Village Council Public Work Session Minutes 20140903

A REGULAR WORK SESSION 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, SEPTEMBER 3, 2014 AT 7:30 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 7:30 P.M., and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act. At roll call, the following were present: Councilmembers Hauck, Knudsen, Pucciarelli, Sedon, 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 and asked for a moment of silence in honor of the American men and women serving in our Armed Forces, as well as those serving as first responders.

2. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

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

Justin Watrel, is an employee of the Bergen County Division of Disability Services, and coordinates the post-stroke support group in Ridgewood on Tuesdays. Mr. Watrel announced that next Tuesday, the group is sponsoring an historical portrayal of Dolley Madison, in coordination with Bergen County and the Ridgewood Post-Stroke and Disabled Adults Support Group. An actress from the American Historical Theater will be portraying Ms. Madison on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, from 11:30 A.M.-12:30 P.M. The performance will cover Ms. Madison’s life through the burning of the White House. Mr. Watrel said it is more interesting in light of the fact that last week he found out that this year marks the 200th anniversary of the burning of the White House. The actress will also take questions from those in attendance about Dolley Madison’s life. Mr. Watrel noted that the performance is open to the public, not just to residents of Ridgewood or people with disabilities. There will be a reception after the performance that will also be open to everyone. Flyers about the event are available in Village Hall, and notices have also been placed in the newspapers.

In addition, Mr. Watrel stated that the post-stroke support group is opening its program for the fall. On September 16th, personnel from the Bergen County Division of Emergency Services will come to discuss emergency programs for seniors; on September 23rd, a display will be provided by the Bergen County Zoo; on September 30th, a program by 262 Health, a health organization for senior citizens, will be held; and on October 7th, there will be another demonstration provided by the Bergen County Zoo. Mr. Watrel pointed out that it is not necessary to be disabled to be involved with his group. There are many free programs for senior citizens available throughout Bergen County, and he urged Ridgewood citizens to take advantage of them.

Finally, Mr. Watrel thanked Mayor Aronsohn and the Councilmembers for their support, as well as the support received from the Police and Fire Departments. Mayor Aronsohn thanked Mr. Watrel for his comments, as well as for inviting everyone to the Dolley Madison program.

Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, commented that Graydon Pool had a great summer, and it is a wonderful resource in Ridgewood. Mr. Loving especially likes the fact that the pool has a sand bottom, and is not made of concrete. He also noted that the water quality was excellent throughout the summer, and the ramp also looks great. Mr. Loving thanked Mayor Aronsohn and the Councilmembers for funding all of the various improvements and maintenance tasks that have been required at Graydon Pool to keep it operating.

Mr. Loving noted that he found several areas that could be improved. First, he noted that drivers do not seem to slow down at all on Linwood Avenue. Some drivers do not even stop at the crosswalk for pedestrians. Mr. Loving suggested that perhaps rumble strips could be installed in that area along Linwood Avenue to slow traffic down. Another safety concern on Linwood Avenue is that many drivers stop to discharge passengers by the crosswalk, which Mr. Loving considers very dangerous. There are plenty of “No Parking” signs in that area, and Mr. Loving asked if the Councilmembers would consider allowing “No Stopping” signs to be put up in that area as well.

Ms. Sonenfeld responded that as far as the 2014 financial report on Graydon Pool for the month of August is concerned, that review is not yet available, but it was ahead of budget at the end of July. She also noted that part of Linwood Avenue is County property, which Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer, confirmed.

Reverend Jan Phillips, 234 Union Street, said that when she founded the Ridgewood Ministerial Association, it was her intent to unite various houses of worship in a way that was supportive of each other’s mission and respectful of each other’s journey, and to provide a resource for each other’s mission. As Chairperson of the Community Relations Advisory Board, Reverend Phillips noted that they spent a lot of time at their last meeting discussing diversity, the acceptance of differences, and the civility that underscores respect. The Councilmembers’ consideration of a non-secular, privately-funded holiday display ordinance goes far beyond embracing tolerance, and embraces respect for diversity. On behalf of the Ministerial Association, Reverend Phillips thanked the Councilmembers for their initiative in these efforts.

Amy Bourque, 133 Sheridan Terrace, stated that she thinks it is the right time for the Councilmembers to move forward with a plan of action regarding the parking situation in Ridgewood. Councilman Pucciarelli thanked Ms. Bourque for her support on the parking issue in the previously-held forums, and said he would have more to say about it during his Council Report later in the agenda. Ms. Bourque pointed out that the town of Millburn recently put up a parking garage, and they were able to act rather quickly in getting it erected. Ms. Sonenfeld interjected that they actually started discussing it in 2008 or 2009, and they were finally able to get funding for it more recently. The project cost approximately $7 million, and created approximately 340 parking spots available in Milburn. She added that she and several other Village employees would be visiting Montclair, in which an externally managed parking facility was built in 2010. Ms. Bourque commented that Millburn was able to fund its garage through its Parking Utility, which made it more popular with the taxpayers, who did not have to bear the burden of paying for the garage. She suggested that perhaps that possibility could be explored in Ridgewood. Mayor Aronsohn responded that Ms. Bourque made an excellent point, and that many different options had been considered over the past several years. Most recently, Ms. Sonenfeld has been exploring the possibility of whether Ridgewood could finance and build the parking garage on its own.

Ms. Sonenfeld said she is not sure at this time whether Ridgewood could finance and build its own garage, and she wanted to get more information from Millburn and Montclair before making a final determination. She reminded everyone that the possibility of building a garage by The Gap parking lot was considered, but it was decided that there would not be enough revenue generated to support a garage at that location. Currently, consideration is being given to the Redevelopment Zone and the RFP being drafted for that area, which includes a requirement to provide at least 100 incremental parking spaces. Mayor Aronsohn is also continuing his discussions with the Bergen County Improvement Authority (BCIA), as well as other alternatives that are now being considered, such as valet parking and employee parking in the CBD, which will take many cars off of the streets. There are interim, as well as long-term, solutions being evaluated. Ms. Bourque pointed out that this is an era of convenience, where people often shop at home, or prefer to park where it is convenient for shopping. She stated that this is a great opportunity to try to get something done.

Councilwoman Knudsen asked if the Parking Utility is something that could be kept separate in terms of revenue in order to see if it would be a viable source of funding for a parking garage. Ms. Sonenfeld responded that it is run as a separate business, and she and Stephen Sanzari, Chief Financial Officer, reviewed the revenue and expense reports of the Parking Utility every month. Councilwoman Knudsen clarified that its revenue stays within the Parking Utility, and Ms. Sonenfeld answered that it does, but there are some qualifications to that. For example, the Village covered the shortfall caused by the quarter theft. However, now that the Parking Utility’s revenues have exceeded those of last year by approximately $350,000, that issue no longer exists. Ms. Sonenfeld added that the Village currently borrows at an extremely low interest rate (less than 1%), and Councilman Pucciarelli pointed out that the Village does not have to worry about land acquisition costs in order to build a parking garage, as other communities have faced. Councilwoman Hauck commented that she believes the town of Millburn also applied for grants to fund its parking garage. Councilman Sedon noted that he had been saying for many years that if the Parking Utility has surplus, that money should be placed in some type of trust fund or saved toward building one or two parking garages by borrowing against the trust fund. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if it might be feasible to put together a small committee who could visit towns like Millburn and Montclair to look at what they have done concerning their parking garages, which would eliminate some of the legwork for Ms. Sonenfeld. Councilwoman Knudsen suggested that perhaps Ms. Bourque could be a member of that committee. Ms. Sonenfeld said she believes that would be viable, and she noted that parking facilities are not simply erected without a lot of preparation, including consultants, designers, and other studies that would have to be done.

Mayor Aronsohn added that recent information revealed that Ridgewood has the busiest train station in the New Jersey Transit (NJT) system, with more than 1,500 riders per day at that station, and it also includes approximately 840 monthly passes. That makes the need for parking in Ridgewood more compelling.

Paul Vagianos, 280 Rivera Court, is the owner of the “It’s Greek to Me” restaurant in the CBD, and the Chairman of the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce. He welcomed Councilwoman Knudsen and Councilman Sedon to the Village Council, and he thanked Councilman Pucciarelli for his incredibly constructive forums on the CBD. As a restaurant owner for more than 20 years, Mr. Vagianos said he has seen this problem for a long time. However, as recently as seven or eight years ago, people in Ridgewood did not support creating more space for parking in Ridgewood. That opinion seems to have shifted, as was evidenced at the forums hosted by Councilman Pucciarelli. The Village seems to be united in its support of solutions to the parking problem in Ridgewood. Mr. Vagianos said he does not know that a solution will be found this time, because it has never been found in the past. Nevertheless, Mayor Aronsohn has given his assurance that something will be done, and Mr. Vagianos says he believes Mayor Aronsohn and the Councilmembers. He promised his support, as well as that of the Chamber of Commerce, every step of the way. Mr. Vagianos noted that it is likely that Ridgewood residents will be required to pay something for parking, but he believes everyone is ready to do that. Councilman Pucciarelli commented that the second forum was especially well-attended, and the theme of the evening seemed to be parking. Mr. Vagianos recalled that Mayor Aronsohn told him that the Village will not wait until the BCIA takes action, but that the Councilmembers are looking at other options to build a parking garage in Ridgewood. Mr. Vagianos noted that one parking deck will not take care of the whole problem, but the other options being explored, including off-site parking for employees and valet parking, will certainly help.

Anne Loving, 342 South Irving Street, said she heard Mayor Aronsohn say that Ridgewood has the busiest train station on the Bergen line, and she wondered if anyone had contacted NJT to ask if they would be willing to build a parking garage for commuters at the station. Mayor Aronsohn responded that he has had multiple conversations with representatives from NJT, as well as the Bergen County Freeholders and the head of the BCIA. At this time, NJT says they have no money, but they attended the meeting because they hope to be able to help Ridgewood move forward with this plan. NJT would benefit from such a parking plan, because it is the busiest train station on the line, and they have invested a lot into the station.

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

3. DISCUSSION

a. Policy:

1.) Holiday Display Ordinance

Ms. Sonenfeld reminded everyone that a resolution was passed in 2013 in which the Councilmembers agreed to adopt an ordinance permitting the continued placement of non-secular holiday displays in Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. This is the ordinance that resulted from that resolution.

Mayor Aronsohn noted that several years ago, the Councilmembers were approached by several Village residents about the possibility of displaying a menorah, which had not been done on public property in the Village, although it has been done in other municipalities. The Councilmembers spent a lot of time researching the issue, including the constitutionality of it, working very closely with the interfaith group in Ridgewood to solicit their advice in the process. The resulting resolution, adopted in 2013, allowed anyone to place a holiday display in Memorial Park at Van Neste Square, within certain parameters. A resolution was adopted due to the fact that Hanukkah was approaching, but the idea was that an ordinance would be adopted in 2014. The current ordinance is similar to the resolution that was passed last year. Because this is new territory, the Councilmembers recognize that it might be necessary to amend it at some point. In addition, while other towns put out their own displays it holiday times, Ridgewood is allowing outside groups and people who live in the community to express themselves with such displays in the park. Therefore, it is not an expression of the views of the Village of Ridgewood, but an expression of its community.

Mr. Rogers explained that the approach last year was that this would be a learning experience, and it should be considered a work in progress.

Councilwoman Knudsen had a question about item 9, which states that “…preference shall be given to applicants who reside or are located in the Village of Ridgewood at the timing of submittal…” She asked if there is any reason that the display would not be restricted to Ridgewood residents or organizations. Mr. Rogers answered that there are a number of constitutional issues regarding holiday displays, and it is a discretionary type of situation. He does not believe that defining a congregation, community, or house of worship in geographic terms falls within the confines of that discretion, and that is why that provision is included. The door is left open to groups or individuals from outside Ridgewood, but it makes clear that preference is given to those that are in Ridgewood.

Councilman Pucciarelli commended Mr. Rogers for capturing the essence of the discussions from 2013, and enhancing the intent in some ways. He also wanted to make it clear that the ordinance promotes non-secular displays, but it does not use the word “religious” displays. It is hoped that this will invite other beliefs and other non-secular expression, and people will be open to those other beliefs and learn from them. Councilman Pucciarelli said his only comment is about item 2. It was agreed last year that each display would essentially be a 12-foot cube, to limit the entire available space to the number of 12-foot cubes that can be accommodated in the area allotted. Therefore, if a display fits within a six-foot cube, it should still be given the 12-foot space. There should be a limit on the number of 12-foot cubes that can be accommodated to limit the number of displays that can be erected every year. Councilman Pucciarelli noted that those issues could be dealt with in the administration of the ordinance.

Councilman Sedon also had a question about item 9, wondering if the provision allows for only one display to be considered. He asked if multiple applications are received, if only one would be considered, with preference given to residents or organizations located in Ridgewood. However, if multiple Ridgewood residents or organizations wanted to occupy the same space, he wondered if preference would be given to the earliest application received. Mr. Rogers responded that, from a constitutional standpoint, the Village has time/place/manner authority, as any government entity does. It is not desirable to have, for example, eight crèches and five menorahs on display; the idea is for different beliefs to be represented, and to promote diversity.

2.) Valet Parking Loading Zone Ordinance

 Ms. Sonenfeld recalled that as the issue of valet parking was being discussed, the Councilmembers stated that certain things will be revisited as the discussion moved forward. The current discussion is about a minor change, not to the ordinance itself, but to Chapter 265 of The Code of the Village of Ridgewood, which defines valet loading and unloading zones. The proposed change is to the starting time for using the loading zones for valet parking, which is currently at 6:00 P.M., and will change to 5:00 P.M.

4. MOTION TO SUSPEND WORK SESSION AND CONVENE SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETING

At 8:09 P.M., upon a motion by Councilman Pucciarelli, seconded by Councilwoman Hauck, and carried by unanimous voice vote, the Village Council suspended the Work Session.

5. MOTION TO RECONVENE WORK SESSION

At 8:11 P.M., upon a motion by Councilman Pucciarelli, seconded by Councilwoman Hauck, and carried by unanimous voice vote, the Village Council reconvened its Work Session. At roll call, the following were present: Councilmembers Hauck, Knudsen, Pucciarelli, Sedon, and Mayor Aronsohn. Also present were Roberta Sonenfeld, Village Manager; Heather Mailander, Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.

 6. DISCUSSION

a. Budget:

1.) Award Contract – Sodium Bisulfite Solution and Sodium Hypochlorite Solution

 Ms. Sonenfeld stated that this is a recommendation to award a contract for solutions used in the treatment of Village wastewater. There were three plan holders, and two bids were received. The low bidder agreed to extend its pricing for an additional year, and their service to the Village has been satisfactory. Therefore, it is recommended that the bid be awarded to Miracle Chemical Company. This resolution will be put on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

2.) Award Contract – Purchase of Three Vehicles – Water & Streets Departments

 Ms. Sonenfeld explained that this award, as well as the next few items on the agenda, are for vehicles that were agreed upon in earlier capital budgets, and in every case, it is for replacement of older vehicles. The old vehicles are, whenever possible, being replaced with multi-purpose vehicles.

The first item is to purchase three diesel engine Ford F-250 pickup trucks. One is for the Streets Department, and the other two are for Ridgewood Water.

Councilman Pucciarelli asked if maintenance is included, and Ms. Sonenfeld explained that it is not. However, the Village has made an inquiry with Ford about maintenance.

This resolution will be put on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

3.) Award Contract – Multi-Purpose Truck – Signal Department

Ms. Sonenfeld noted that this award is under the State contract for a Ford F-350 truck with a dump body, and it is for the Traffic and Signal Division. The truck will also be equipped for snowplowing. The Village Council agreed to place this resolution on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

4.) Award Contract – Multi-Purpose Truck – Engineering Department

 Ms. Sonenfeld commented that this is for a Ford F-250 pickup truck with a utility body, another multi-purpose vehicle. It will be used by the Engineering Department, as well as for snowplowing operations. The Village Council agreed, and this resolution will be put on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

5.) Award Contract – Two Dump Trucks – Public Works

 This resolution will be put on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

6.) Award Contract – Two Interceptor Explorers – Police

 Ms. Sonenfeld explained that these two SUVs will replace current vehicles which have aged out of use. The Village Council agreed to place this resolution on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

7.) Award Contract – Disposal of Grass Clippings

Ms. Sonenfeld commented that this is a change order. She reminded everyone that a significant amount of money was allotted in the budget to handle grass clippings, due to the number of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) regulations regarding grass clippings. Apparently, 2014 was an exceptional year for growing grass. It is expected that there will be an additional 2,000 cubic yards of grass clippings to be disposed of this year. Therefore, it will require an extra $30,000 to remove the clippings. Ms. Sonenfeld assured everyone that this overage will be covered from another line item during budget transfers.

This resolution will be put on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

8.) Award Contract – Laboratory Analysis Services

 Ms. Sonenfeld noted that this award is for laboratory analysis services for the Water Pollution Control Facility and Graydon Pool. This is required by NJDEP, as well as by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Three plan holders responded, and two bids were received. The bid that is being recommended is an extension of the bid from last year, and the price is being held at the same level. These funds are currently in the operating budget.

The Village Council was in agreement to put this resolution on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

9.)  Award Contract – Water Meter Test Bench

 Ms. Sonenfeld stated that this recommendation is to award a bid for a water meter test bench, which is used to test meters. Three bid proposals were picked up, and one bid was received. That bidder is being recommended. The funds are available in the Water Utility capital budget.

Councilwoman Hauck asked if it would be possible to build the bench, rather than spending nearly $71,000 to purchase one. Ms. Sonenfeld explained that it is a piece of equipment that is needed to test the water meters, and is not like a bench for sitting. Councilwoman Hauck responded that she has seen the room where it is housed, and she cannot believe the prices are so high. Frank Moritz, Director of Ridgewood Water, explained that the Board of Public Utilities requires that every water meter that is taken out must be tested, so that thousands of meters are tested in the Village. He estimated that within the next nine months, approximately 6,000 meters will be tested under the new water meter installation program. In addition, he estimated that the bench that is currently being used is over 80 years old. Councilwoman Hauck asked how much money the Village receives for each repurposed water meter that is removed. Mr. Moritz responded that the amount is approximately $3 per meter. Councilwoman Hauck asked if there is any cost-benefit to purchasing the bench, or if there is anyone else who could test the meters, so that the Village would not have to invest in a new bench. Mr. Moritz explained that is not a question of cost benefits, but of doing what is required by law. It is expected that a new bench will last as long as the current one has lasted. He added that currently, the Village pays for outsourced testing of the large water meters, and the new bench will be able to test those meters, as well. In addition, every time a billing dispute occurs, the meter has to be brought to the facility and tested for accuracy.

Ms. Sonenfeld pointed out that this is not a taxpayer issue, because the Ridgewood Water utility pays for itself. Therefore, it has no impact on Ridgewood taxes. Councilman Pucciarelli pointed out that the Village Council also functions as the Board of Directors for Ridgewood Water, which services most Ridgewood residents, as well as residents of three other communities.

That Village Council agreed to put this resolution on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

10.)  Rejection of Bid – Co-Location of Wireless Communication Networks

11.)  Award Contract – Co-Location of Wireless Communication Networks

 Ms. Sonenfeld noted that several months ago, a bid was accepted for wireless communication networks on the Glen Avenue water tank. The Village was challenged on its bidding process, with the result that the current bid is now being rejected. The new bid will generate $220,000 in revenue for Ridgewood Water.

Councilwoman Hauck asked what the purpose of the wireless communications support facilities are, and Mr. Moritz explained that they help to support financial networks.

This resolution will be put on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

12.) Award Contract – Ridgewood Water Power Auxiliary Study

 Ms. Sonenfeld explained that this extends a contract that started in 2004. It adds money to the contract for an external engineering study to evaluate the backup power generation across the water utility. These funds are available in the Ridgewood Water budget.

Councilwoman Knudsen asked if Ridgewood Water has some type of system inventory, and Mr. Moritz responded that there is an inventory of everything owned by Ridgewood Water. However, with respect to auxiliary power, Mr. Moritz explained that it is known that during recent storm events, Ridgewood Water has had to rely on emergency services personnel, Bergen County, and other outside entities to supply what was needed. If those outside sources are not available, it creates a risk of not being able to supply water during major power outages. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if there was any particular reason why the Village did not supply the requested information to Hatch, Mott, MacDonald, the contractors for this project. Mr. Moritz answered that the project had been put on hold by the Engineering Department because some additions were still being made to the system, and it was felt that the project should wait until those were completed. The additions that were made took a long time to complete, and the project lay dormant for a while. In 2013, it was realized that the project needed to get back on schedule, and when the EPA did their sanitary survey, one of the things they noted in their findings was that there was not enough standby power to run the system during a major power outage.

Councilman Sedon asked if there was any reason why, after Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy, the work was not continued. Mr. Moritz explained that it just seemed to be a slow process in getting it back on schedule.

Councilwoman Hauck asked if any consideration had been given to how much it would cost to have the necessary power available, and whether the Village could afford it. Mr. Moritz responded that over the past several years, money has been put aside in the Ridgewood Water budget for the study, as well as to address the standby power needs. Currently, there is approximately $400,000 available in the Ridgewood Water capital budget for this. Councilwoman Hauck asked how the generators will be primed, since the NJDEP has asked about that specifically. She asked if they will be tested on a regular basis to ensure that they will work when they are needed. Mr. Moritz explained that ideally, the generators will exercise themselves at different intervals, and it is his responsibility to keep them serviced and tested. In the future, there will be service contracts so that personnel can come in and test them to make sure they are working.

The Village Council agreed to put this resolution onto the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

13.)  Extraordinary Unspecifiable Services – Pipe for Failing Storm Sewers

Ms. Sonenfeld noted that in August, a contractor from PSE&G came to install replacements gas mains, and in the course of that work, discovered that the pipe material was crumbling. Mr. Rutishauser negotiated a deal with the contractor whereby the Village would purchase the pipes, and they would be installed by the Engineering Department. The work had to be done right away, and the cost of the pipes was approximately $1,300.

Mr. Rutishauser explained that the pipes that were crumbling were made of aluminum corrugated metal pipe (CMP). It is a fairly common pipe that the Village installed for drainage projects approximately 35-45 years ago, but it has now deteriorated. Mr. Rutishauser commented that these pipes are all over the Village. At one time, there was a stockpile of the pipe, but it has been recycled. The pipe will be purchased from The Progressive Brick Company on an as-needed basis. Mayor Aronsohn asked if there is any reason for concern due to the fact that the pipe is found throughout the Village. Mr. Rutishauser said there is a reason for concern because it is part of the storm water collection system, and it does periodically have failures. If it was decided to replace all of the pipe at once, it would require a multi-million dollar capital outlay.

This resolution will be put on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

b. Operations:

1.) Secondary Market Disclosure

Ms. Sonenfeld noted that this request authorizes Mr. Sanzari to engage external services to do a disclosure audit to ensure that the Village is in compliance with the covenants of the bonds that have been issued, as well as to join the “Municipal Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative”.

The Village Council agreed to put this resolution on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

c. Policy:

1.)  Direct Deposit

Ms. Sonenfeld commented that this requires all employees to switch to direct deposit of their paychecks. This came as a result of recent legislation which states that if municipalities do not adopt this policy, any new employee that is hired must be paid by check because direct deposit will not be allowed. Ms. Sonenfeld noted that direct deposit is a good thing. Currently, there are 85 Village employees who do not participate in direct deposit. This gives the Village the ability to eventually go paperless, but that will also require updated software. The only employees exempt from direct deposit are temporary and seasonal employees.

This resolution will be put on the agenda for the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

2.)  Amendment to Residency Ordinance

Ms. Sonenfeld noted that this is a clarification to the language currently in the residency ordinance, which states that resident preference does not apply to promotions within the Police and Fire Departments.

The Village Council agreed to put this ordinance on the agenda for introduction at the September 10, 2014 Public Meeting.

7. REVIEW OF SEPTEMBER 10, 2014 AGENDA

Ms. Mailander announced that the Public Meeting would include the following Proclamations: Constitution Week; Fire Prevention Week; Declare October National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; and Declare September 28, 2014, Gold Star Mother’s Day.

Ordinances to be introduced include: Amend Ordinance 3429 – Residency Requirements.

There are no Public Hearings scheduled.

Resolutions include: Title 59 Approval and Award of Contract – Furnishing and Delivering Sodium Bisulfite and Sodium Hypochlorite Solution; Award Contract under State Contract – Purchase of Three Ford F-250 Pickup Trucks – Water and Street Departments; Award Contract under State Contract – Multi-Purpose Truck – Signal Department; Award Contract under State Contract – Multi-Purpose Truck – Engineering Department; Title 59 Approval and Award of Contract – Two Multi-Purpose Trucks – Street Department; Award Contract Under State Contract – Two Interceptor Explorers – Police Department; Approve Change Order – Disposal of Grass Clippings; Title 59 Approval and Award of Contract – Laboratory Analysis Services; Title 59 Approval and Award of Contract – Water Meter Test Bench; Reject Bids – Co-Location of Wireless Communication Networks; Title 59 Approval and Award of Contract – Co-Location of Wireless Communication Networks; Approve Change Order – Ridgewood Water Power Auxiliary Study; Award Extraordinary Unspecifiable Contract – Pipe for Failing Storm Sewers; Authorize Disclosure Audit and Participation in the SEC’s Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Initiative; Authorize Mandatory Direct Deposit of Paychecks for Village Employees.

8. MANAGER’S REPORT

Ms. Sonenfeld started with a report on the construction at Garber Square. Work there has been restarted, but it is progressing very slowly. It was hoped that it would be much further along by the time school started, as traffic will be increasing in that area. Ms. Sonenfeld noted that the Village’s options are limited. The first is to wait and allow the work to proceed as it is now, because the contractor has contractually committed to being finished by October 20, 2014. The second option is to get a bonding company involved, which could potentially involve a change of contractor. Mayor Aronsohn stated that he believes the Village needs to explore its options, because the work has been on-going for far too long. Ms. Sonenfeld pointed out that total estimate for the work there is approximately $535,000, but the contractor has only been paid approximately $72,000 to date, some of which was for materials, not labor.

Ms. Sonenfeld recalled that several months ago, there was a lot of discussion about the work being done at Garber Square, and it was said at the time that cameras would be installed at both ends of the square for the purposes of traffic analysis. She shared some preliminary results of that traffic analysis. The cameras were operating from May 30, 2014, through July 2014, although the data she provided was not from July. Police Chief John Ward stated that he logged in each day to check the cameras from May 30-June 23, 2014, and he did not see any signs of traffic delays or congestion as a result of the new lane configurations during that time. Periodic monitoring was also conducted at other times. In addition, the number of cars backed up waiting for red lights was reviewed, as well as the number of cars that were able to pass through when the light turned green. All of the data available suggests that the traffic was moving well through that area. The cameras will be re-installed shortly, so that monitoring of Garber Square can continue.

Next, Ms. Sonenfeld turned to the issue of valet parking. She said that procedures have now been established, and the first formal request for a valet parking permit has been received from Roots restaurant. A valet parking loading and unloading sign has been erected there, although it shows the incorrect time of 6:00 P.M.-3:00 A.M., which will be changed to 5:00 P.M.-3:00 A.M. As noted earlier, there will be tweaks to the procedure as necessary.

Ms. Sonenfeld reported that the Maple Park turf field cleanup began today. It is scheduled to be finished by early next week.

The North Walnut Street Redevelopment Zone RFP was issued on August 27, 2014. Opening of bids is scheduled for December 1, 2014. A pre-submission conference is scheduled for anyone who wishes to ask questions about the proposal on October 8, 2014, at 10:00 A.M. As of today, five bids have been picked up, although one of them was picked up by the Ridgewood News.

There was a FOG spill at the Water Pollution Control Facility on August 26, 2014, where approximately 200 gallons of fats, oils, and grease were released and quickly cleaned up.

Hiring for the Building Department Director is now in its final stages. In addition, Ms. Sonenfeld announced that Jane Wondergem, who was the Secretary to the Planning Board and has a lot of experience, including certification on land-use boards, will be working as administrative support for the Zoning Board of Adjustment, starting next Monday.

In her Response to Residents section, Ms. Sonenfeld mentioned that she had one of her “Meet the Manager” Sessions on August 26, 2014. One of the issues discussed was King’s Pond Park. Some of the residents along Lakeview Drive came with pictures and other data to support their requests to restore the shoreline to the way it was some years ago, including adding a trail and fixing the dam. Ms. Sonenfeld asked Councilwoman Hauck and Councilman Sedon, in their capacities as liaisons to the Green Team and the Parks, Recreation, and Conservancy Board, to discuss those issues with the residents.

As another Response to Residents, Ms. Sonenfeld recalled that sometime ago, a Ridgewood resident came to a meeting with pictures of sidewalk cafés in Ridgewood, citing encroachment issues with all of the sidewalk cafés along the sidewalks. After much discussion with Mr. Rutishauser, he and Ms. Sonenfeld will take a walk with members of the Ridgewood Guild and Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce through the affected areas to find better ways of handling the layout of the cafés in the area.

The final Response to Residents item was for the resident who complained that the Jewish holidays were not correct on the Village calendar. Ms. Sonenfeld noted that the first day for Rosh Hashanah was shown on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, because it actually begins at sunset of the previous day.

Ms. Sonenfeld next addressed the issue of Grove Street. She mentioned that there has been major dredging of the Saddle River, which is a County project. Mr. Rutishauser has some concerns about this, and has been discussing it with the County on behalf of Ridgewood. He is particularly concerned about how the dredged materials are removed, whether the permits are correct, and other concerns of that nature.

Ms. Sonenfeld attended a meeting of the Landscape Committee, at which representatives from all of the volunteer groups were present. A lot of ideas and information were exchanged.

Regarding the rodent situation, a total of 37 complaints of been received, with 50 properties being inspected. Ms. Sonenfeld stated that the Village is still advising on factors contributing to the presence of rodents, and dealing with surrounding properties. She plans to follow up to determine if residents are complying, and if they are not, abatement notices will be sent out. In talking with representatives from other municipalities, Ms. Sonenfeld has discovered this problem is not unique to Ridgewood.

The water meter installations are now beginning, and clients are being contacted to schedule those installations later this month.

Ms. Sonenfeld received an update from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office about the emails sent to Councilman Sedon’s former employer. The case has been transferred to the New Jersey State Board of Elections. Ms. Sonenfeld is attempting to get the name of someone at the State Board of Elections for follow-up.

Finally, Ms. Sonenfeld mentioned that she had a “leaf forum” today. Approximately 25 Village employees attended, representing different stages in the leaf process. The entire process has now been mapped out, and a more formal presentation will be made to the Councilmembers in several weeks. Ms. Sonenfeld mentioned that the rakers and blockers will be used this fall. Approximately 80% of the complaints received are due to the fact that leaves are left along the roads and sidewalks, which will be resolved by using the rakers and blockers. A bid has been put out to outsource leaf removal in area B in Ridgewood, which is the area with the most leaves. Further discussion on that bid will be held when responses are received. Ms. Sonenfeld believes that outsourcing area B will allow Village personnel to spend more time in areas A, C, and D, and to do a more efficient job in those areas. Mayor Aronsohn commended Ms. Sonenfeld on her refreshing approach to this issue, and looking at different ways of taking care of it. He noted that leaf removal is a key issue in Ridgewood, and getting it right is very important to residents and Village personnel.

Ms. Sonenfeld reminded everyone that tomorrow is the first day of school in Ridgewood. The Chamber of Commerce car show is scheduled for September 5th. On Saturday, September 6th, the “Coffee with the Council” event will be held from 10:00 A.M.-12:00 noon. In addition, the “Meet the Mayor” event will be that same day from 8:00 A.M.-10:00 A.M. The Bergen County Household Hazardous Waste Disposal event will also be held on Saturday, September 6th, at Campgaw.

9. COUNCIL REPORTS

Planning Board Councilwoman Knudsen said that the Planning Board has held two meetings in the past month, one dealing with historic preservation, and the other with the Ordinance 3066 subcommittee.

During the August 19th Planning Board meeting, questioning resumed with the traffic consultant, John Jar. Board members who were absent at the original meeting had an opportunity to ask their questions. In addition, Ralph Curry, a volunteer from the Open Space Committee, was questioned by attorneys who did not have the opportunity to do so during his first round of testimony. Mrs. Currie wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper taking exception to the way her husband was treated during the questioning, which Councilwoman Knudsen said was very unfortunate, and she expressed her appreciation for Mr. Curry and the members of the Open Space Committee, who are dedicated volunteers and prudent and thoughtful stewards of the open space in Ridgewood. Their hard work and tremendous efforts are appreciated.

There was also a presentation for the Lester Stable during the Planning Board meeting. The Stable is to be renovated and given added space, which is a gift from the Bolger Foundation. The Planning Board had the opportunity to review the architecture, which Councilwoman Knudsen said was magnificent. However, some members expressed concern because they had just wrapped up part of the questioning for an application pending before the Planning Board, which included part of a property that Mr. Bolger co-owns or has an interest in. Some of the Planning Board members expressed concern as to whether there was a conflict. Councilwoman Knudsen said it was her observation that the Planning Board was not necessarily approving the application, but was simply offering suggestions or thoughts relative to the appropriateness of the aesthetics and the architecture. Councilwoman Knudsen said she promised to examine a copy of the gift ordinance, which she thinks would be helpful to allay any concerns.

The agenda for last night’s Planning Board meeting included a resolution for the H-zone application, but it was postponed until September 16th. However, the Planning Board had an opportunity to review municipal land-use law, as well as policies and procedures, which was a benefit to the newer members of the Planning Board, as well as to the more seasoned members.

Historic Preservation Committee – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the Historic Preservation Committee continues with their dedication to ensuring the integrity of the CBD.

Ordinance 3066 Subcommittee Councilwoman Knudsen said the members of the subcommittee only had one opportunity to meet so far due to summer vacations. However, they have had an opportunity to thoroughly review the ordinance, and the discussion was very spirited, which has resulted in two new drafts of the ordinance. Another meeting is scheduled for this month

Mr. Rogers commented with respect to the gift ordinance and the Bolger Foundation. The gift was accepted approximately a year ago, by the previous Village Council. Councilwoman Knudsen emphasized that she wanted to review the gift ordinance because the issue was raised, and there was an expression of concern by two members of the Planning Board. However, she also pointed out that no one at the Planning Board was approving or acting affirmatively on that matter, they were only reviewing the proposal for aesthetic appropriateness.

Central Business District Open Forum Councilman Pucciarelli stated that the issue of parking garages was the theme of the August 20th Central Business District Open Forum, which was the second such forum held. Councilman Pucciarelli thanked Councilwoman Hauck for procuring the invitation from the residents of the senior housing at Ridgecrest, which was filled with people attending the forum. The next forum is scheduled for Monday, September 22nd, at 7:30 P.M., and the theme will be to hear from local business owners. It will be held at Roots restaurant, and the panel will consist of business owners who will engage in a discussion about what it is like doing business in the CBD, including opportunities, obstacles, and other such matters. There will also be an open microphone for the public to ask any questions or engage in dialogue.

Ridgewood Arts Council – Councilman Pucciarelli stated that the Ridgewood Arts Council met last week, and has formed the Ridgewood Arts Foundation, a not-for-profit entity with three trustees. The Ridgewood Arts Foundation will work alongside the Ridgewood Arts Council, but the Foundation can engage in fundraising. They will try to raise funds for artistic endeavors in Ridgewood. Councilman Pucciarelli will invite members of the Ridgewood Arts Council to a future Village Council meeting to let them speak about their plans, as well as their accomplishments.

Councilman Pucciarelli noted that the dedication of the podium to the memory of Roger Wiegand is set for 5:30 P.M. on Friday, September 5th, in the Sydney V. Stoldt, Jr., Courtroom at Village Hall.

Community Center – Councilwoman Hauck thanked everyone who helped paint the Community Center on August 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. It was truly a community effort in the sense that not only did the Community Center get painted, but it was done by members of the community. Members of the Boy Scouts prepped the room on Friday, which took several hours. On Saturday and Sunday, approximately 6-8 people worked for 10 hours on both days to get the painting completed. People of all ages were working together. Councilwoman Hauck said she hopes to find more opportunities for such events.

Landscaping Committee – Councilman Sedon stated that the Landscaping Committee looked at all of the volunteer groups who take care of the various gardens and other public areas in Ridgewood, and they now know who is responsible for maintaining the different sections. Private landscapers take care of the more visible gardens near Graydon Pool and the clock in the CBD. The only unresolved issues from that meeting include deciding who will take care of the tree wells in the CBD, and forming a subcommittee to come up with some ideas for Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. One of the ideas mentioned regarding the tree wells is the possibility of hiring a part-time worker through Project Pride or a private landscaper or seasonal workers. Those issues will be discussed at the next meeting, to be held on Monday, September 15th, at 10:00 A.M. They also plan to discuss some possibilities for fall and winter, as well as any special projects they might want to attempt for Halloween or Thanksgiving.

Councilman Sedon thanked Monica Buesser of the Shade Tree Commission for taking the initiative in getting the tree well cleaning started in the CBD, as well as the volunteers who came throughout the summer to help with those efforts. A plan is being developed to maintain the tree wells going forward.

Planning Board Mayor Aronsohn stated that the Planning Board meeting referred to by Councilwoman Knudsen was one of the most engaging, useful meetings he has attended, although they only completed about half of the things on their agenda.

Mayor Aronsohn commended Councilwoman Hauck on the appearance of the Community Center, saying that it looks great. He also commended Councilman Pucciarelli on the forums regarding the CBD, because he believes they are very useful and important as a way to get feedback on the multitude of issues.

Access Committee Mayor Aronsohn stated that the Access Committee’s annual Disability Awareness Program will be held October 17th-19th. He will give more information about this at the next Village Council meeting.

10. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

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

Lou Lembo, 721 Albert Place, said that the Grove Street cleanup was long overdue, and whatever happens can only make it better.

Mr. Lembo asked if residents were charged for the driveway aprons when the roads were paved. Ms. Sonenfeld responded that she did not believe they were, because the Village does not charge for driveway aprons or curbs.

Mr. Lembo pointed out that the Village owns a rather large plot of land at the end of his street, and he wondered if the curbs and sidewalks in that area are being rebuilt. Ms. Sonenfeld answered that she and Mr. Rutishauser were planning to visit that area very soon, and they will evaluate what needs to be done at that time.

Regarding assessments, Mr. Lembo noted that he lived in a different house in Ridgewood some years ago, and there was an assessment made and the sidewalks were being replaced by the Village. The assessment was put on his tax bill for the next 10 years. Mr. Lembo commented that having sidewalks done is quite an expense, and he wondered if it is possible to have the sidewalk assessment program done again. Ms. Sonenfeld said she would have to look into it and get back to Mr. Lembo with that information.

Jim Griffith, 159 South Irving Street, commended Mayor Aronsohn for the article on the editorial page of the Bergen Record with respect to the positive effects of unions. Mr. Griffith said he is living proof of the positive things that unions do for workers.

Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, asked for clarification about the comments made about the Parking Utility operating as a separate entity. At face value, that would indicate that all of the revenue generated by the Parking Utility goes back into that utility, when Mr. Loving believes that the purpose of setting up a utility, as opposed to an authority, is that the funds can be used for any purpose whatsoever in the municipality. Mr. Sanzari clarified that revenues generated by the Parking Utility go to the Parking Utility, and they are used for that utility. Ms. Sonenfeld added that any excess revenues generated by the Parking Utility are put into a trust fund for the utility. Mr. Loving asked for clarification that none of the money raised by the Parking Utility is used for the Police or Fire Department, or for any other Village Department. Mr. Sanzari responded that it is used only for expenses that are indirectly related to the Parking Utility. Ms. Sonenfeld explained that there are allocations, but excess revenue goes into the trust fund.

Next, Mr. Loving noted that a comment was made that Water Utility expenses are not borne by Ridgewood taxpayers, but are borne by the ratepayers. Mr. Loving stated that Ridgewood taxpayers are also ratepayers, so they are, in effect, bearing those expenses. Councilman Pucciarelli noted that not every Ridgewood resident is a ratepayer, and there is a distinction to be made between ratepayers and taxpayers.

Mr. Loving commented that he is a bit concerned that there seems to be an impression that the only solution to parking in Ridgewood is a parking garage. Mr. Loving acknowledges that there is a parking problem, but he is not confident that the solution to the problem is a parking garage.

Mr. Loving missed the August Village Council meetings, and he noted that some comments were made about coin collection at those meetings. He asked if there was any update, because he was very disturbed to hear that Bergen County took a percentage of the first payment made. Ms. Sonenfeld responded that the scheduled payment from Mr. Rica is $2,000 per month, and it is paid through the Bergen County probationary system. The first check showed a deduction of $200, which is a one-time service charge. That service charge is not credited to Mr. Rica as far as his restitution payments are concerned, and he still must pay that $200 to the Village.

Mr. Loving noted that when he was out walking with his grandson, they passed three people who are currently collecting the coins. It still disturbs him that the coins are being collected in buckets. He referred to Ms. Sonenfeld’s report in which she mentioned that she went out with the coin collectors one day, and spoke of the problems associated with collecting the coins, including the weight of the coins, which could lead to back injuries. Mr. Loving noticed that one of the coin collectors he observed had a cart, while the other two collectors had buckets. He asked why all three of them do not have carts, so that none of them have to carry the coins. Mr. Loving did some research on the Internet and discovered that the carts cost approximately $1,500 each, and he thought it would be a small price to pay to avoid the possibility of larger payouts due to injuries sustained. Ms. Sonenfeld asked for input from Mr. Rutishauser, because when she went out on the collection rounds, the young man who was collecting the coins only used a cart if he knew he was collecting coins from a lot of meters. If he was only collecting from a couple of meters, he used a bucket or can to catch the coins. Moreover, according to Ms. Sonenfeld’s interpretation of the process as explained by the young man, that is what the other collectors do as well. Ms. Sonenfeld pointed out that the overall issue is that something needs to be done about the parking meters, and it was originally thought that something would be done in conjunction with the parking study by the BCIA.

Leonard Eisen, 762 Upper Boulevard, seconded Mayor Aronsohn’s comments about the wonderful reporting done by the Village Manager.

Regarding Councilwoman Knudsen’s report on the Lester Stable, Mr. Eisen stated that Mr. Bolger is a wonderful person who has helped Ridgewood so many times, as well as other communities.

Councilman Pucciarelli also commended Ms. Sonenfeld on the RFP that was issued for the North Walnut Street Redevelopment Zone, which is very comprehensive and superior to any he has seen in a long time. Ms. Sonenfeld thanked Mr. Rutishauser; Blais Brancheau, Village Planner; and Mr. Rogers for their efforts in preparing the RFP for the North Walnut Street Redevelopment Zone.

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

11. RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION

The following resolution, numbered 14-217, to go into Closed Session, was read in full by the Village Clerk, as follows:

 

12. ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Pucciarelli, seconded by Councilwoman Hauck, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the meeting was adjourned at 9:32 P.M.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    _____________________________

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Paul S. Aronsohn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mayor

_________________________________

            Heather A. Mailander

                Village Clerk

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