes as a replacement for an already approved location behind the recycling center. The previous site turned out to be problematic due to its vegetative growth, mostly caused by unusual amounts of rainfall this spring and summer. Mr. Wolfson stated that a Village well-water project complicated getting useable water to the site for irrigation, and topographical restriction is resulting from the requirement under the State NJDEP Permit by Rule.
Mr. Wolfson stated that the new site is over on Bel Air Road, an underutilized park area, which due to its current configuration is already surrounded by fencing on two and a half sides. It already has accessible water nearby, and faces in the right direction for suitable sunlight for growing trees. He added that a small nursery can be established without conflicting with traffic patterns, and later could be expanded if desired. He stated that the existing vegetation, tennis courts, and pumping station would provide adequate cover so that aesthetics should not be an issue. The establishment of a tree nursery will not only help facilitate cost reductions for street trees, but prior discussions on the topic have also covered such things as a nature center for school trips, projects for scouts and clubs, and an opportunity for community volunteerism. Mr. Wolfson asked that the Village Council vote yes when the topic comes up.
Bob Sansone, Midland Park, stated that he wanted to thank Rich Calbi and the Ridgewood Water team for the presentation they did at the Midland Park Fire House. It was a fantastic event that was transformative, and it was nice to see some transparency and to have the opportunity to ask questions and get answers. He added that he hopes that continues.
Mayor Hache stated that the Elks Club purchase is a Ridgewood Water utility investment, which doesn’t take away from any of the other investments they are making in the water utility. The rehabilitation of the wells is not impacted, and some wells could take up to ten years to be completed. He added that under the leadership of Rich Calbi and his staff they are making additional investments of other properties to help treat some of the wells that have been neglected for many years.
Mayor Hache stated that there was mention that at one point in time, the Central Business District contributed 13% of the overall assessments in town of the tax bill, which is not the case. The highest it ever was is 10% in 1993, and the average it has been over the last 40 years is 9.3%.
Mayor Hache stated that there were suggestions that somehow the downtown has been neglected, but he wanted to remind everyone that this Council has done a tremendous amount of work focusing on the downtown and improving it. This includes the parking garage, they are talking about adding parking at the train station, have given back spaces to shoppers and commuters, investing in decorations for the downtown, added the blade sign ordinance, are looking at the display sign ordinances, hiring NV5 for work on the Master Plan, and the B1/B2 zoning which hadn’t been updated since 1960 which will allow a lot of empty storefronts to finally be filled.
Mayor Hache stated that there was a question about the BOE meeting, and whether or not the Village Council was notified of the meeting. It was mentioned by Mr. Loncto at the last monthly meeting with the BOE. The Council, however, never received confirmation of it or formal notice. So, an email was sent to Mr. Loncto but the Council never received a response. He added that his feeling was that it was never intended to be a joint meeting with the BOE and the Village of Ridgewood.
Councilman Sedon stated that regarding the downtown, the Shade Tree Commission would be giving a presentation momentarily to address the tree wells, sidewalks, and different types of materials, which is a very recent development.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that with the formation of the Central Business District Advisory Committee, they now have banners that welcome people to the CBD. She also applauded the Shade Tree Commission, Project Pride which decorates and plants in the downtown, and the Ridgewood Arts Council which is doing a window display contest. She added that she thinks the Council has done an amazing job working to revitalize and encourage downtown to be a vibrant place where everyone loves to visit, eat, and shop.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that although the Council did know on October 12th about the suggestion of the October 25th meeting, she did not feel that it was her place to notify the public because it had not been confirmed, as Mayor Hache had stated. She added that as far as what the BOE finds appropriate, she personally found the comments offensive, and thought the gratuitous swipe at the Village Council was grossly inappropriate and unnecessary.
- MANAGERS REPORT
Fire Prevention Grant – Ms. Mailander stated that she received notice from FM Global Insurance that they approved the Fire Department’s application for a fire prevention grant of $4,100 that will be used to purchase four laptops and software to help strengthen our efforts to be more effective at preventing fires. She thanked Chief Van Goor for his leadership in applying for this grant, through Millennium Strategies, which is the Village’s grant writer, and she congratulated them on a successful outcome.
Leaf Collection – Ms. Mailander stated that leaf collection started on October 22nd. The leaf placement schedule was printed on a yellow postcard and mailed to each Ridgewood household. Residents can also find the schedule on the Village website www.ridgewoodnj.net, this is where you can also find updated information as we proceed through leaf season.
Free Firewood – Ms. Mailander stated that there was free firewood available to Ridgewood residents at the Recycling Center. The wood is from trees taken down and cut into logs by the Village’s Parks Department. This has saved the Village money as it no longer has to pay to have the wood hauled away.
Veterans Day – Ms. Mailander stated that Veterans Day would be observed at a ceremony on Sunday, November 11th at 2:00 P.M. in Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. American Legion Post #53 sponsors this event.
“The Spirit of America’s Story – The Wall” – Ms. Mailander stated that this was a traveling exhibit commemorating our country’s fight for freedom from 1775 to the present day. The traveling wall is a 70 foot traveling exhibit that commemorates, through images, a timeline of the Revolutionary War to the War on Terrorism and is comprised of ten connected pieces of artwork that stands ninety-two inches tall. This event is sponsored by American Legion Post #53, with major support from Rotary District 7490 and the Rotary Club of Ridgewood AM. It will be open from 10:00 A.M. to 8:30 P.M. from Monday, November 12th through Sunday, November 18th at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 155 Linwood Avenue. Ms. Mailander added that this would be a wonderful event for people to visit, and that there would be speakers several nights about particular wars, so she encouraged everyone to go and experience this. It is the first time this event has been in New Jersey.
Mischief Night – Ms. Mailander stated that for Mischief Night and Halloween anyone found with eggs, toilet paper, or shaving cream will be stopped by the Police Department and these items will be confiscated.
Chamber of Commerce Halloween Haunted Harvest – Ms. Mailander stated that the Chamber of Commerce Halloween Haunted Harvest has been cancelled due to the predicted Nor’easter.
Conservancy for Public Lands – Ms. Mailander stated that on November 8th the Conservancy for Public Lands is sponsoring a New Jersey Audubon presentation of reptiles of Northern New Jersey for grades K-5 at the Village Hall Youth Center. The admission is $5, and reservations are suggested at RidgewoodNJ.CommunityPass or in person at The Stable.
General Election – Ms. Mailander stated that she wanted to remind everyone to vote in the General Election on November 6th. The polls will be open from 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Zabriskie-Schedler House – Ms. Mailander stated that she wanted to give a brief timeline for the Zabriskie-Schedler property. Last week they started moving clean fill into the Schedler property area which is being obtained from the new housing developments. The Village has certification that the fill is clean, and they will move the fill into the property so that they can eventually create the berm and also level out the property in certain areas. Once that is done, they will start with things like underground utilities which will include a sanitary sewer, water connection, and possibly a fire hydrant in that area. After that, the land will be graded, curbs, driveway, and parking lot will be installed, some trees will be removed, and then the berm will be established. Trees will be planted along the berm, and then the last things to happen will be walking paths, the field, and things of that nature.
- COUNCIL REPORTS
Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Committee and the Green Team – Councilman Sedon stated that they met on the 16th. One thing they are looking at is the State’s progress on banning single use plastic bags. It was decided that they would continue to monitor as that moves through the Legislature. He added that he would like to consider purchasing reusable bags with their logo on it in the event that it does pass to help educate people and provide them with reusable bags.
Councilman Sedon stated that there was a Bergen County HUB meeting for all of the green teams in the entire County. They received a grant from Sustainable Jersey to do Styrofoam recycle which they have already done in three towns. Ridgewood has signed up to participate. Ideally they would like the Styrofoam recycling drive to be held sometime after the holiday season.
NV5 and the Master Plan Advisory Committee – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that NV5 and the Master Plan Advisory Committee is announcing that the VisionRidgewood.org website has been updated to allow a survey through SurveyMonkey which asks a ton of very early stage questions pertaining to the visioning process which will eventually roll into a Master Plan. She encouraged everyone to log on and visit the website. They are taking information from anyone who would like to volunteer, and the website will give an opportunity to enter how much you would like to become involved. This will be promoted on Instagram, social media, Facebook, via email, and hopefully in the next E-notice from the Village Manager. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that this was an exciting opportunity for everyone to get involved in the future plan for the Village 30, 40, 50 years out and what we envision the Village looking like for future generations.
Ridgewood Arts Council – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the Arts Council is embarking on the first annual window display contest. Letters will be going out to all business owners in the CBD, including retail, service, eateries, etc. There will be multiple categories, including empty storefronts. She added that it has been cleared with the Chamber of Commerce to allow an announcement at the tree lighting for the winners. She thanked Janet Fricke for finding a way to save a placeholder on the 2019 Village Calendar which will also announce the winner. All of the windows will have to be prepared and ready for judging by November 24th. She invited Council colleagues to participate in the judging process.
Library Board – Councilwoman Walsh stated that they had their meeting last night and it was the first meeting that they had since they came and presented “The Reimagining of the Ridgewood Library.” They discussed some of the topics and feedback that the Council gave to them, as well as feedback that they gave to each other. They are contemplating their next steps, but the opinion that Councilwoman Walsh gave to them is that they need to come back to the Council and have a second go around regarding their plan because the applications are presumed to be for January 2019 and they need to get their ducks in a row.
Citizen Safety Advisory Committee – Councilman Voigt stated that the Citizen Safety Advisory Committee met last Thursday. They had several presentations from residents regarding concerns surrounding safety. One of them was the issue of Union Street being one-way only and the issue of cars going the wrong way. Some suggestions were made regarding improving signage as well as making more arrows on the street so that the direction is very clear. Another resident presented about issues at Willard School during drop-off and pick-up at the intersections of California and Morningside. In the afternoon, there are three commercial buses dropping-off kids within one minute of each other that come from GW, and then there are all of the kids getting out of school.
Councilman Voigt stated that there was a resident from Pershing who is concerned about the safety on their street, and wanted the Committee to look into putting in sidewalks on the street. The suggestion was made that the person should probably poll the residents on that street to see if they were willing to do that considering they would probably have to pay for it.
Councilman Voigt stated that Age Friendly Ridgewood especially wanted to thank the Village and the Engineering Department for the sidewalk improvements along Franklin Avenue. He added that the Village is going to be putting the past meeting minutes and upcoming agendas for CSAC on the Village website.
Central Business District – Mayor Hache stated that the InDowntownRidgewood.com website is now live. The website is a free website for the businesses to place their listings. There is a customized calendar of events that was created in partnership with Burbio for anything happening in the downtown. There is a parking map that shows the parking zones in town, as well as locate pins for the restaurants and stores, and a directory of Village services and houses of worship. The site was designed to work better as a mobile site.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked if the InDowntownRidgewood.com and VisionRidgewood.org links, could be placed onto the Village website, so that they are more accessible. Ms. Mailander stated that they could do that.
Giving Thanks Ridgewood Elder Dinner – Mayor Hache stated that the Elder Dinner would take place on Sunday, November 11th from 4:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. The doors will open at 4:00 P.M. at the Old Paramus Reformed Church at 660 East Glen Avenue. This event is in partnership with Ridgewood Parks and Recreation, Healthbarn Foundations, and Age Friendly Ridgewood and they are inviting everyone to attend.
- Age Friendly Ridgewood
Beth Abbott stated that she and Sheila Brogan are the Co-Chairs of Age Friendly Ridgewood, and Sue Ulrich works with them as a Program Specialist. They appreciated the opportunity to speak to the Village Council about what makes Ridgewood a great place to grow up and grow old. Ms. Abbott stated that they began when a group on the Community Center Advisory Board developed a survey of residents 55 and older. Later they were awarded grant money from the Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation and some other groups, which is managed by The Community Center of Ridgewood Foundation.
Ms. Brogan stated that Age Friendly Initiatives in Ridgewood are driven by people who are aging, and baby boomers are turning 65 at a rate of 7,000 to 10,000 a day through 2030. There is also extended life expectancy. She stated that she was seeing many older adults in their 80s and 90s who are very much engaged in the community. They want an intergenerational community as there is more energy when older, middle aged, and young families interact. There is also an economic benefit to keeping the community inter generational. Ms. Brogan stated that the baby boomers are still electing to continue to work and they contribute to the economy by being consumers and are great volunteers. She added that 25% of the population in Ridgewood is 55 and older. The Age Friendly Initiative that is funded by the Taub Foundation is working in five communities, and every six weeks they meet and brainstorm ideas, which is a great collaboration to pilot some of the initiatives.
Ms. Abbott stated that their mission is to obtain a seat at the table for older adults regarding physical spaces, mobility, healthy lifestyles, volunteerism, and social and civic engagement. Based on their survey and focus group, they have developed project areas each with a task force. The housing group is concerned with various housing options that the residents desire as they grow older. The transportation task force focuses on the availability of options for folks trying to drive less. Pedestrian Safety groups is concerned with walkability and safety. There is a committee focused on keeping older adults active in the community. They have tried to increase communication through their website and e-newsletters. Ms. Abbott added that they have also worked with local restaurants on how to attract older adults and have encouraged residents to shop downtown. They also provide financial assistance for individuals to participate in events downtown who might not otherwise be able, Graydon memberships are an example of this. They have also tried to increase education and awareness by hosting speakers and outreach events.
Ms. Brogan stated that they are in partnership with many organizations and individuals in the community who have supported their work and championed some initiatives. They are grateful for all of their help in Village Hall, including Mr. Rutishauser in Engineering. She added that they are working with the Health Department and will be co-sponsoring a Mental Health First Aid for older adults on November 1st. They have been encouraged all along by Parks and Recreation and are grateful for their work with seniors. Recently, they have been meeting with Ms. Mailander, as well.
They look for opportunities to collaborate, and there are many that they can see for the Village. Pedestrian safety is an example as last year they did a sidewalk audit and over the summer the Engineering Department encouraged whoever owned the sidewalk that was presently difficulty to fix these areas. Ms. Brogan stated that they are grateful for all of the work that has been completed and they are looking at the work that has to be addressed. She added that they look forward to further work as some of the apartment buildings are built and some of the sidewalks and crosswalks are included.
Ms. Brogan stated that they also looked at a wider realm of pedestrian safety. Last June, there were consultants who did a walkability workshop in Franklin Avenue and the Central Business District. Their report shows the needs to improve Franklin Avenue which she knows is on the Council agenda to encourage the County to help with improving the traffic lights and signals. The report also talks about improving crosswalks, building pedestrian refuge areas where there are lengthy crosswalks, and creating bump outs so that will slow some of the traffic and make it safer for pedestrians. She encouraged the Council to take a look at the walkability study and some of the things that those experts were recommending.
Ms. Ulrich stated that Age Friendly has donated the money for three benches and are looking forward to the Village Council accepting the donation tonight. They are also hoping that this inspires the Village to install additional benches throughout the CBD, as they have heard from some of the older residents that there is a need to take a break while enjoying the downtown. They appreciate the fact that a new senior van needs to be purchased to replace the current van that has been making an impact in the community. Ms. Ulrich added that Age Friendly Ridgewood has been subsidizing additional days for the senior bus, adding that it would be great to have a backup driver for Billy Flynn’s vacation and sick time so that the bus does not cease when he is not available. She added that there are additional days needed beyond the two that the Village provides, as the reality is that their grant will be ending and as the grant phases out the Wednesday addition will remain a viable addition to the senior bus service that the Village currently provides. She recognized the efforts of Janet Fricke, Beth Spinato, and Billy Flynn. The behind the scenes work in handling all aspects of the senior bus are great.
Ms. Abbott stated that they welcome the opportunity to collaborate on the Master Plan re-write and have already engaged with the Visioning Process. They had a land use analysis done from an Age Friendly perspective, and they have submitted this to the Council and the Visioning Committee. The report asks if the Village has viable housing that can support older residents and is consistent with their needs, and also does the Village have the necessary policy, plans and programs in place that will create a range of housing options in the future.
Ms. Brogan added that opportunities to collaborate need communication. She added that they are hearing from some of the older adults that they don’t use the computer and don’t access that. Therefore, some of the important information that is sent out from the Village isn’t accessible to them. She added that when they put their website together, there were extensive resources listed, but they knew that there were adults that wouldn’t access it. They did print that out and gave it to seniors throughout the Village. She asked that the Village put some thought into how they are communicating with seniors, be it mailers or telephone calls. Ms. Brogan stated that the kiosks are causing confusion, which is just one example.
Ms. Abbott opened for questions from the Council. Councilman Sedon thanked the members of Age Friendly for all of their good work. Councilwoman Knudsen thanked the presenters, adding that when the conditions are improved for seniors they are improved for everyone. She added that she knows the Visioning Process would be a wonderful asset. She stated that when an e-notice comes out, her mother doesn’t get a hard copy. So, she brainstormed through it with Ms. Mailander and she fully anticipates a hard copy and an outreach to the senior community.
Ms. Abbott stated that they had a slide show of photos that they would like to share with the Council.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that at the Library Board, she found that everyone at the computers that evening for the meeting was adults her age or older.
- Shade Tree Commission – New Tree Well Designs in CBD
Andrew Lowry, Shade Tree Commission, introduced Ian Keller, and Carolyn Jacobi who are members that have worked on this project for over a year. They are updating the Council on the work they have done, the learning that has been accomplished, and some thoughts about the future and what can be done. Mr. Lowry stated that with support of the Parks Department and Shade Tree, they hired a consultant this summer, Andrew Hillman, a well-credentialed forester, to create a report.
The objective was to understand why trees were not thriving, as they would like to see trees that are healthy, growing quickly, and will live for a long time. Mr. Lowry stated that there is a saying that trees in the downtown area are viewed like flowers in flower pots being replaced every ten years. He added that they didn’t want that, and were aiming for trees that would grown into a nice canopy. They did 109 of the 200 approximately wells, and looked at Broad Street and Ridgewood Avenue because they are pretty typical and very visible. They identified the problems, possible causes, and make recommendations for improvement. This is the first step in developing a more comprehensive, long term plan.
Mr. Lowry stated that 51% of the shade trees are dead or are going to be dead soon. In the middle are 21%, which in a lot of cases means that unless they do something, they are going to be dead in ten years. There are some that are doing quite well, which is an opportunity for learning and emulating. He presented a summary of the numbers that were looked at and collected which was included in the reports that were provided to the Village Council. He displayed pictures of what can typically be seen in the tree wells currently. One of the pictures was of a healthy looking tree but it has a cavity which makes it a hazard tree fairly soon. He stated that the biggest problem is the current design of the wells in that they limit the amount of water that gets into the well by acting like a dam and keeping the water out. Additionally, the trees haven’t been watered during the drought in the past. Mr. Lowry stated that the quality of the soil varies, as it gets compressed and the water that gets in doesn’t get down and runs off. Mulch can also form a hard surface which then sheds water.
Mr. Lowry stated that some of the species of trees that were planted are not ideal. There are some cherries, crab apples, and others that were not right for an urban environment. Honey locust trees are doing pretty well. There also hasn’t been a lot of maintenance over the years, including structural pruning and disease treatment. Finally, when the tree wells were put in, soil was added on top of the existing soil and then mulch, and then once you add additional soil and mulch, you create a wet zone where decay can occur, which has happened on some of the trees.
Mr. Lowry stated that they need to get more water to the trees, plant different species, improve soil conditions, and put a maintenance plan into place. He added that the easiest task is to plant the right species. Their arborist has picked out honey locust, swamp white oak and black tupelo as other very hearty trees, which are the ones that they recommend planting in the future as they grow to full size and provide canopy. Mr. Lowry stated that the trees on Oak Street were doing very well. It is tougher to figure out how to get more water to the trees. The thought is that they have to renovate the tree wells by removing the brick collar, and the ring of cement that supports the bricks. The additional decorative bricks can be removed which creates a larger tree pit where more soil can be added. They would like to excavate the soil and put in good soil that can be specified scientifically. Drains could also be added that would bring water directly to the roots.
Mr. Lowry stated that they were also looking at the curb-side trench as there is a row of two foot bricks which can be removed and excavated and the soil replaced with Cornell Certified Soil. The idea is that on six feet of either tree well, they would take out the brick and put in the soil and then cover it. Cornell Certified Soil is basically gravel that has a uniform size, and the advantage is that it can be compacted without getting structurally clogged. Clay soil is added as an ingredient to help mix and stabilize it. The water flows through channels in the gravel, and this has been installed all over the country. Mr. Lowry added that when you put something on top of the gravel it is compactible so that the surface can be ADA compliant. He added that as the water gets through, it is important to get air down there too.
The well is covered with porous or permeable surfaces. Porous surfaces can be porous asphalt, porous concrete, or porous pave which is an aggregate with a stabilizer. Permeable surfaces are brick pavers with spaces between them and gravel which allows the water to go around and then down. He displayed examples of each type of surface, including Flexi-pave which Morristown is currently using in all of their wells.
Mr. Lowry stated that last summer they did an excavation with help from the Engineering Department to understand where the utilities are and also what soil in there was like. He added that the soil was terrible, heavily compacted with a lot of construction debris. The removed the concrete collar and planted a new tree in two of the wells, including two drains as well as some plastic sheeting to direct the roots down and keep them under the sidewalk. He stated that their new specs included using the Cornell soil, increasing the size of the pit, using some form of pervious material, doing a test demonstration project to get some feedback from the community about any issues that there are, and then developing a long term plan. Mr. Lowry stated that all of the research and consultants agree this is probably our best shot at having healthy trees. It is important to have a maintenance program with watering during the first two years, with weeding and pruning. Established trees during droughts will also need some watering, as well as regular inspection.
Mr. Lowry stated that there are on-going projects that may benefit from this learning, including the new construction. He stated that it would be good for the Village to get in front of the developers and point out that if they do this under their sidewalk; the trees will look a lot better. He added that they would reach out to the developers and sell it because it would look a lot better and is to their advantage. He added that this should be incorporated with the parking garage as well. Mr. Lowry added that something should be included regarding the Master Plan, as this is best practices for downtown tree wells and making trees grow.
Councilman Sedon stated that the most important thing they could do now would be to get water to trees which would include taking out the brick band around the tree wells downtown. He added that Mr. Lowry’s presentation was long term planning, and that ultimately they would like to work with the Central Business District Advisory Committee to talk about aesthetics. He stated that he would like to consider, as part of a capital project, taking out the brick collars at the very least to get run off to the trees. Mr. Lowry added that he wanted to get the Council up to date on what they were doing, as there are obviously a lot of issues. Councilman Sedon added that this was obviously much bigger than what the Shade Tree Commission could take on by themselves.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she was amazed by all of the work that went into this presentation. She asked about the drain that looked like a sprinkler head. Mr. Lowry stated that those were drainage pipes that could be filled with a hose from a truck and then gradually water the trees that way as the water gets to the roots faster than it would normally. Councilwoman Knudsen suggested taking all of the information that was used in this presentation and sharing it with NV5 and the Master Plan Advisory Committee.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked whether the removal of the brick band was a costly endeavor. Councilman Sedon stated that he didn’t think taking away the brick bands would be expensive, but removing the concrete collar and excavating where there is no tree present could get expensive. Mr. Lowry stated that they haven’t gotten to the point of costing this out. He has an idea of what the materials should cost, but they should put a bid out to see what people would bid. He added that there is significant masonry work, and the materials do cost something, but it isn’t outrageous.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that the challenge is with some of the trees is that its so compacted underneath the sidewalk, and asked what was actually under the sidewalk. Mr. Lowry stated that the purpose of the Cornell soil is that it provides a space where the roots grow, as they don’t expect the roots to grow too far into the compacted soil that is there currently. Councilwoman Walsh asked how deep the tree wells were. Mr. Lowry stated that they would need three feet of Cornell soil and maybe in the well they would want to go four feet deep, but the roots don’t go that much further down depending on the tree, they tend to go out under the sidewalks.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that because there were so many wells and 50% need work, she asked if they would do a cost per well of labor and tree. Mr. Lowry stated that they would have to, and the issue would be how many they would do at a time. Councilwoman Walsh suggested reaching out to CBDAC and the Chamber of Commerce because the businesses would benefit from having a nice tree out front, suggesting that they may contribute or adopt a tree well. Councilman Sedon stated that has come up several times, and that they would have to do the soil and the improvements to the well and then if the business owner wanted to buy the tree that would be a lessening of the expense, and it never hurts to ask. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that adopting a tree well community wide might be a possibility.
Ms. Jacobi stated that they have worked hand in hand with the Central Business District Development, to get the support of the landlords and/or the store vendors to participate actively in understanding the importance and benefit to their business of having a beautiful, thriving tree. There has been watering and the planting that Project Pride did, but there was no weeding done and she stated that going forward, they are hoping that watering and weeding is part of the notion of tree. Ms. Jacobi stated that she reached out to the Ridgewood Agricultural and Educational Club through the high school. This Sunday she has a group joining her in the downtown to weed and remove the ivy that is growing, and to clean up so that what there is now looks like someone is tending it.
Mr. Keller added that there was going to be a lot of talk about costs, and he would like it to be considered more of an investment as the trees do a lot for the Central Business District including: increasing the amount of time that people spend; increase the amount of money that they spend while shopping; and increase the amount that people are willing to pay for parking. Those points have been proven by studies.
Councilman Voigt asked how many wells there were downtown. Mr. Lowry stated that it was 205 wells. Councilman Voigt asked if they would assume that based on the survey of 100+ wells, would about half of the 205 wells be as bad. Mr. Lowry stated that probably a little better because of Oak Street, but it was pretty close. Councilman Voigt stated that they were looking at about 100 wells for upgrades, and asked about a per well cost. Mr. Lowry stated that he was reluctant to throw out a number because it depends on how many you do at a time, what material you use, and what the bids are. He added that the cost he has been able to gather piece by piece, and looking at Morristown where they did less than Ridgewood would have to do, they spent over $1,000 per well. Councilman Voigt stated that if they did 100 wells at $1,000 they were looking at $100,000. Mr. Lowry added that the Ridgewood project would be substantially more than what was done in Morristown.
Councilman Voigt asked what they did wrong in the past regarding the tree wells being not conducive to trees growing. Mr. Keller stated that he wondered that himself, adding that he doesn’t think that a tree expert was involved and it had been an aesthetic decision initially. Ms. Jacobi stated that as a thirty year resident, they are moving toward a time that she hasn’t seen in her tenure where they will be planting more trees than they will be losing, and if you don’t maintain your landscape they will die. She added that because they do not water properly, they need to think about how to keep it viable for much longer than we will be here which takes a few years to establish.
Mayor Hache thanked the presenters for all of the work they have been doing, adding that it was tremendous to raise awareness of the problems. He added that they would do anything possible to figure out a way to work together and get some of the funding for this as it is very important.
- Ridgewood Recycling Update
Ms. Mailander stated that Ed Bethune, Supervisor of Sanitation and Recycling, and Acting Recycling Coordinator, as well as Rich Calbi, Director of Operations, would be presenting on what can and cannot be recycled.
Mr. Bethune thanked the Village Council for the opportunity to get everyone caught up on the current trend in recycling. There are changes to the global recycling market, import bans, fewer import licenses, stricter contamination standards, and other countries have followed suit which presents challenges. The changes to the global recycling market, approximately 30% of all recycling collected is exported, and of those consumers, Asia, particularly China, has been by far the largest.
In 2016, 37 million metric tons of recyclables went outside the US with 44% of that going to China. That was the old norm, however there is a new norm due to import bans. In 2017 the Chinese government announced they would be placing import bans. Historically, shipping containers delivered goods to the U.S. and then those same shipping containers would be loaded with recyclable raw materials which traveled back to China and turned into quality products. Those raw materials had contaminating components and residents sorted it out, but over the years the contamination has gotten so huge that they no longer expect the U.S. to send the same things which is creating a problem here.
Mr. Bethune stated that there have been fewer import licenses because of this. China is still willing to import, but the amount that they will buy has been significantly reduced. Manufacturing companies are being denied import licenses or are receiving licenses that severely restrict the amount of material they can purchase which has brought about stricter contamination standards. With regard to paper and cardboard, the prohibited content must meet a 0.5 standard on contamination, which is nearly impossible to achieve. Other countries are now following suit, even though China has been the largest consumer they were not the only consumer. So, their decision to restrict and ban has opened more markets to purchase larger quantities. This creates challenges for the local processes, where the Village sends its goods as they have to adjust to new standards.
When the trucks leave Ridgewood they deliver the recyclables to a recycling processing center where men, women, and machines work together to separate the material. To adapt to global changes these locations have had to slow down their sorting lines and hire more workers and look harder for buyers of the material which strains the profit margin. Mr. Bethune stated that finding buyers has presented a challenge because there is so much competition. Many are struggling to move the same material at the same time. Once they find an overseas buyer, they face on-site inspections in New Jersey when they buyer goes to the processing plants and gauges contamination.
Mr. Bethune stated that Ridgewood today needs to recycle right and produce quality. The collection of processing, marketing, and manufacturing needs to be above-board. If the product is unusable they can’t sell it. He added that lately, the indicators have helped them to appreciate that changes have to be made with regard to products that were once and are no longer taken. There is a renewed focus on quality as highlighted in their logo, Recycle Right. Quality recyclables can become a quality raw material as they sell. For recycling to work, there has to be a collection, processing, marketing, and re-manufacturing. Without all four components, recyclables are just garbage. If they ask residents not to put something in the recycling barrel it is either because it cannot be recycled at the processing facility, or it cannot be recycled and therefore can never make it to the stage of re-manufacturing.
Mr. Bethune stated that there was a pile of items that cannot be recycled, including plastic food trays, flower pots, plastic bags, fruit cups, egg cartons, red drinking cups, and metal hangers. He added that they had signs that were hung on some residents’ barrels to draw attention to things that did not belong in the recycling barrel. Because of the plastic coating on the outside of milk cartons the manufacturer didn’t take them, but that has now changed. Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and steel cans can all be recycled. The caps must be removed from bottles and cartons as they are garbage.
Mr. Bethune stated that they have to be thinking about the future. They plan on introducing a new app to the Ridgewood residents entitled ‘Recycle Coach’ which is something that the State of NJ has become the first to offer free of charge to all New Jersey residents. Residents can receive recycling information in a simple, clear, and concise manner. There is no cost to Ridgewood, as the State has funded this for the next two years. This will be initiated November 15th, and they plan to promote this by newsletter to all residents. Some of the features are: customized schedules so that residents can stay organized; calendars including holiday changes; collection requirements; reminders and real time updates on service disruptions; report a problem equipped with geolocation; and what type of recycler are you in a quiz for tips and tricks. He added that recycling is a very profitable commodity but it is very difficult and requires a lot of work.
Mayor Hache and Councilman Sedon thanked Mr. Bethune and Mr. Calbi for the presentation. Councilman Sedon asked if there was any danger that this turns from a profit making endeavor to something that costs money as more restrictions are brought in. Mr. Bethune stated that it is a floating market, adding that the Village is in a positive arena and is pretty sustainable. They are trying to get back to where it used to be prior to the bans.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the solo cups and the food containers have the recycling stamp. Mr. Bethune stated that in the past, the recycling emblem was the primary thing everybody focused on, but they should not pay attention to it any longer. They stopped using the resin identification code some years back in the literature, as it was always meant to speak to where the item came from but never meant to indicate where it was going. With the current changes those codes are obsolete, so now the focus is on shape, size, density, and supply and demand. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that it becomes a whole public education piece as she would not necessarily know that, adding that it needs a public outreach and education.
Councilwoman Walsh thanked them for the presentation and added that her mom says that they had no garbage when she grew up in the depression, which is when she grew up. She added that for the Village, there are a lot of eating establishments and all of the take out containers are Styrofoam, or aluminum, and asked how the Village communicates that this is going to create a huge cost. She asked how to educate the CBD and residents regarding take out. Mr. Calbi stated that Mr. Bethune does a great job of presenting on these items, and suggested that they go to a Chamber of Commerce meeting, or any other organization downtown, and it would be eye-opening to them.
Councilman Voigt thanked them for the presentation and stated that they mentioned that the Village is profitable, he asked what the number was from a profitability standpoint. Mr. Bethune stated that he didn’t have numbers but every year they meet the quota from the State to qualify for grants. Councilman Voigt asked how much the Village gets from grants. Mr. Bethune stated that it fluctuates, adding that there is a recycling trust fund at the Village that is pretty substantial at times. Councilman Voigt stated that he felt they should be encouraging the residents to use more recyclable materials, and asked whether he ever saw any of the bad stuff coming back as a recyclable item. Mr. Calbi stated that when something goes to a transfer station they outright reject it and put it in a garbage pile and then the Village gets a back charge against revenue. He added that mostly everything that he brought to the presentation used to be recyclable, but now an example would be the milk cartons. Councilman Voigt stated that it seems to be becoming less and less recyclables over time. Mr. Calbi stated that unless somebody had a need for some of the plastics then it would be moved over to the good pile.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that if you were to go to an eating establishment, was there a particular tray or item they could use that could fit into the recyclable category. Mr. Bethune stated that food trays and Styrofoam cartons are not accepted. Councilwoman Walsh asked about the tin containers. Mr. Bethune stated that they would be accepted but they have to be cleaned out, and many people don’t do that. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that one restaurant has a cardboard carrier and asked if that was recyclable. Mr. Calbi stated that it would be nice to get something that’s more degradable. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that if they were to write a letter to eateries would there be something that could be recommended as an outreach to businesses. Mr. Calbi stated that definitely that was something that could be done.
Mayor Hache stated that in addition to educating businesses, it was important to start with our children to set some behaviors. He stated that he always cleans out the pizza boxes and asked about them. Mr. Bethune stated that he was just at a recycling seminar in Neptune, and pizza boxes are starting to become a no-no as there is grease in the box and only the top part of the lid is good and the bottom greasy part has to be thrown out. They have to start pushing it because the staff has to take out the boxes.
Mayor Hache stated that in terms of profitability, they are profitable because of the volume that is taken in is superior to the cost for the Village managing it. He asked if there was any chance that the Village could handle this for smaller municipalities that can’t see the profitability. Mr. Calbi stated that it would have to be collected for the municipalities because there is no place to store it. He added that they can look into collection and then garnering the revenue from that stream, if its profitable. The Village is fortunate in that it had pretty good contract negotiation last time around, but it is due to be negotiated again. They are making a lot of the money on cardboard and paper, while with the plastics and glass, the Village actually doesn’t make much or pays. Mr. Calbi added that there were communities that were single stream and had to pay.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked whether the slide presentation could be put online. Ms. Mailander was in agreement.
- Capital Ordinance Acquisition of 451 Goffle Road and Funding for the Emergency Appropriation
Ms. Mailander stated that this was for the Ridgewood Water Department, which was approved by the Village Council at the last meeting, but in order to get the money they need to do a resolution and an ordinance. Mr. Rooney stated that in order to expedite the funding process for the purchase of this property, they are asking Council to pass a resolution for an emergency appropriation for $260,000 which allows them to write a check immediately upon passage. He asked that Council introduce and adopt an ordinance to fund that emergency for $260,000 thereby, not requiring that the money be raised in next years budget but be part of a bond ordinance typical of any bond ordinance they have in the Village.
Mr. Rogers stated that they do have a contract of sale, which has been worked through, and there are a couple of steps to take. If all works out, then the closing would be held at the end of November or beginning of December.
- Award Professional Services Contract – Grant Writer
Ms. Mailander stated that they discussed the renewal for one year of the grant write, Millennium Strategies. The Village is unique in that fact that it applies for many of the grants that other towns have Millennium Strategies prepare. The Village Council has also received information about the grants that the Village applied for and possible reasons why the grant was not received. She negotiated with Millennium Strategies, and they agreed to lower their price to $30,000 per year, as their going rate is $36,000 per year. Ms. Mailander add that the Village does need their assistance because they have found corporate sponsor grants, a non-profit sponsor grant, and the Village has received some of them. She stated that she felt it was important that the Village retain them for another year and re-assess at the end of the following year.
- Amend Zoning Ordinance B1 and B2 Districts
Ms. Mailander stated that this was sent to the Planning Board which reviewed it and approved it as written. The ordinance was written by Brigette Bogart and increases the various types of uses within the CBD and takes out outdated types of uses.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the only concern by Planning Board members was that this is monitored to ensure that the B1 and B2 districts should be retail on the ground level and that they don’t undermine the intent of the Master Plan by minimizing the amount of retail, which then ultimately limits the walkability downtown. She added that she promised that she would monitor to ensure that they did not alter the intent of the Master Plan.
Mayor Hache stated that he did not see physical therapy types places listed. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that was on Ms. Mailander’s cover letter, and she just picked that particular use and she doesn’t even know that was in the ordinance. Mayor Hache stated that it had been discussed in the meeting but he didn’t see it in the ordinance. Ms. Mailander stated that she mentioned it to Ms. Bogart. Mayor Hache stated that it was discussed at the Planning Board and they were okay with the addition. Ms. Mailander stated that it could be amended on the floor. Mr. Rogers stated that the ordinance said physical fitness and personal training but that addition could be made. Ms. Mailander stated that it could be amended on the floor this evening, as tonight was the introduction.
- Amend Smoking Ordinance
Ms. Mailander stated that this was discussed by the Planning Board and they wanted a modification to the measure of distance from nearest structural wall of tobacco or smoke shop to the nearest structural wall of the nearest tobacco or smoke shop. There was also a change from media to include social media and electronic media. These are not substantive changes so the ordinance can be amended on the floor.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she spoke with Mr. Rogers about the changes and he felt that it wasn’t necessary. Mr. Rogers stated that if you change the wording, it allows the units to be closer to one another, as it is currently going to property lines but the Planning Board has changed it to perimeter walls. He added that it would be up to the Council if they wanted to change that dimensional calculation. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that when this was discussed at the Planning Board, they felt that changing the wording would make the distance greater. She added that the reason one member raised this was because he felt that the actual location they were measuring had to have consistency. Mr. Rogers stated that usually the improvement on the property is within the boundary. So, going boundary to boundary or improvement to improvement, then the distance isn’t using interior walls or walls of improvements. Mayor Hache stated that going to a structural wall to property line, you are increasing the distance but going structural wall to structural wall is shorter but is more consistent. Mr. Roger stated that property line to property line is a greater distance, and property line to interior wall is a greater distance than interior wall to interior wall. Councilwoman Knudsen stated it was the one board member who raised that concern. Mr. Rogers stated that it was up to the Council. Councilwoman Knudsen suggested they keep it the way it is because it’s the greatest distance. Ms. Mailander stated that they would not amend it for that but would do the media change.
- Ordinances for Purchase of 111 North Maple Avenue and 451 Goffle Road
Ms. Mailander stated that Mr. Rogers informed her that they need ordinances for the purchase of 111 North Maple Avenue and 451 Goffle Road. To approve the funding that was already approved, they have approved the purchase of both of these properties, but they need an ordinance to effectuate the purchases.
- Accept Donation from Age Friendly Ridgewood – Benches in CBD
Ms. Mailander stated that they were grateful to Age Friendly Ridgewood for donating $5,373.75 for three benches which will be placed in the Central Business District. One in the vicinity of Franklin and Broad Street, another near the train station, and a third near Stop and Shop. They hope to have them in by early to mid-November.
Mayor Hache stated that at one point when they met with Ms. Bogart they talked about doing a downtown streetscape study this winter regarding the ordinances about some of the displays, planters, and outdoor dining. He asked if it would make sense to do the streetscape study before determining where to place the benches. Ms. Mailander stated that the benches were not on the curb line, but were placed back and wouldn’t be in the sight line. Mayor Hache stated that once they re-do everything and see where things should be it might open up spaces. Ms. Mailander stated that these benches are specifically for older adults who are walking through the CBD and need places to rest. As a donation from Age Friendly, they worked with the Engineering Department to determine the locations that would be most suitable to the older adults. Mayor Hache stated that in the future they should consider the longer block along Ridgewood Avenue. Ms. Mailander stated that they did consider a flat area, but the property owner did not want a bench there and they will continue to look for other locations in the future.
- Appoint Village Employee to Green Team Advisory Committee
Ms. Mailander stated that Robert Kearney is a GIS Specialist Trainee in Ridgewood Water and is interested in this position.
- Rate Increase for Recreation Fees
Ms. Mailander stated that this was discussed once before and they just need a final decision to move forward. The proposal is to increase the day camp resident fee by $50 from $55 to $600. They are looking to allow non-residents join the day camp for $850 and requesting a late fee after June 10th of $50 because they get a lot of late registrations and are scrambling to put them into groups and accommodate those people. They begin advertising the day camp on April 1st, which gives them two months to register before the late fee would become effective.
Ms. Mailander stated that the current fees for adult residents is $120 at Graydon Pool and the proposal is to go to $130. For children, it is $110 and the recommendation is to go to $120. The early bird discount is a 10% discount, so it would be $117 for adults and $108 for children. This would be for 2019 and 2020. For senior residents there would be no change, or for disabled patrons. The non-resident adult would increase $20 from $200 to $220. Non-resident child would increase from $175 to $195. Residents guest pass would go from $10 to $15, and a non-resident guest pass would be $20. The reason for this increase is that they have found that people tend to join, and then just buy day passes and so they are not getting full membership fees from people.
Ms. Mailander stated that for the late season fees they are recommending a $5 increase from $60 to $65 for adults and from $55 to $60 for children from August 1 to Labor Day.
Ms. Mailander stated that there was a $5 increase for tennis badges, for adults from $35 to $40, and for children from $30 to $35. Guest passes will remain at $5, senior residents 62 and over are free, and non-resident adults $45 to $50, and non-resident children from $40 to $45.
Councilwoman Walsh asked how they would gauge a guest pass for tennis. Ms. Bigos stated that during the season members would go to Graydon Pool and purchase passes, and then otherwise they come into the recreation office. She added that often when someone is looking to pay with a guest they would purchase the pass a couple of days ahead of time.
Councilman Sedon made a motion to suspend the Work Session and convene a Special Public Meeting. Councilwoman Knudsen seconded the motion.
Roll Call Vote
AYES: Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache
- SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETING - SEE SEPARATE MINUTES
Mayor Hache called for a motion to adjourn, there was a motion by Councilman Sedon to adjourn the special public meeting and reconvene the Work Session. Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.
Roll Call Vote
AYES: Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache
- Ridgewood Water
- Award State Contract – Chlorine Water Analyzers and Supplies
Ms. Mailander stated that in January the Council awarded a resolution for the purchase of water analyzer and supplies under State Contract for $58,236.36, and at this point an additional $75,000 is required to cover purchases of this equipment. Funding is accounted for in the Water Department capital budget.
- Water Utility Interest Rates
Ms. Mailander stated that this was an annual resolution to set interest rates for water bills that are not paid. It is 8% interest on the first $1,500, and 18% on any amount over $1,500. There is a 30 day grace period for paying, and 6% interest on any bills in excess of $10,000.
- Water Administrative Maintenance Fees
Ms. Mailander stated that this was an annual resolution which is an administrative fee because Ridgewood Water properties do not pay taxes to the Village. It is based on the current assessed value within the Village of Ridgewood. This year it amounts of $3,959,100 for eighteen properties.
Councilwoman Walsh asked about the Ridgewood Water lawsuit and analyzing some of the fees that could have been recaptured over the years, was this something that they should also be looking at. Ms. Mailander stated that Ridgewood Water already pays taxes to all of the other towns. Councilwoman Walsh asked if the Village was doing it the same way, or were they setting themselves up by doing it differently in Ridgewood.
Mr. Calbi stated that it is done differently for Ridgewood as the other three municipalities send a tax bill per property, whereas in Ridgewood there is an agreement based on the number of properties that is approved each year. Councilwoman Walsh clarified that in the other municipalities they send a regular tax bill that has no discount. Mr. Calbi stated that the property is assessed in the same way, it is not for improvements, which is consistent across the board.
- Resolution and Agreement to Join TIPS Cooperative Pricing System
Ms. Mailander stated that TIPS is out of Texas and would allow the Village to join another purchasing system to purchase various things for various departments.
- Award County Co-Op Contract – Rock Salt Purchase – Streets Department
Ms. Mailander stated that this is an annual resolution under the County contract with the contractor out of North Olmstead, Ohio.
- Award Sole Source Provider Contract – Software Support – Edmunds
Ms. Mailander stated that Edmunds and Associates is the Village’s software firm, and this is for the 2019 contract in the amount of $21,189, plus $350 for estimated tax billing. This is a $1,200 increase from 2018, which is for the addition of online property tax payments. It covers tax collection, financial accounting, escrow accounting, payroll, human resources, and accounts receivable.
- Interest Rate for Delinquent Taxes
Ms. Mailander stated that interest rates for non-payment of other municipal liens and interest for significant sewer discharges are all annual resolutions with an 8% charged on delinquent accounts for the first $1,500 and 18% for any amount in excess of $1,500. They set different grace periods and also allow for 6% per annum for any amount in excess of $10,000. These are annual resolutions, and the interest rates have not changed.
- Interest Rate for Non-Payment of Other Municipal Liens
- Interest for Significant Sewer Dischargers
- Authorization to Execute NJDEP Treatment Works Approval
Ms. Mailander stated that Washington Township is in the final stages of approving a multi-family housing project named American Dreams Estates off of Van Emburgh Avenue. The project will be comprised of 73 dwelling units and is located within the Water Pollution Control servicing district in the Village of Ridgewood. Therefore, the project will be paying the Village a connection fee for each dwelling that connects as well as an annual treatment fee for each dwelling unit. Mr. Rutishauser is recommending that he be the authorized person to execute the permits on behalf of the Village as needed.
- Establishment of Permanent Tree Nursery
Councilman Sedon stated that Mr. Wilson did a good job of summing up where they have been. They were looking at an area behind the recycling center, and Chris Rutishauser has permission from the DEP to put in non-permanent structures, but it turned out that it would be problematic to clear some of the debris. This April, because of excessive flooding, the area was under water. So, another area was looked at off of Bel Air Road. It is a mostly fenced in area, with a water source right in the middle. Their thought is that it is already cleared, mostly fenced, facing the right direction. For a minimal cost, they could establish a permanent tree nursery there. Councilman Sedon stated that they already have 120 trees at the recycling center which are about two years old and will be moved over. If it is successful, they could get a discount because they wouldn’t have to pay for shade trees and one could grow them ourselves and possibly even sell the trees to other towns. Councilman Sedon stated that they would just have to put up eight to ten feet of fencing along the back, and fifteen feet of fencing in the front with a gate.
- Installation of Stop Signs – Claremont Road and Cantrell Road
Ms. Mailander stated that Mr. Rutishauser had a conversation with Fire Captain Chris DuFlocq who was concerned about this intersection due to the fact that he responded to three motor vehicle accidents at this intersection where there were injuries. There are no traffic control devices at this intersection, so the Village Engineer recommended the installation of stop signs to eliminate any ambiguity.
- COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Rurik Halaby, 374 Evergreen Place, stated that his last comment concerns Janice Willett. Mayor Hache asked that they not discuss residents or members of the public in public comments. Mr. Halaby stated that a certain upstanding member of the community posted a very thoughtful entry on social media raising issues with an ordinance giving priority to Ridgewood residents when applying for non-uniformed positions. He added that the ordinance is not clear and allows for different interpretations. He stated that he had a good idea why certain members of the Council pushed for this ordinance.
Mr. Halaby stated that as he was driving his wife was listening to the meeting, and the Deputy Mayor had responded to his comment about the purchase of the water utility property. He stated that it is made to sound as if they have nothing to do with it and it is just an investment by the Water Utility. He added that the Water Utility is owned by the Village, and that they have to realize how much the principal amount is. Mr. Halaby asked whether anyone could give him an idea what the return of this investment would be to him as a resident. He urged the Council to respect the intelligence of the people
Anne Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that she supports the increase in fees for Graydon Pool, as it is currently a huge bargain. She asked that they please do the bathrooms with some of the increased money. She stated that regarding the tree wells, she thought the presentation was fascinating and she appreciated all of the work that has gone into them. She added that awhile back there was discussion of having a memorial tree policy, adding that if it was going to be more that $1,000 to remediate a tree well, that may be something if a family that wants to give back to the town, they might be willing to buy a new tree well and a tree to go in it.
Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that he sees on the documents, that in terms of purchasing 451 Goffle Road, the online tax records indicated a different block and lot number. He added that a while ago, he mentioned that the Council had changed the times at the train station for parking, but there was an ordinance that indicated that you weren’t allowed to park if you didn’t have a sticker and he believed that they were going to change the ordinance that you could park there at 6:00 P.M. without a sticker. He added that he knew the Council had wanted to change that ordinance so that people could park there earlier.
Mr. Loving stated that he noticed that one of the kiosks near Dunkin Donuts was out of order for a few hours this week, and he added that there is no phone number to call when the kiosk is out of order. He asked whether there can be some type of indication as to what phone number to call or text to indicate that the kiosk is out of order.
Mr. Loving stated that he has written to the Village Manager on two occasions regarding his concern that some of the plants in the planters this summer were high enough that they were creating a hazard for drivers in the CBD perhaps could not see people that were waiting to cross. He stated that he understands they were looking to do a streetscape survey and suggested that they take into account the fact that you can’t see people standing by the plants while they are waiting to step out into the crosswalk.
He added that he was disappointed that the Council attempted to reach out to the BOE and they failed to respond to the Council.
Mayor Hache stated that the Graydon Pool tree was planted today. Councilman Sedon stated that it was a variety of Elm that is resistant to Dutch Elm Disease, and the Village has one right by Maple Avenue that the town pays $500 every year to treat it specifically.
Mayor Hache stated that regarding the tree wells, he found it interesting that perhaps people in bereavement would be accepting donations towards the tree in lieu of flowers, which he thinks is a nice tribute and he likes the idea.
Ms. Mailander stated that people could come into Ridgewood Water on a daily basis to pay their bills, get more information, get water waivers during the summer, so it is quite a busy office.
Mayor Hache stated that the purchase price for 111 Maple Avenue is not correct at $1.6 million.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she defended the Village Council on social media against an accusation of cronyism based on the change to reinstate a residency requirement as she supports our residents and it is an unfortunate and unnecessary accusation, adding that she stands by her comment.
- RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION
Deputy Village Clerk, Donna Jackson read Resolution #18-322 to go into Closed Session as follows:
There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Voigt, seconded by Councilman Sedon, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 10:41 P.M.
Ramon M. Hache, Sr.
Donna M. Jackson
Deputy Village Clerk
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