Village Council Public Meeting Minutes 20140514

A REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING OF THE VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD HELD IN THE SYDNEY V. STOLDT, JR. COURTROOM OF THE RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE HALL, 131 NORTH MAPLE AVENUE, RIDGEWOOD, NEW JERSEY, ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2014, AT 8:00 P.M.

 

1. CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG SALUTE – MOMENT OF SILENCE

Mayor Aronsohn called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M., and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act. At roll call, the following were present: Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn. Also present were Roberta Sonenfeld, Village Manager; Heather Mailander, Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.

Mayor Aronsohn led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Mayor Aronsohn then asked for a moment of silence to honor the men and women in the United States Armed Forces who protect and defend our freedom every day, as well as those serving as first responders.

Mayor Aronsohn introduced the two newly-elected Councilmembers, Susan Knudsen and Mike Sedon, who were in attendance at this meeting in the audience.

2. ACCEPTANCE OF FINANCIAL REPORTS

Mayor Aronsohn moved that the Bills, Claims, and Vouchers, and Statement of Funds on hand as of April 30, 2014, be accepted as submitted. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.  

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Mayor Aronsohn moved that the Village Council minutes of February 26, March 5, April 2, and April 9, 2014, having been reviewed by the Village Council and now available in the Village Clerk’s Office, be approved as submitted. Councilman Riche seconded the motion.

 

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

4. PRESENTATION

a. Municipal Court Volunteers

Maria Doerr, Municipal Court Administrator, helped Mayor Aronsohn give recognition to the volunteers who were helping the Municipal Court to dispose of tickets, which is a very meticulous and important job.

Ms. Doerr mentioned that Nick is a very impressive young man, and certainly one of the best-dressed interns to serve the Municipal Court. He is very tenacious and careful in his work with ticket disposal. Lizzie has a sparkling personality, which certainly helps when dealing with people who come to the Violations Bureau. She is very conscientious in seeing each job through to its completion.

Ms. Doerr pointed out that there is nothing better than volunteering in the community. Ms. Doerr expressed appreciation for these volunteers who give their time, for their unselfish generosity, and she hopes that each of them takes some kind of skill learned from working at the Municipal Court forward in their endeavors.

5. PROCLAMATIONS

A. National Cancer Survivors Day

Councilman Pucciarelli read the following proclamation:

B. Emergency Medical Services Week

Councilman Riche read the following proclamation:

C. Proclaim May as Mental Health Month

            Councilwoman Hauck read the following proclamation:

After the proclamation was read, Michael Tozzoli, Director of West Bergen Mental Healthcare, noted that West Bergen Mental Healthcare has been in Ridgewood for 51 years. He thanked Mayor Aronsohn and the Councilmembers for this recognition. Mr. Tozzoli mentioned that the Board of Trustees of the facility were also at the meeting, as well as other executive leadership members and staff members. He noted that it has been learned over the years that one in four people will suffer from mental illness at some point, and Mr. Tozzoli appreciated this public acknowledgment and support.

D. Honor Pro Arte Chorale on their 50th Anniversary

Councilwoman Walsh read the following proclamation:

E. Honor Arthur Wrubel for Service on the Historic Preservation Commission

Mayor Aronsohn read a proclamation honoring Arthur Wrubel for his service on the Historic Preservation Commission as follows:

After the proclamation was read, Councilman Pucciarelli recalled that from 1978-1979, he worked for a law firm in New York whose staff lawyers included former Mayor John Lindsay and former City Planning Commissioner Don Elliott. Even in those days, Mr. Wrubel’s name was known in Councilman Pucciarelli’s office, due to his outstanding résumé, making him the envy of everyone in urban planning and urban architecture. The Village of Ridgewood has been privileged to benefit from his talent and his spirit of volunteerism, with absolutely no arrogance about his wealth of knowledge about architecture and urban planning, which is far greater than that of most people. He has approached every project with enthusiasm and great zeal, and is a great treasure to Ridgewood.

Councilwoman Walsh recalled that when she first became a Councilmember, she served as the liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). Attending her first meeting, she realized what a gem Mr. Wrubel was for the HPC. Whenever an application was being reviewed, Mr. Wrubel would give a history of the property, including the different phases of each property, and Councilwoman Walsh felt like a student listening to Mr. Wrubel and learning from him. She enjoyed all of those times, and is very happy to call him a friend now.

Mr. Wrubel thanked the Councilmembers for this honor, and in particular, he thanked Councilmembers Pucciarelli and Walsh for their participation on the HPC because it was nice to have a Councilmember on the HPC, which made the HPC members feel like they were part of the government. In the 1990s, the HPC was established by the Village Council. There was also the designation of the historic area of the Central Business District, which has yielded the results everyone sees in the CBD today. He said that the CBD is doing well, but he indicated that the residential area needs to be addressed now, in order to protect the future. Mr. Wrubel indicated that he has a lot of ideas as to what could be done but he is also sure that the HPC will know how to handle it as well.

F. Honor Francis “Frank” Schott for Service on the Open Space Committee

Mayor Aronsohn read a proclamation honoring Francis “Frank” Schott for his service on the Open Space Committee, as follows:

After the proclamation was read, Councilman Riche noted that as Councilmembers, they receive many emails. Every so often, an email is received from a resident who is complaining about something. Councilman Riche used to respond by thanking the resident for his/her passion, because it is not often that someone comes along who has such a passion, and he would ask if he could keep that resident’s résumé as a potential volunteer for one of the Village’s numerous committees. However, Councilman Riche never got responses to those requests. Mr. Schott brought such a passion to the Open Space Committee for what is important to the Village. He was always thinking about the future of Ridgewood, and he understood how important it is to remember that what is done today has an impact on our children and grandchildren.

Jim Griffith of Paterson Habitat for Humanity paid tribute to Mr. Schott. Mr. Griffith noted that it has been nearly 30 years since Habitat for Humanity began working in downtown Paterson, and from the beginning, they have benefited from the efforts of many dedicated volunteers from Ridgewood. Mr. Schott taught many of the other volunteers at Habitat for Humanity about many things, including the economics of volunteering.

Sheila Brogan, President of the Ridgewood Board of Education, said she had to come to this meeting when she found out that Mr. Schott was being honored tonight. She considers Mr. Schott to be a role model, and a very important volunteer in Ridgewood. Among his many accomplishments is his service to the Board of Education, which is no easy task. Ms. Brogan pointed out his on-going support for education, students, and schools in Ridgewood. When Ms. Brogan first became a member of the Board of Education, the debate was whether or not to expand the high school. In 1997, Mr. Schott advised Ms. Brogan on how to approach the public; what to think about; how to look at the funding; and what a referendum is. She found all of his help insightful and very helpful. In the intervening years, Mr. Schott has never missed coming to the Education Center on election night. He has been available and supportive of all of the school expansion referendums over the years. Mr. Schott is a strong voice for education, and a wise advocate, as well as a friend to the schools.

Mr. Schott thanked the Village Council for the proclamation. He said that he wanted to give two examples of citizen activists and what they did for the Village of Ridgewood. The first one was in 1968, when Dorothy Kraft, a local philanthropist, said she was moving to New York and liquidating her four-acre estate bounded by Godwin Avenue, South Monroe Street, and Hillside Avenue. This was the largest piece of open property on the west side of Ridgewood. George Washington Middle School needed the property for an athletic field, and one dozen citizens approached the Village Council to acquire the Kraft property for a good public purpose. Mayor Clark approached Ms. Kraft and had to ask her to give the land to the Village since the rest of the Councilmembers were not willing to give him any money towards the purchase. Ms. Kraft refused to give the property to the Village without payment. The Westside Presbyterian Church purchased the property for parking and they also became the owners of a house and a barn. In order the recoup some of the cost, Westside Presbyterian Church looked for a buyer for the southern part of the property on Godwin Avenue. After some negotiations, the core group of citizens was able to purchase the southern part of the property for $180,000 which is $1.1 million in today’s dollars. There was a year-long struggle to raise the money. Finally, the core group of residents decided to make a public appeal for funding and they received over 300 monetary gifts from residents and businesses in the Village to purchase the property. In 1969, the core group of residents donated the land they had purchased and donated it to the Village for use as parkland in perpetuity and it was named Citizens Park.

In 2003, the Village Council added one-half an acre to the north end of the property by purchasing the Bozzo property and knocking down the house to allow for a full-sized soccer field across from the George Washington Middle School. The Village Council appropriated money for the purchase of the home, and the Sports groups also contributed money towards the purchase; however, $25,000 was still needed. Mr. Schott went back to the core group of residents who had formed Citizens Park and the major donors toward that effort and they were able to raise the additional $25,000 needed very quickly. Mr. Schott indicated that anyone interested in retracing the steps of these citizen activists in order to do the same to raise money for the Schedler property can see how it was done by visiting the archives of the Ridgewood Public Library.

Mr. Schott said that another time of action by citizens activists occurred when all of the school buildings needed to be updated and classroom space had to be added in 2009. He said that $50 million was needed for this project. He knew it was going to be an uphill struggle, but the Board of Education referendum to appropriate the money concentrated on the true needs and stayed away from items such as a swimming pool at the high school. He said that the referendum had failed in nine of the ten voting locations. When the last voting location’s votes came in, there were just enough affirmative votes to pass the referendum by 62 votes.

Mr. Schott thanked the Village Council again for the proclamation and stated that what can’t be seen, but what must be remembered is that the fight for every vote is what keeps the citizen activists going.  

6. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Aronsohn asked if anyone from the public wished to speak regarding any of the agenda items.

Joe Suplicki, 1 – 15th Avenue, Elmwood Park, is also the Vice-Chair of the Historic Preservation Commission. Mr. Suplicki mentioned some information that came along too late to be included in the Proclamation for Mr. Wrubel, but the Certificate of Eligibility for the Zabriskie-Schedler House to be listed on the State Register of Historic Places has been received. The hard copy of the certificate has been mailed, and Ms. Sonenfeld should receive it any day. That means that the Village can now apply for grants from various historic societies.

Enid Hayflick, 430 Hawthorne Place, said she has been a member of the Pro Arte Chorale since 1990, and she thanked the Councilmembers for their recognition. Ms. Hayflick is a current board member, as well as a Past President of the Chorale. She also mentioned that the Chorale will be performing at a gala concert on Friday, June 6th, at the West Side Presbyterian Church. The former conductor of the Chorale, John Nelson, will be coming back to conduct part of the all-Mozart program. In addition, Ms. Hayflick mentioned that the Pro Arte Chorale was honored to have Mr. Schott serve on its board in the 1990s. She added that Ridgewood has a wonderful tradition of supporting the arts, especially music.

Steve Palmieri, 105 Sylvester Avenue, Hawthorne, also wanted to thank the Councilmembers on behalf of the Pro Arte Chorale. Mr. Schott referenced the partnership that exists among Councilmembers, the public, and volunteers, and Mr. Palmieri was delighted to say that the Pro Arte Chorale has enjoyed its partnership with Ridgewood over the years. Being able to say that they are based in Ridgewood gives the members of the Chorale the benefit of being able to be associated with the well-earned sophistication in Ridgewood.

George Wolfson, 212 Steilen Avenue, has been a member of the Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Commission (REAC) for seven years and is now a member of the Shade Tree Commission. He was asked by his fellow Commissioners to express their thanks to the Councilmembers for their participation in the Arbor Day celebration, and for the planting of the “Travell tree” in Veterans Field this evening. It took eight years to get that tree moved from Travell School to the field. Mr. Wolfson mentioned that the re-planting of the tree was the Shade Tree Commission’s first project, and they are now moving on to other projects, with one specific project being the re-planting of the tree wells around the Village. So far, 22 empty spaces have been identified for planting, and the REAC Commissioners are working with the Shade Tree Commission to make this happen. The only thing affecting the project right now is time, because the trees must be planted before the end of June. Mayor Aronsohn thanked Mr. Wolfson for all of his efforts as a member of REAC. Councilwoman Hauck added her thanks for his efforts, as well as those of the Shade Tree Commission, which is off and running very quickly.   She noted that the “Travell tree” is just beautiful, and planting that tree was the Shade Tree Commission’s first event, which was held this evening. Mr. Wolfson said that Tim Cronin, Director of Parks and Recreation, should be thanked for that because he had the foresight to save that mature tree when an addition was put onto Travell school many years ago. Since that time, the tree has been at the Ridgewood Recycling Center for the past six years. It was then determined that Veterans Field would be a good location for the tree, culminating in the planting of the tree earlier this evening.

Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, said he has been coming to Village Council meetings for many, many years. However, things have not been the same for him since his good friend and neighbor, Roger Wiegand, became ill in December 2013, and was unable to come to meetings from that point forward. Mr. Wiegand passed away in April 2014, and Mr. Loving thinks that the Village Council meetings will not be the same without Mr. Wiegand’s presence. Mr. Wiegand often stood at the microphone and expressed his passion about many things in Ridgewood. He lived in the same house at 216 South Irving Street for his whole life. Mr. Wiegand retired early from his career, and spent the rest of his days volunteering in the Village. His passions included the streetlights, because he liked to make sure that they were working; painting fire boxes, which he enjoyed doing; and the double-wood utility poles, making it a priority to try to get such poles removed. Mr. Loving related that Mr. Wiegand was so passionate about the double-wood utility poles that whenever his telephone or electricity went out of service, he wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that he was nagging the utility companies about the poles. It is now very difficult for Mr. Loving to drive up and down his Street, because he must pass Mr. Wiegand’s house, which is now empty. Mr. Loving also noted that Mr. Eisen stood up at a recent meeting and mentioned Mr. Wiegand, as did Mr. Cirillo. Mr. Cirillo pointed out that people thought of Mr. Wiegand as “Mr. Ridgewood”. Mr. Loving agrees with Mr. Eisen and Mr. Cirillo that the Village should try to do something to honor Mr. Wiegand’s memory. He also noted that Mayor Aronsohn reached out to Mr. Wiegand’s family, and a discussion was held about what could be done by the Village to recognize Mr. Wiegand’s efforts. Mr. Loving thanked Mayor Aronsohn for inviting him to that meeting.

Mayor Aronsohn explained that he attended a meeting with Mr. Loving and members of Mr. Wiegand’s family to try to come up with a way that would be most fitting and appropriate to recognize and honor Roger Wiegand. In the end, they came up with a few ideas, which Mayor Aronsohn mentioned for the other Councilmembers to consider. One of the ideas is to plant a tree in Mr. Wiegand’s honor, because he loved trees. The second suggestion was to name the block where he lived “Wiegand Way,” or some other appropriate name, to honor the fact that he and his family lived there for so many years. The final suggestion, which Mayor Aronsohn thinks is the one Mr. Wiegand would have appreciated most of all, was to put a plaque on the podium, on the side where members of the public stand to make comments, so that it would be visible to anyone who addresses the Village Council. Mr. Wiegand was the one who suggested that a time be set aside at the end of every Village Council meeting for public comments, in addition to having that time at the beginning of each meeting, so members of the public could comment or ask questions about things that were discussed during the meeting. In addition, Mr. Wiegand felt strongly that the public should have the last word. Mayor Aronsohn said that this could be discussed further, and he suggested that when a decision is made and action is taken, a reception could be held in the Sydney V. Stoldt, Jr., Courtroom to honor Mr. Wiegand’s memory. Mayor Aronsohn also asked anyone who has any other suggestions to contact him or any of the other Councilmembers, or contact Mr. and Mrs. Loving.

Leonard Eisen, 762 Upper Boulevard, mentioned the Municipal Election held yesterday in Ridgewood to fill two seats that will be opening up on the Village Council. Mr. Eisen said he would miss Councilman Riche and Councilwoman Walsh when they vacate their seats, and he hopes that the people who will be filling the seats are inspired by the work done by Councilman Riche and Councilwoman Walsh. They are leaving big shoes to fill.

Anne Loving, 342 South Irving Street, mentioned that Election Day is now over, and she congratulated Mike Sedon and Susan Knudsen for their victories, as well as Mr. Albano for running for Village Council. In addition, Ms. Loving thanked Councilman Riche and Councilwoman Walsh for serving on the Village Council. Ms. Loving asked if any progress had been made on her multiple requests regarding pursuing an investigation into the anonymous email that was sent to Mr. Sedon’s employer. Ms. Loving believes strongly that it is a stain on Ridgewood to have this sort of thing happen, because it represents an attempt to derail his candidacy. She has not heard whether anything has been done on an official level about pursuing this matter. Councilman Riche responded that he spoke to someone in the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, asking Mr. Molinelli to launch an investigation. Councilman Riche has not yet received a response from the Prosecutor’s Office, so he is not sure if they are doing something, and what that might be. He will try to follow up on the situation. Ms. Loving pointed out that, although the election is now over and Mr. Sedon won a seat on the Village Council, someone tried to interfere with the election process, and she does not believe it should be ignored.

There were no other comments from the public at this time, and Mayor Aronsohn closed the time for public comment.

7. MANAGER’S REPORT

Ms. Sonenfeld started her Manager’s Report by talking about paving, which she said has become a passion of hers in recent weeks. The good news is that the Village received an additional $149,000 from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) toward the resurfacing of North Van Dien Avenue. That will be added to capital funds, so the paving budget for 2014 will be $1.549 million, representing the largest paving budget in more than 10 years in Ridgewood. Ms. Sonenfeld commented that paving is a very important issue to residents, and she believes that it should be done right. At this time, Ms. Sonenfeld noted that the Village is doing paving from 2013. She believes that 2013 paving should have been done in 2013, but it could not be done because the capital budget did not pass in time last year to get the paving done. As a result, Ms. Sonenfeld is concentrating on getting the capital budget for paving adopted as soon as possible. For those who are not aware, the capital budget must be adopted by a supermajority, which means that it requires at least four votes from the Councilmembers. The capital budget that was put to a vote several weeks ago was introduced by a vote of 3-2. Therefore, Ms. Sonenfeld has made paving a separate capital budget item for $1.549 million, and she asked the Councilmembers to give strong consideration to approving it. If there is disagreement over the total capital budget, this would at least allow the necessary paving to get done in 2014.

Next, Ms. Sonenfeld mentioned the traffic alerts at Garber Square. Construction preparations have begun for the paving that is to be done along Franklin Avenue from Godwin Avenue, and going under the train trestle. This project is a Complete Streets project, which means it is designed for all users, including bikers, walkers, transit riders, drivers, and any other people who move along the streets. There is a beautification component to it, as well as a traffic and pedestrian safety component. A grant of $146,000 has been received from the NJDOT for this project. One of its goals is to channel the traffic coming through the CBD, as well as to slow vehicles down as they approach some of the critical crosswalks. Another goal is to encourage cycling or walking through the CBD, and to provide a better walking experience through Ridgewood. Ms. Sonenfeld realizes that the traffic alert will cause some inconvenience to residents, although it is hoped that the inconveniences can be kept to a minimum. It is estimated that the project will last for approximately three months.

Ms. Sonenfeld said she hopes to include as part of her Manager’s Report a direct response to comments made by members of the public at the podium. Last week, Mr. Cirillo asked a question about annual pension retirement costs. Ms. Sonenfeld reported that in 2013, the retirement costs to the Village were $2,524,000. The average monthly cost in 2014 is $223,000. That does not include any terminal leave payments, which are currently budgeted at approximately $420,000 for 2014.

In addition, Ms. Sonenfeld noted a very interesting exchange between Mr. Loving, Mayor Aronsohn, and Stephen Sanzari, Chief Financial Officer, which had to do with estimated third-quarter taxes. She believes there was some confusion about the tax rates. The estimated taxes were based on actual Village, actual Board of Education, and estimated County tax rates. The estimated County rate is 1.5%. The rate that was being questioned was not the tax increase, but the rate that is arrived at when the applied assessed value does not come up to the levy that is required.

Ms. Sonenfeld also wanted to respond to comments made by George Wardley, who has come to two meetings since she has been Village Manager. Mr. Wardley has a home on West Glen Avenue, and there is a drainage issue caused by a receding curb on his street. Ms. Sonenfeld pointed out that West Glen Avenue is a County road, and when the County paves, they do not address curbing issues. Ms. Sonenfeld promised Mr. Wardley that when she and Mr. Rutishauser, Village Engineer, met with County representatives, she would address the issue on his behalf, but the County did not help. The County refuses to take responsibility for the curbs, and Ms. Sonenfeld learned at the conference she attended last week that many municipalities do not take responsibility for their curbs, but make curbs the responsibility of their residents. Therefore, Ms. Sonenfeld decided that when the County does pave, the Village will work in tandem with the County and take care of the curbs as the paving is being done. This is a change of policy in Ridgewood. Unfortunately, West Glen Avenue was paved in 2009, which means that the County probably will not pay that area for another 10 years. To address the problem, Ms. Sonenfeld said that a proposal will be added to next year’s capital budget to handle any County road in Ridgewood that has such an issue.

The fourth item in Ms. Sonenfeld’s report was the matter of the tree wells in the CBD. She noticed when walking along East Ridgewood Avenue that there are many cigarette butts in many of the tree wells. There are approximately 119 tree wells in the Village, and the merchants or property owners are supposed to be responsible for taking care of them. Ms. Sonenfeld contacted the Ridgewood Guild and the Chamber of Commerce to ask if the store owners could take on some of the necessary work. She received positive responses from both organizations.

Regarding the theft of quarters from the coin room, Ms. Sonenfeld said the Village is very close to getting an engagement letter for a forensic accountant from the Joint Insurance Fund (JIF). Today, she met with the firm that has been proposed to do the forensic accounting review, and she is awaiting final confirmation with the engagement letter.

The new budget newsletter has been printed, and residents will be receiving it soon. The newsletter has a new look and feel. The Village worked with the Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) on the newsletter, and they are soliciting feedback and input from residents about the new format.

The first “Meet the Manager” meeting is Saturday, May 31, 2014, from 9:00 A.M.-12:00 Noon.

The annual Ridgewood “Touch a Truck” event will be held on Thursday, May 15th, from 9:00 A.M.-2:00 P.M. around Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. It is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Village of Ridgewood.

A sidewalk sale will be held from Thursday-Saturday, May 15-17, 2014, in the CBD.

The Bergen County Household Hazardous Waste event will be held on Saturday, May 17th, from 9:00 A.M.-3:00 P.M. in Mahwah at Campgaw.

The Ridgewood Police Department will be hosting its first Michael Feeney Junior Police Academy from June 26-July 2, 2014. The application deadline is June 1, 2014.

Finally, Ms. Sonenfeld congratulated Mike Sedon and Susan Knudsen, the winners of the Municipal Election, and said she looks forward to working with them on the Village Council.

Mayor Aronsohn said he agrees with Ms. Sonenfeld’s comments regarding paving, and he believes paving is one of the most important issues dealt with by the Councilmembers, because it encompasses public safety, as well as the quality of life. The roads in Ridgewood have taken a beating, particularly over the last year.

Regarding Garber Square, Mayor Aronsohn also agreed with the goals stated by Ms. Sonenfeld. He added that when the construction is completed, it will connect the east and west sides of town in a way that is aesthetically pleasing.

Mayor Aronsohn also liked the idea of responding directly to comments by Ridgewood residents in the Manager’s Report.

Finally, Mayor Aronsohn said the new budget newsletter looks fantastic, and is organized in a very easily readable way.

8. COUNCIL REPORTS

Citizens Safety Advisory Committee – Councilwoman Walsh stated that the Citizens Safety Advisory Committee had been talking about the work at Garber Square for many years as part of the Complete Streets program. At the last meeting, Mr. Rutishauser gave updates about how the sidewalks will change, and how the work will follow the plan that was formulated some years ago.

Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Committee (REAC) – Councilwoman Walsh mentioned that the members of REAC wanted to thank everyone for coming to the Earth Day activities. In addition, they held their essay contest, and it is hoped that the winning essay will be posted on the Village website. There was also a poster contest, and the posters will be displayed at the Youth Center.

Shade Tree Commission Councilwoman Walsh said the Shade Tree Commission has designated approximately 20 tree wells in which they want to plant trees, and they are trying to determine the best approach to cleaning out the wells. The wells cannot be dug very deeply, due to the electric wires under them. Councilman Walsh pointed out that if anyone wishes to donate a tree, a check can be sent to the Village Manager’s office payable to the Ridgewood Shade Tree Commission. A separate trust account will be set up for that purpose.

In addition, Councilwoman Walsh noted that REAC works with anything environmental occurring in Ridgewood, and she mentioned that there was a recent issue with the fish hatchery. The Ho-Ho-Kus Brook was unable to be restocked because the hatchery lost many trout to a fungus. There are other locations where people can fish, including Darlington Park. This weekend, there is the Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament at Island Beach State Park.

Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) Councilman Pucciarelli pointed out that the FAC met this past Monday, and he recommended that everyone should attend one of their meetings, if they have not already done so. Although they are shorthanded, the members of the FAC are acquiring a thorough understanding of the operations of the Village. On Monday, there was a report about the Water Utility that was extremely informative. They are no longer just trying to learn about the Village, but are now sharing with Village staff, department directors, and the Village Manager.

Fourth of July Committee Councilman Riche said that the Fourth of July Committee has a meeting scheduled with the Village Manager, Police Department, and the Village Department heads to discuss the logistics and safety issues for the Fourth of July activities. Councilman Riche encouraged everyone to come out and celebrate the Fourth of July, and to buy their tickets early.

Open Space Committee – Councilman Riche said that the Open Space Committee will meet tomorrow night.

Community Center Advisory BoardCouncilwoman Hauck said that the Community Center Advisory Board will meet tomorrow night in the Garden Room.

In addition, Councilwoman Hauck asked a question about the “Touch a Truck” event, and what will happen if it rains. Ms. Sonenfeld answered that it would be held the following day. Janet Fricke, Assistant to the Village Manager, said that a determination will be made later tonight about whether to postpone the event until Friday. However, if it rains Friday and Saturday, information will be posted on the Village website.

9. ORDINANCES

a. Introduction – #3416 – Lease of 1057 Hillcrest Road

Mayor Aronsohn moved the first reading of Ordinance 3416. Councilman Riche seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3416 by title:

AN ORDINANCE TO LEASE THE ONE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DWELLING LOCATED AT 1057 HILLCREST ROAD, IN THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, COUNTY OF BERGEN, FOR A TERM NOT TO EXCEED TWO (2) YEARS FOR ONE-FAMILY PURPOSES ONLY

Councilwoman Walsh moved that Ordinance 3416 be adopted on first reading and that June 11, 2014, be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon. Councilman Riche seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

b. Introduction – #3417 – Establish Abandoned Property Guidelines

Mayor Aronsohn moved the first reading of Ordinance 3417. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3417 by title:

AN ORDINANCE TO ADOPT THE “ABANDONED PROPERTY AND REHABILITATION ACT” (N.J.S.A. 55:19-78 ET SEQ.), AND ESTABLISH A NEW CHAPTER IN PART II OF THE CODE OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD ENTITLED “GENERAL LEGISLATION,” CREATING A NEW SECTION ENTITLED “ABANDONED PROPERTY”

Councilwoman Hauck moved that Ordinance 3417 be adopted on first reading and that June 11, 2014, be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

 

c. Introduction – #3418 – Establishment of a Green Team

Mayor Aronsohn moved the first reading of Ordinance 3418. Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3418 by title:

AN ORDINANCE TO ESTABLISH THE RIDGEWOOD GREEN TEAM AS A PERMANENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Councilwoman Hauck moved that Ordinance 3418 be adopted on first reading and that June 11, 2014, be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon. Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

d. Introduction – #3419 – Bond Ordinance – Paving

Mayor Aronsohn moved the first reading of Ordinance 3419. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3419 by title:

BOND ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS ROAD IMPROVEMENTS IN AND BY THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, IN THE COUNTY OF BERGEN, NEW JERSEY, APPROPRIATING $1,549,000 THEREFOR AND AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF $1,330,000 BONDS OR NOTES OF THE VILLAGE TO FINANCE PART OF THE COST THEREOF

Councilwoman Hauck moved that Ordinance 3419 be adopted on first reading and that May 28, 2014, be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: Councilmembers Riche and Walsh

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

 

Mayor Aronsohn noted that the general bond ordinance requires a vote of at least four affirmative votes in order to be adopted. Ms. Mailander pointed out that because it is only being introduced, a simple majority is all that is required. However, Mayor Aronsohn said he would like to get a sense of how this will proceed, because, as the Village Manager pointed out, paving is so important in the Village. Recognizing that some Councilmembers have some concerns with passing the full capital budget, the Village Manager has pulled paving out of that budget. Mayor Aronsohn is concerned that if the vote is 3-2 for the adoption of this ordinance on May 28, 2014, that means that paving cannot be done. Therefore, he asked the intention of Councilman Riche and Councilwoman Walsh regarding whether this can move forward. Councilman Riche said he would share his thinking on May 28th, but at this time his vote was that the ordinance should not be introduced. Between now and that time, he said he could review the facts and make a decision. Councilwoman Walsh commented that her feeling is that it is not possible to take an issue that encompasses many different items and start pulling items from that to try to get them approved. Her opinion on the budget is already known, and the fact is that she did not approve it. She also believes that the Village’s services have already deteriorated, and to try to stretch those services further is not a good idea. Mayor Aronsohn clarified that her position is due to the fact that she did not support the 0% tax increase budget, but she wanted to have a tax increase in the Village. Councilwoman Walsh disagreed, saying that she did not support the 0% tax increase budget, but she wanted to have further discussions about the possibility of a tax increase. Mayor Aronsohn said he wanted to have a sense of how this would proceed, because he agreed with the Village Manager’s statements about how important paving is in a community. He added that he hopes this issue will not be held hostage to a preference for a tax increase, but that Councilman Riche and Councilwoman Walsh will realize that this has particular importance to the residents of Ridgewood and support their needs.

Councilman Riche added for the edification of the public that when the budget presentation, including the 0% tax increase was made, one of the reasons he voted against it was due to the fact that it would increase the debt service by approximately $800,000 annually. Subsequently, it was discovered that the actual amount of the debt increase is $956,000, which makes Councilman Riche consider a 0% tax increase to be irresponsible.

Ms. Sonenfeld commented that, when she made the budget presentations, all of those presentations in debt service compared budget to budget, and the $800,000 figure quoted was correct. She does not want anyone to think that there was any misrepresentation. However, when the actual numbers were compared, the amount increased. Councilman Riche said he understood that the figures were correct based on the comparisons being made, but he does not believe it is in the Village’s best interests to try to maintain a 0% tax increase while increasing the debt service so substantially.

Councilwoman Hauck asked if the debt was increased in 2013. Ms. Sonenfeld responded that this was the result of issuing a bond. Councilwoman Hauck asked if Councilman Riche voted to increase the debt in 2013, and Mayor Aronsohn answered that all of the Councilmembers did. Councilwoman Hauck repeated that all of the Councilmembers voted to issue debt, and now Councilman Riche is saying that in the new budget, the debt should be decreased by paying down debt service instead of paving the streets. Councilwoman Hauck does not understand that rationale. She believes the most important thing right now is to pass a 0% tax increase, which is an aggressive and conservative path to take. Within that budget, there is enough money to pay for paving. Councilwoman Hauck believes that if Councilman Riche is adverse to debt service, he should not have voted to increase the debt in 2013. Ms. Sonenfeld pointed out that it was stated clearly in the presentations that the Councilmembers need to come up with a five-year capital plan. Councilman Riche pointed out that the Village currently has $7.1 million in unfunded liabilities for pension and retirements. There is a reserve of $479,000 backing up that $7.1 million, which Councilman Riche does not believe is a good thing. He also does not believe that adding nearly $1 million of debt service to that is a good idea. Mayor Aronsohn pointed out that the money has already been added, because the Councilmembers voted last year to increase the debt.

Mayor Aronsohn observed that there could be disagreement about whether or not there should be a tax increase, but his concern is that the street paving is being held hostage to that disagreement. He believes that Ms. Sonenfeld did the right thing by pulling the paving from the capital budget and making it a separate line item, and it should be a non-controversial thing that is supported by all Councilmembers as something that is needed and important in Ridgewood.

Councilman Pucciarelli thinks that should have been discussed when the capital budget was discussed, and it should not have been singled out as being problematic so that it is necessary to discuss it at this time. He also mentioned that the unfunded liabilities could be funded 100%, if a 100% tax increase could be laid on the taxpayers of Ridgewood. However, he believes that if taxes are going to be raised by even one dollar, there must be a sensible plan to explain why the taxes are being raised. Councilman Riche responded that after dealing with budget every year since he became a Councilmember, he has never seen a capital budget get pulled apart and voted on piecemeal, as this one is. Mayor Aronsohn pointed out that the only reason the capital budget has been pulled apart was because Councilman Riche and Councilwoman Walsh voted against the capital budget, making it impossible to pass the budget. He applauded Ms. Sonenfeld’s efforts to try to prioritize what needs to be done, and trying to ensure that the funds are available to get that done.

e. Introduction – #3420 – General Capital Bond Ordinance

Mayor Aronsohn moved the first reading of Ordinance 3420. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3420 by title:

BOND ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS IN AND BY THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, IN THE COUNTY OF BERGEN, NEW JERSEY, APPROPRIATING $1,356,000 THEREFOR AND AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF $1,290,000 BONDS OR NOTES OF THE VILLAGE TO FINANCE PART OF THE COST THEREOF

Councilwoman Hauck moved that Ordinance 3420 be adopted on first reading and that May 28, 2014, be fixed as the date for the hearing thereon. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: Councilmembers Riche and Walsh

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

 

f. Public Hearing – #3411 – Amendment to Redevelopment Zone

 

Mayor Aronsohn moved the second reading of Ordinance 3411 and that the Public Hearing be opened. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3411 by title:

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR THE NORTH WALNUT STREET REDEVELOPMENT AREA

Mayor Aronsohn announced that the Public Hearing was open.

Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, noted that when Mr. Ten Hoeve was Village Manager, he would give some kind of explanation of an ordinance that was being acted upon. Mr. Loving is aware that there was a lot written about this Redevelopment Zone, as well as a lengthy legal notice about the changes in the zone, and he asked if Mr. Brancheau could explain what is happening with the Redevelopment Zone.

Blais Brancheau, Village Planner, explained that there are two main reasons for amending the Redevelopment Zone, which was adopted in 2007. One is due to the fact that the Village Council asked, and the Planning Board recommended, that the Redevelopment Zone be changed to allow a wider range of uses. The second was to generally update the Redevelopment Plan, because it is now seven years old, and some conditions have changed in the plan, as well as other cleanup items that needed to be done. There were a lot of technical changes made to the plan that Mr. Brancheau would not characterize as substantive, as well as some more significant changes that were made.

Some of the significant changes include the broader range of uses that would be permitted, because the current plan simply copied the list of uses allowed in the B1 and B2 zones, and permits them in the Redevelopment Zone. The Village has received some criticism about the uses that are currently included in downtown zoning because they are outdated and not reflecting other, equally suitable uses, so a number of uses have been added. Some of the uses added were for assisted living and other similar residential healthcare facilities, because housing is already permitted on the upper floors in the Redevelopment Zone; permitting fast-food restaurants, because several years ago, downtown zoning was amended to permit fast-food restaurants and this merely reflects that change; and drive-in banks and pharmacies if they were located internally in parking garages. Certain uses were also eliminated from the Redevelopment Zone, including schools; houses of worship; and public utility buildings and structures. There was also some confusing language about the maximum height. Mr. Brancheau believes the intent was in the current plan to allow the parking garage in any development that was part of that to be 60 feet high, but that the properties on Oak Street, which are not proposed to be acquired, would remain at 45 feet.

The plan was also amended to change the side and rear yard requirement. This was also carried over from the B1 and B2 zones, and the normal pattern in those zones is that it is desirable to have buildings side-by-side, but the Redevelopment regulations stated that because it is a corner lot, it would only be possible on one side, not both sides. It was amended to allow the building to go right up to the property line, which is more consistent with the downtown pattern.

There were certain provisions for assisted living and residential healthcare facilities that needed to be changed. For example, outdoor use was prohibited, so no outdoor recreational areas could have been included in any redevelopment. The amount of habitable floor area per dwelling unit, which is currently 600 square feet, is not appropriate for an assisted living facility, because they use a lot of common areas, and each unit does not have the same amount of space as a typical dwelling unit. The amount of density was increased for assisted living, because it does not require as much parking; does not generate as much traffic; does not take up as much space; and is generally a lower-intensity use per dwelling unit than a typical dwelling unit. Furthermore, the current affordable housing requirements are rather loose in the current plan, so they were updated to reflect current regulations and provide greater specificity.

A reference was provided to the parking regulations in the B1 zone. An exclusion was also provided to affordable housing for assisted living.

Councilman Riche asked if this ordinance would circumvent or change in any way the process for an applicant going before the Planning Board. Mr. Brancheau responded that there was one minor change which had said that all development must go before the Planning Board, but if the Village were to develop property, public properties are exempt from site plan approval requirements. Councilman Riche asked if this ordinance would allow the competitive bidding process to be circumvented in any way. Mr. Brancheau answered that it does not change that process at all.

Councilwoman Walsh noted that Mr. Brancheau made a comment about residential density, and that the formula for determining residential density is different for an assisted living property. She asked how that was determined. Mr. Brancheau responded that currently, density is 12 units per acre. However, it was felt that for assisted living, a higher number of units per acre would be appropriate in recognition of the fact that the units are smaller and take up less space; units do not require as much parking as a regular housing unit because many people living in assisted living facilities do not have cars; and there is less traffic being generated by assisted living facilities versus typical residential housing. Councilwoman Walsh asked what the residential density is for the proposed unit. Mr. Brancheau said he does not believe there has been a maximum set, but he would get that information. After reviewing the documents, he responded that there is no maximum density set. Mr. Brancheau added that it is important to understand that while this is technically a zoning amendment, it is unlike typical zoning in the respect that the Village will own the property. Under normal zoning, the developer typically must make the plan conform to the Planning Board’s approval. However, in the case of a Redevelopment Zone, the Village owns the property, so there is a higher level of control over who can develop the property. Normally, developers are solicited to come and present their best proposals that conform to the plan, which includes an evaluation of the zoning, financial, and other aspects. If the Councilmembers do not like the plan presented, they can say no. Therefore, with respect to the density question, the appropriate density for an assisted living developer would result from a combination of factors including how much public parking is desired as a result of the Redevelopment Zone; what fits in with the financial resources available to both the Village and the developer; and how the traffic and parking needs affect the design of the project, which is something that would have to be evaluated once proposals are received. That is why the Planning Board did not feel confident in establishing a density limit at this point, but believe the issue will be resolved when the proposals are received.

Councilman Riche asked for verification that the parking element remains the centerpiece of the Redevelopment Plan, which Mr. Brancheau confirmed. Councilman Riche then asked for confirmation that one of the constraints on the number of units available for assisted living will be that there will be no residences permitted on the ground floor, and retail establishments are still required for the first floor. Councilwoman Walsh asked how many stories are being considered, if the building is allowed to be up to 60 feet. Mr. Brancheau believes five stories will be the maximum, but it will depend partly upon what is being developed, as well as the fact that it is likely that the ground floor of the parking garage will probably have a different height than the upper floors. Retail establishments will also most likely want more height than residential facilities, which will be on the upper floors. Mayor Aronsohn pointed out that because it is a Redevelopment Zone, the Village has complete discretion to accept proposals, modify them, suggest modifications, or reject them outright. Mr. Brancheau agreed, adding that the key is the desire to provide some flexibility because, unlike typical zoning where the responsibilities lie solely with the developer, in this case, a “partnership” is created between the Village and the developer. The Village will be contracting with the developer to do the actual construction. Mayor Aronsohn sees this as a great opportunity because not only does the Village have control over what, if anything, will be developed, but it can also address the parking needs of the Village, as well as gaining some additional tax revenue. Moreover, if an assisted living facility is part of the plan, it will add to the quality of life in the CBD and enhance the streetscape. Mr. Brancheau agreed, saying that a number of positive aspects have been identified, including those already mentioned by Mayor Aronsohn, as well as the opportunity to have ground-level commercial establishments; elimination of a non-conforming use in the form of the Town Garage building; cleaning up the environmental contamination in that area; fiscal benefits to be derived from the non-residential portion of the project, generating tax revenue; and the fact that developing this area to include both parking and commercial aspects will have a positive benefit on the surrounding areas.

There were no other comments from the public, and Mayor Aronsohn moved that the Public Hearing be closed. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

 

Councilman Pucciarelli moved that Ordinance 3411 be adopted on second reading and final publication as required by law. Councilwoman Hauck seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: Councilman Riche

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

 

g. Public Hearing – #3412 – Establish a CAP Bank

 

Mayor Aronsohn moved the second reading of Ordinance 3412 and that the Public Hearing be opened. Councilman Riche seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3412 by title:

ORDINANCE TO EXCEED THE MUNICIPAL BUDGET APPROPRIATION LIMITS AND TO ESTABLISH A CAP BANK

Mayor Aronsohn announced that the Public Hearing was open. There were no comments from the public, and Mayor Aronsohn moved that the Public Hearing be closed. Councilman Riche seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

 

Councilwoman Hauck moved that Ordinance 3412 be adopted on second reading and final publication as required by law. Councilman Riche seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

 

h. Public Hearing – #3413 – General Capital Bond Ordinance

 Mayor Aronsohn moved the second reading of Ordinance 3413 and that the Public Hearing be opened. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3413 by title:

BOND ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS IN AND BY THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, IN THE COUNTY OF BERGEN, NEW JERSEY, APPROPRIATING $2,836,500 THEREFOR AND AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF $2,700,000 BONDS OR NOTES OF THE VILLAGE TO FINANCE PART OF THE COST THEREOF

Mayor Aronsohn explained that the Public Hearing on Ordinance #3413 would have to be continued to be considered for adoption after the adoption of the 2014 Municipal Budget, so that the down payment money would be available. This will be at the Special Public Meeting to be held on May 28, 2014. The Public Hearing on Ordinance #3413 had been advertised for this evening, so anyone wishing to comment on this ordinance may do so at this time. Therefore, Mayor Aronsohn announced that the Public Hearing was open. There were no comments from the public, and Mayor Aronsohn moved that the Public Hearing be continued to the Special Public Meeting of May 28, 2014. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: Councilman Riche

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

 

i. Public Hearing – #3414 – Water Capital Ordinance

Mayor Aronsohn moved the second reading of Ordinance 3414 and that the Public Hearing be opened. Councilman Riche seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3414 by title:

BOND ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR VARIOUS WATER UTILITY IMPROVEMENTS IN AND BY THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, IN THE COUNTY OF BERGEN, NEW JERSEY, APPROPRIATING $2,126,500 THEREFOR AND AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF $2 MILLION BONDS OR NOTES OF THE VILLAGE TO FINANCE PART OF THE COST THEREOF

Mayor Aronsohn explained that the Public Hearing on Ordinance #3414 would have to be continued to be considered for adoption after the adoption of the 2014 Municipal Budget, so that the down payment money would be available. This will be at the Special Public Meeting to be held on May 28, 2014. The Public Hearing on Ordinance #3414 had been advertised for this evening, so anyone wishing to comment on this ordinance may do so at this time. Therefore, Mayor Aronsohn announced that the Public Hearing was open. There were no comments from the public, and Mayor Aronsohn moved that the Public Hearing be continued to the Special Public Meeting of May 28, 2014. Councilman Riche seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

 

j. Public Hearing – #3415 – Parking Utility Capital Ordinance

 

Mayor Aronsohn moved the second reading of Ordinance 3415 and that the Public Hearing be opened. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

The Village Clerk read Ordinance 3415 by title:

BOND ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO THE PARKING UTILITY IN AND BY THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD, IN THE COUNTY OF BERGEN, NEW JERSEY, APPROPRIATING $127,200 THEREFOR AND AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF $100,000 BONDS OR NOTES OF THE VILLAGE TO FINANCE PART OF THE COST THEREOF

Mayor Aronsohn explained that the Public Hearing on Ordinance #3415 would have to be continued to be considered for adoption after the adoption of the 2014 Municipal Budget, so that the down payment money would be available. This will be at the Special Public Meeting to be held on May 28, 2014. The Public Hearing on Ordinance #3415 had been advertised for this evening, so anyone wishing to comment on this ordinance may do so at this time. Therefore, Mayor Aronsohn announced that the Public Hearing was open.

Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, noted that the ordinance mentions $127,200 to be appropriated for items, but the items are not listed in the public packet. He asked if it would be possible to get a list of the items to be purchased with those funds. Ms. Sonenfeld said that would be possible, but she did not have that list with her at the time. Ms. Mailander pointed out that the list of items is found in section 3(a) of the ordinance, which states that it “includes the acquisition and installation of parking meters, multi-space parking meter units and the Chestnut Street multi-space meter unit, including all work and materials necessary therefor and incidental thereto, and further including all related costs and expenditures incidental thereto”. Mr. Loving said he did not see that list in the packet, and Ms. Mailander reiterated that it could be found in section 3(a) of the ordinance.

There were no other comments from the public, and Mayor Aronsohn moved that the Public Hearing be continued to the Special Public Meeting of May 28, 2014. Councilman Pucciarelli seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES:             Councilmembers Hauck, Pucciarelli, Riche, Walsh, and Mayor Aronsohn

NAYS: None

ABSENT:        None

ABSTAIN:       None

 

10. RESOLUTIONS

THE FOLLOWING RESOLUTIONS, NUMBERED 14-109 THROUGH 14-128, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF 14-119 AND 14-120, WERE ADOPTED BY A CONSENT AGENDA, WITH ONE VOTE BY THE VILLAGE COUNCIL, AND WERE READ BY TITLE ONLY:

 

The following resolutions, numbered 14-129 through 14-130, were considered separately and read in full:

 11. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mayor Aronsohn stated that they would again have comments from the public and asked anyone wishing to address the Village Council to come forward.

Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, concurred with the Councilmembers that the addition of direct responses to questions raised during public comments in the Manager’s Report is a welcome addition to the report. However, Mr. Loving noted that there was one question asked last week that was not answered, which was the question he raised regarding whether there would be any attempt to contact the owner the Town Garage on Franklin Avenue to inquire whether the owner would like to rent that property out for surface parking. It was revealed at last week’s meeting that the previous attempts to contact the owner about that was made in 2007, and Mr. Loving mentioned that the principals of the firm that own the property changed in the intervening years, and it might be worthwhile to contact them for that purpose. Ms. Sonenfeld responded that she had already included that as part of her next Manager’s Report, and she showed Mr. Loving a copy of a letter that was sent today to the current owners seeking their approval to utilize the property for surface parking. Ms. Sonenfeld added that after walking through the area, she noted that it needs quite a bit of redevelopment work, and she wanted to get more information about the costs associated with that work before she included it in her report.

Regarding the quarter theft, Mr. Loving asked if it had been determined that the JIF would cover any insurance claims for the Village. Mr. Rogers responded that there is an agreement for the JIF to cover insurance costs, but he believes that they will also need to cover the costs for the forensic accounting specialists to determine the actual amount of loss. He added that there is a difference between the criminal and civil aspects of this case, and one of the things that the JIF is entitled to do is to determine what the actual loss might be. Ms. Sonenfeld noted that there are two parts to this matter for the forensic accounting specialist to consider. The first is to review the documentation from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, which will not be available until after sentencing has occurred, to try to verify the amount admitted to by the culprit. The other part, which could begin sooner, is to review the Village’s accounting records. Mr. Rogers also pointed out that, although the perpetrator has pled guilty to taking $460,000, that amount cannot be used as a basis for judgment in any civil suit, but the actual amount taken will still have to be proven. Once the actual amount taken has been determined by the forensic accounting review, there can be some negotiation between the Village and the JIF.

Mr. Loving asked if the pipe at Graydon Pool will be fixed by opening day, and Ms. Sonenfeld responded that the plan is that it will be. Mr. Loving asked for verification that the pool cannot open until a method for draining it into the sanitary sewer has been found, which Ms. Sonenfeld confirmed.

Finally, Mr. Loving commented that he was at the rabies clinic earlier this evening at the Recycling Center. Several weeks ago, he attended the “shred day,” which was held at the same facility. Mr. Loving noted that some years ago, the rabies clinic was held at Graydon Pool. He is not sure why it was moved to its current location behind the firehouse, but after attending the shred day and the rabies clinic, he believes someone needs to evaluate whether events that draw that amount of traffic should be held at that location. The traffic on Glen Avenue backed up to Maple Avenue. People were traveling eastbound on Glen Avenue and trying to make a left turn into the facility, while at the same time people were traveling westbound on Glen Avenue and making a right turn into the facility. The entrance to the firehouse was blocked, and people parked in the spaces behind the firehouse, which prevented the firefighters from getting in and out. It is apparent that the facility currently being used cannot handle the volume of traffic that is generated when a special event like the rabies clinic or the shred day is held there. Mr. Loving said he could not offer any suggestion as to an alternate location, but perhaps it is a simple matter of traffic control while the events are being held. Councilwoman Hauck asked if it was just as bad last year, or if this was the first year that such problems occurred. Mayor Aronsohn responded that it was, and Mr. Loving said the last time he attended the rabies clinic, which was three years ago, he went at the beginning of the clinic, and described it as a “mob scene”. He was told at that time to attend the rabies clinic at 6:45 P.M. the next time, which he did, and the traffic and crowds were much lighter. Councilwoman Hauck said the good news is that the rabies clinic has become so successful that it has outgrown the location, and discussions are already underway regarding an alternate location.

There were no more comments from the public, and Mayor Aronsohn closed the time for public comment.

12. RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION

The following resolution, numbered 14-131, to go into Closed Session, was read in full by the Village Clerk, as follows:

13. ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Riche, seconded by Councilwoman Hauck, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 10:13 P.M.

                                                                                                _____________________________

                                                                                                            Paul S. Aronsohn

                                                                                                                    Mayor

_________________________________

            Heather A. Mailander

                Village Clerk

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