A REGULAR WORK SESSION OF THE VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD HELD IN THE SYDNEY V. STOLDT, JR. COURT ROOM OF THE RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE HALL, 131 NORTH MAPLE AVENUE, RIDGEWOD, NEW JERSEY ON JULY 11, 2018 AT 7:30 P.M.
- CALL TO ORDER – OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT – ROLL CALL – FLAG SALUTE
Mayor Hache called the meeting to order at 7:31 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act. At roll call the following were present: Deputy Mayor Knudsen, Councilman Sedon, Councilman Voigt, Councilwoman Walsh, and Mayor Hache. Also present were Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney; Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; and Donna Jackson, Deputy Village Clerk.
Mayor Hache led those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag as well as in a Moment of Silence to honor the brave men and women serving in our armed forces and all our first responders.
- COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Laurie Weber, 235 South Irving Street, stated that repeated attempts by some residents to get information from the Board of Education and Dr. Fishbein about moving our school elections back to April have been met with either resistance or ignored. She feels that they have already been given ample chance to address this issue. There is currently a bill pending in the New Jersey Senate that could extend the moratorium on moving back elections indefinitely; the time to act is now. She feels that the Village Council must do what the Board of Education will not. Ms. Weber stated that the Board of Education meetings held for discussion for moving the election to November were not advertised robustly to the entire community, nor have seats coming up for re-election on the school board each of the years since the election was moved. As a result none of those seats were contested.
Ms. Weber added that at $43,000 Mr. Loncto has severely inflated the costs of holding the school elections in April which according to the County Board of Elections is more likely in the $25,000 to $30,000 range at most. The most disturbing piece of misinformation is Mr. Loncto’s assertion of declining voter turnout and what it means. She stated that voter turnout hinges on public interest; in 2010 when Ridgewood voters were concerned about the post budget cuts to certain teaching positions they spoke up and were ignored. So; they spoke with their votes and ensured a turnout at the polls commensurate with most November election turnouts. That budget was defeated thus allowing our Village Council the opportunity to save a teaching position.
Ms. Weber stated that the declining voter turnouts since then were testaments to how effective their vote can be. It’s not that voters were disinterested, they subsequently enjoyed a little more respect from the Board of Education and were once again satisfied with the next few budget proposals. She stated that contrary to Mr. Loncto’s assertion there have been no formal studies done showing the impact of moving school elections to November, but it is easy to see the negative impact this had on Ridgewood over the past four years. Moving our school elections to November only serves to take attention away from local issues in the face of more far reaching elections. The spring has proven to be the ideal time for residents to focus their attention specifically on local matters. Ms. Weber stated that we need to preserve that meaningful informed voting on a local level. No form of government can hurt you on a day to day basis like your local government can, and we cannot let these concerns get lost or confused with partisan state, and national issues. Mr. Loncto can site all the November voter turnouts he likes, but with no contested School Board seats, and no budget to vote on, our school elections have become meaningless. Ms. Weber added that checks and balances do indeed work and we should all be very skeptical of a public entity that chooses to take them away.
Mary Crevi, 814 Morningside Road, stated that she is completely opposed to moving the Board of Education elections back to April. She works at the polls at Willard School and has been doing it since 2013. People show up for the Presidential election and for the election any time there is a question about the garage, adding that they don’t show up for anything else. Ms. Crevi stated that they set up for the election on Primary Day and Council elections and very few people come in. She stated that 14 people work at Willard on Election Day, there are three districts, and they each get paid $200. She asked how many people were being employed all over the Village to man an election, adding that Willard has to get a security guard because there are two doors and there is nobody manning the California Street door. The machines have to be delivered and picked up, and ballots have to be composed and mailed.
Ms. Crevi added that the Village should be looking for ways to save money, not to spend more as taxes cannot be raised. Based on her experience, which she added was limited, she didn’t see a lot of people coming out to vote if it isn’t November. She feels that Village elections should be condensed to June and November, and it will save the Village money, and she thinks at this point that is a very important consideration. Ms. Crevi stated that if people are not happy with what the Board of Education is doing, they have the right to vote against the people that are running for election. She encouraged the Village Council to not move the Board of Education election to April because it will cost a lot of money and will result in reduced voter turnout.
Saurabh Dani, 390 Bedford Road, requested that the Village Council not take this right away to vote. He received an email from the Board of Education yesterday that alerted everyone that in today’s agenda there is an item to move the elections back from November to April. The short research that he has done shows that the Board of Education can notify the County 85 days before the election, and so there is time. Mr. Dani stated that there is pending legislation in the Senate, which if it is enacted it will remove this option, so there is a very short window to act. He stated that if the Board of Education is sincere about that, they can come to the public forum and express their opinion.
Mr. Dani stated that a resident, Dan Creed, created a poll on Ridgewood Moms and Dads (Not Free Speech) today and within the last three days, 59 people have voted on that poll to move the election to April and only six people have voted not to move it. He added that some people were concerned about security, that more elections in elementary schools are a security problem, however just one election could be a problem.
Mr. Dani stated that the called the New Jersey School Board Association (NJSBA) and they stated that if the Village has the election in November, residents can never vote on a budget. If there is an election in April, that is the only way for residents to vote. It is not the security or inconvenience, it is his basic right to vote on a budget. Mr. Dani stated that if the Village Council does not move the election to April they are not giving him the right to vote on the budget. He added that Clifton already has moved theirs and other towns are considering the move. It is not about the $45,000 cost, which is $2 per resident.
Rurik Halaby, 374 Evergreen Place, stated that he wants to support what Mary Crevi said about moving the School Board election to April, adding that it would be a catastrophe. Municipal elections should be moved to April as well, as one of the most disgusting experiences he has witnessed was to see that in the last election 28% of people voted, and it was a shame. Mr. Halaby stated that he can see special interests like these elections because the vigilantes come out in force. He stated that he was against moving the election to April as it would be an awful way of keeping people away from voting. He stated that he felt that municipal elections should be moved to November.
Matthew Lindenberg, 165 Claremont Road, stated that he and his family are 12 year residents of the Village and he is speaking for the first time before the Village Council regarding the election timing. He believes that moving more local elections to April would in fact be a step backwards when they should be taking a step forwards by moving our Village Council elections to November to coincide with State and National elections.
Mr. Lindenberg stated that cost, participation in voter turnout, the influence of special interests, and maintaining the non-partisan flavor of our elections were four factors critical to this topic. The cost of $25,000 to $40,000 to run an additional election in April were dollars that can and should be saved when the Village is trying to find dollars for other programming around the Village. He stated that the last three local elections saw terribly low voter turnout, shifting all of the elections to November allows us to gain the exposure and participation from the broader visibility that National and State elections bring with them. He added that because of that low voter turnout, our local elections have been disproportionately and very vocally influenced by the most passionate supporters on both sides of issues and candidates.
Mr. Lindenberg stated that he felt November elections will generate votes from a broader cross section of Village residents and minimize the influence of special interests. He added that he agrees that it is important to maintain the non-partisan nature of this Village Council and the Board of Education. That said, there are ample examples of success from around the State from other municipalities that have already made this change. He added that anyone claiming that spring elections maintain a small town, civil tone clearly weren’t paying attention during the last election cycle. Mr. Lindenberg urged the Council to take step forward by moving all of our elections to November rather than taking a step backwards by moving School Board elections into the spring.
Steve Kim, 291 Highland Avenue, stated that in order to residents to vote on the budget it needs to happen in April, as if it goes to November they don’t get to vote on it. Two-thirds of our tax dollars go to our schools but residents have no say in how it gets managed or allocated. Mr. Kim stated that this didn’t sound right to him, and voting power is important. He stated that the Board of Education was trying to circumvent this by not disclosing all of the details so that people don’t understand. Voter turnout is important because it is the right of the people not to show up, but it is a right that should be given to people so that if they don’t want to show up they don’t have to, but it doesn’t mean that vote should be taken away because if that is done his country wouldn’t be what it is today.
Jane Shinozuka, 825 Norgate Drive, stated that if what Mr. Dani is saying is true, that if the election isn’t moved, residents absolutely can’t vote, that is a big issue. She added that things that seem like a luxury sometimes cost extra money. She added that using the phrase “special interest groups” on the municipal level was discouraging, however that shouldn’t be the guiding principal as to whether or not to move the election. If it was a Presidential year, or even the mid-terms people are going to be so engaged otherwise that they won’t be interested in Village issues, so there are arguments on both sides. Ms. Shinozuka stated that what worries her very much is that if they want to use the last election as an example, moving it to November is going to politicize any vote which would create a lot of down ballot voting and that is something that has to be really thought about. We have to think about how we want local issues thought about, treated, and voted upon. She added that she didn’t know if it would be the end of the world either way, but she didn’t think that the relative costs should be the guiding factor. She asked if it could be confirmed whether there would be no other chance if the election isn’t moved back, as that is a very big concern.
Denise Lima, 319 East Glen Avenue, welcomed the new Village Council and stated that she looked forward to moving the community in a non-fracture way and moving fast in our decisions and working on things less and fewer things that would have more impact to the residents. She stated that when she was here in May there was talk about the Duck Pond, adding that there was news about doing improvements, and residents were very excited to see the County Park being revitalized.
Ms. Lima stated that she hasn’t received more information about the Master Plan and where the Village is with the construction of the garage and she thinks that the public is looking for a status. She added that she saw a lot of good communications about paving of roads; however, she thinks that there is still some paving of lots that people in the Central Business District are still asking about. There is so much going on, as a resident thinking about $60 million for a budget, $12 million for a garage, and the Library, all of a sudden it is a lot for everyone and that is probably part of the passion that is fueling it. Ms. Lima stated that this all has to be looked at more holistically.
Ms. Lima stated that regarding safety, there is a lot of feedback on local streets that people are still going through stop signs, speeding really fast, and where and when can speed protection be added. She asked how things can be done about the speeding, as today a tractor trailer at the corner of Northern Parkway and Linwood Avenue almost swerved to hit a pedestrian as it was speeding.
Elle Gruber, 229 South Irving Street, stated that she was a big supporter of voting of any kind, and for money to be a concern when it comes to the right to vote, she doesn’t think it is the right way to look at it. As far as the Primary is concerned, she would like to know if the political parties would be willing to give up the Primary because it costs too much money, she doesn’t think so as it is a party primary and that is how the parties determine who their candidates are.
Ms. Gruber stated that since the Board of Education vote was changed to November, she can’t remember the last time there was a contested candidate for the Board of Education. She stated that she doesn’t remember any notice being given out by the Board of Education when people can run. She added that residents have to take this back and it should be moved back to April, as cost shouldn’t even be the consideration when it comes to the right to vote. Ms. Gruber stated that a lot of people are voting by mail, which takes people away from the polls. She added that the opportunity to vote shouldn’t be taken away, and it shouldn’t be politicized by having anything to do with a party election. She urged the Village Council to take advantage of the opportunity to get the election back to April as she believes it will create more interest in Board of Education matters.
Aditya Singh, 182 Mountain Avenue, stated that he supports moving the Board of Education elections to April. As one of the highest school taxes, residents should have the right to vote on the school budget and the only way this can be done is by moving the election to April.
Lorraine Reynolds, 550 Wyndemere Avenue, stated that she supports moving the Board of Education elections to April, as Ms. Gruber had stated she can’t believe the last time there was a contested Board of Education election since it was moved to November. That aside, residents can’t vote on the budget if it is in November, which alone should be a slam dunk. Ms. Reynolds stated that was the most important reason to move the election back to April as every resident has the right to vote on the budget and they have not been able to since it was moved to November.
Pamela Perron, 123 Kenilworth Road, stated that she spoke on behalf of the League of Women Voters Water Committee. She wanted to commend the July 4th Committee, Tara Masterson, Chris Raimondi and all of the volunteers for the organizational feat they pulled off in staging the parade and the fireworks. The League of Women Voters Water Committee surveyed the length of the parade to see how many single use plastic water bottles were sold, consumed, dropped in the street, left in the garbage, or recycled and they were pleasantly surprised at how few bottled waters were in evidence at the parade.
Ms. Perron stated that instead, the July 4th Committee had set up water stations at the beginning, middle, and end of the parade route so people didn’t have to resort to plastic bottled drinks. She added that they saw many people who brought their own coolers, cups, reusable bottles, and as a result they didn’t see as many plastic water bottles as they had anticipated. Ms. Perron stated that plastic is clogging our waterways and filling our oceans, so they took this to be a sign of a small shift in our culture. She added that if they are right, they would like to thank the July 4th Committee for taking that first step in the right direction.
Martin Walker, 114 Cottage Place, congratulated Mayor Hache. He stated that following some of the arguments regarding moving the School Board elections and he thinks his main concern is to make changes that would allow the budget to be voted on by the town as a whole at the earliest possible opportunity. He added that while the excellence of our school is unquestionable, a majority of our voters should have the opportunity to decide whether Ridgewood can continue to be such an extreme outlier in Bergen County in terms of the portion of school members that it has to its overall population. Mr. Walker stated that this current system in presently engineering our elders, empty nesters, and long-term families out of the town and he thinks nobody planned it this way but that is what it has come to be. He thinks it is imperative that beyond the issue of whether people have the right to vote or not, that the majority of our community has the opportunity to be heard on this issue as soon as possible.
Mr. Walker stated that he cannot believe that anybody in 2018 would consider increasing our carbon footprint, making more space allowable for cars, and eliminate green that will never be replaced. Communities all over the Country are dealing with this, more pavement and less green is the absolute wrong way to go.
- Ridgewood Water
- Award Contract – Public Policy Consultant
Ms. Mailander stated that earlier this year the Village of Ridgewood had a trial program with Morford Drulis to gage the usefulness of a Public Policy Consulting for the Water Utility. The trial period has been completed successfully, and Mr. Calbi, Director of Operations, has recommended the approval of a one year contract with Morford Drulis.
Ms. Mailander added that in the last few months, via their services, the utility has been afforded the opportunity of meeting with key legislatures and public policy representatives in the State. Michael Drulis has developed a program that demonstrates Ridgewood Water’s leadership in the industry and initiative towards smarter water governance. This approach will aid the State and Federal governments as they tackle this issue, and will directly benefit the utility by being in the forefront of every issue.
Most notable to Mr. Calbi has been getting involved with legislative staff members and shaping legislation that otherwise would have moved forward without any industry review. Mr. Drulis’s work on behalf of the Village has helped the utility engage other likeminded utilities and organizations, which are working towards the same goal. This professional services contract is in an amount not to exceed $52,000 for one year.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that at the initial meeting she understood that the consortium that the Village would be partnering with, consisting of other municipalities that are operating their own water utilities, and would be possibly sharing in this cost. Ms. Mailander stated that she knows that the Water Utility has informally met with other like-minded utilities; however, she did not know if an official consortium had been formed yet. Mr. Calbi has been away from the office but she will find out that information prior to next week’s meeting.
Councilman Sedon questioned if there was any plan to look for State or Federal funding for upgrades that are needed for the Water Department. Ms. Mailander stated that Dan Timmeny, Business Manager for Ridgewood Water, was present at the meeting and would be addressing that concern. Mr. Timmeny stated that was one of the primary issues for Ridgewood Water that they are exploring with Michael Drulis. This past Monday, he attended a meeting with Congressman Lance and they discussed what the Federal government may be pursuing in terms of funding programs, and access to funding programs. Mr. Timmeny voiced his concern that relates to the Federal Government, State, and NJDEP and not all utilities are created equal but understanding that they will all be facing the same infrastructure and emerging contaminant challenges over the coming years and decades. He stated that setting up a more friendly, accessible stream of funding is of concern, and something Mr. Drulis is working diligently on for the Village.
Councilman Voigt stated that the Letter of Intent talks about the proposed plan and approach, and he was asking if there was any way they could add what Morford Drulis intended to deliver after a year so the Village would know what they are getting for this $52,000. Mr. Timmeny stated that could certainly be added. Included with the materials provided are some things that Mr. Drulis has already put together for legislators to get Ridgewood Water acquainted with them so that as they revisit and issues are brought to a more prominent level, Ridgewood Water wants to have a seat at the table as these decisions are being made. Mr. Timmeny added that they want to have a voice in giving the real world perspective of what it is like for a public utility and the challenges that they face. Beyond general access, it is really trying to get a seat at the table so that Ridgewood Water has the ability to offer its opinion and the best course forward on the things that they need to do to be financially sound over the long haul.
Councilman Voigt questioned if this would be voted on as a resolution. Ms. Mailander stated that it would be up for a vote next week. Councilman Voigt questioned if it was too late to ask for Morford Drulis to modify the Letter of Intent to include what the Village would be getting for the $52,000. He added that in the proposal it says “these changes have the possibility of saving Ridgewood millions of dollars” and he didn’t know where they were planning to save the money. Mr. Timmeny stated that as they look at infrastructure, mains and distribution, historically grants are made available to certain public utilities based on socio-economic factors of a community. He added that they have not been able to access some of those grants based on the relative status of the Village. Going forward, perhaps being able to push something to where those conditions do not exist, understanding that all utilities are facing this issue, or asking if a potential list of emerging contaminants is going to come out, it comes out all at once so that Ridgewood Water knows the problem that it is dealing with. Mr. Timmeny stated that if they have to install treatment at one facility, they can plan for other things that have to be done at that facility rather than having to tweak the arrangement to accommodate something else that might happen. This would create a coherent strategy from the regulators, which would provide an inside track for how to set up funding structures.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that this consultant would be hired to provide a service for Ridgewood Water, and questioned how it was going to change the Water Utility employees’ time. Mr. Timmeny stated that Mr. Drulis’ work and skill set is entirely in addition to the workflow that the utility is already doing. Mr. Drulis’s ability and access to legislators now, all of the meetings that they have been having, are not things that have been done in the past, so it is in addition to the current workflow, rather than removing any employee work or responsibilities from the day to day. Councilwoman Walsh questioned if Morford Drulis would be the Ridgewood Water representative at the table. Mr. Timmeny stated that Mr. Drulis is our representative, and offered an example where he organized the group with Congressman Lance, who put together a policy memo which was provided in advance, individual issues were spoken, and Mr. Drulis was the moderator of that discussion. Mr. Timmeny stated that Mr. Drulis is acting on behalf of the Village of Ridgewood.
Councilwoman Walsh clarified that Mr. Drulis was not acting as a lobbyist. Mr. Timmeny stated that he did not know what Mr. Drulis was registered as, but here he is a Public Policy Consultant for Ridgewood Water and its individual issues. Councilwoman Walsh questioned if there was any formal method for the Village Council to get input to Mr. Drulis to speak on the ratepayer’s behalf. Mr. Timmeny stated that he didn’t know if that had been explored. Ms. Mailander stated that he is speaking on the Village’s behalf already, as he has put together pamphlets to get to the legislators. She added that Mr. Drulis represented the Village before the Assistant DEP Commissioner in attempting to get a meeting with the DEP Commissioner, and Mr. Drulis was the one pushing the direction effectively to get the meeting. Ms. Mailander stated that Mr. Drulis is absolutely representing the concerns and interests of Ridgewood Water with this legislation which affects all utilities, however small. She added that the legislators don’t realize how the regulations would affect Ridgewood Water and by getting in front of them, they are understanding better what it means for a smaller utility and what those concerns and challenges are. Councilwoman Walsh requested copies of what Mr. Drulis has been handing out.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that when she met with Mr. Drulis it was very helpful to understand that he was not in the day to day operations, as he was in Trenton and Washington navigating complex issues that necessarily Ridgewood Water would not have access to. As a smaller utility, the larger utility, Suez, had all of the power, pull, and say. Ridgewood Water was essentially being lost in the shuffle. She added that Mr. Drulis was giving Ridgewood Water a very real voice. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that she didn’t know how it was possible to provide deliverables as it is a fluid situation and you don’t know how these things will move forward.
Mayor Hache questioned in building the consortium, what the criteria would be as they would likely be teamed up with similarly sized utilities, and asked who was part of this group. Mr. Timmeny stated that they have been casting a wider net and looking for public utilities in the area but also having conversations and meetings with utilities in Central New Jersey. Mr. Drulis has access to utilities in Southern New Jersey as well. He stated that they were looking at the public utility route, as they were forced to operate within the same global context unlike what the for-profit entities do. On Ridgewood Water’s end, the shared concerns are more impactful if they can deliver that with a unified voice, which has been the goal behind establishing the consortium. Mr. Timmeny stated that those conversations have been ongoing, as they have established a line of communication about a specific issue or best practice, but it is casting a wider net for public utilities in New Jersey. He added that so far it has been mostly local participation but they are looking to cast a wider net.
- Award Contract – Professional Services – Eastside Reservoir Improvements
Ms. Mailander stated that proposals were obtained and pricing was for the design, construction, and administration of the improvements at the Eastside Reservoir and site located in Ridgewood. Proposals were solicited from the ore-qualified engineering firms and T&M Associates was the lowest cost proposal at $57,000. This is critical that these improvements are made to this tank as it has to be completed by July 15, 2019 as per Administrative Order of Consent to the USEPA. Ms. Mailander stated that this was the last of nine tanks that will be rehabilitated under this order.
- Award Contract – Well Improvements – Linwood and Cedar Hill Wells
Ms. Mailander stated that this project consists of drilling replacement wells for the Linwood and Cedar Hill #3/4 facilities, abandoning/capping the existing wells, testing and well production. Respectively these existing wells have been out of service since 2005 and 2006. Together they represent a daily capacity in excess of one million gallons of daily production. The existing wells must be abandoned by January 15, 2019 as per Administrative Order of Consent by the USEPA.
Ms. Mailander stated that this was the third time that Ridgewood Water had gone out to bid for this project, previously the other two times the proposals came in above the engineers estimate. Since this last bid, the engineer of record has investigated the factors and determined that the price bid by the bidder this time was within approximate market conditions and is 6% less than the last bid. It is in the amount of $392,000 which includes a $50,000 allowance for any unforeseen field conditions, netting the price of the base contract work at $342,000. This is fully funded through the Water Utility.
- Purchase of Ridgewood Elks Club
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village Council would be considering the purchase of the Ridgewood Elks Club at the next meeting. This is for the headquarters of Ridgewood Water, which would allow them to bring those who are in the water area at Wortendyke in Midland Park here to Ridgewood. Administration, those at Wortendyke, as well as Glen Avenue would all be at Ridgewood following this potential purchase. They would not be getting rid of the facility at Midland Park, however there would not be staffing there any longer. Ms. Mailander stated this would also allow the Chemist and lab people to come to Ridgewood as well.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that the Ridgewood Elks Club would be purchased solely for the Water Utility. An appraisal was done, and they are purchasing it for $200,000 more than the appraisal. The Village also has to add an additional $1.5 million to renovate the property, so they total cost is about $3 million. There is a plentiful amount of Class A and Class B office space throughout this Northern New Jersey region, and she didn’t think they should be buying the Elks Club to house 30 employees and it would be a bad move on the Village’s part. Councilwoman Walsh added that with some of the conversations that they have had in closed session regarding the Water Utility, she thinks this is probably not a smart idea to do at this time.
Councilman Voigt stated that he had some additional concerns regarding the space that would be vacated by the Water Department, and what the Village would be doing with that space. He questioned if that vacated space was part of the cost of this project, due to the cost of renovating. He added that it would be nice to know what the all-in cost is of doing this and the ramifications of the things that happen as by-products of the purchase. Councilman Voigt stated that his concern was that they didn’t have a handle on the overall costs of all of this.
Councilman Sedon stated that he didn’t think there was ever any discussion about $3 million dollars of renovations, but he thought the amount was $500,000 for renovations. Ms. Mailander stated that there wasn’t a specific number, but the thought process was in the range of $500,000 to $700,000. Councilwoman Walsh stated that in closed session the $1.5 million number was said. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that she didn’t ever recall that number, but nonetheless, she was very supportive of this purchase as consolidating and the efficiencies that would result would be incredibly beneficial. She added that the footprint study and the deficiencies that are in the Village Hall for its own day to day operations, this frees up that space and at some point down the road that will have to be calculated as to who is going to get that space and how it will play into those allocations.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen added that she sees this as hugely beneficial as it provides an opportunity to have a hands-on conservation program in the Elks Club as the new home of Ridgewood Water. Mayor Hache questioned whether the actual costs could be provided to the Village Council. Ms. Mailander stated that she would provide those numbers. She added that this is the last contiguous piece of property for this municipal campus, which would allow the Village to expand to the Elks Club property which is an advantage. Councilwoman Walsh clarified that the use would be solely for the Water Utility.
- Revisions to Valet Parking Ordinance
Ms. Mailander stated that there were some minor changes proposed to the valet parking ordinance. One is that the Police Department would have the ability to check licenses of the valets. The other requires valet operators to cover the signage for the loading zones when they are not in use, and if they wish to use valet parking prior to 3:00 P.M. they should seek written permission from the Village Manager. Valet operators would be required to keep a log of employees and their driver’s licenses, and have this available to the Police Department for review. Also, valet parking operators would be prohibited from charging the public for using their services.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she had her first Chamber of Commerce meeting this morning, and valet, parking, and the garage were all topics of conversation. One of the major conversations was regarding valets and what is the master plan of valets because there was one property owner that contended that Roots valet has cost them almost $40,000 in business. Another one contended that it dried up the majority of their business because of the lack of parking for their businesses. Councilwoman Walsh was asked to come back to the Council colleagues and ask what the whole plan is for the valet. She added that there has to be a master plan for the valet because they have to be fair across the board.
Mayor Hache added that there was a lot of concern raised at the Central Business District Advisory Committee as well, but he thinks it is really important to go out and survey all of the businesses. He stated that they were hearing from a handful of people who have suffered because of this, but the Village Council needs to understand what would work better for everyone. Mayor Hache added that this would be discussed at CBDAC and they would hopefully come up with some additional ideas.
Ms. Mailander stated that this ordinance was for the minor changes which she thought were important for the existing valets at Roots and Park West.
- Overbrook Road Parking
Ms. Mailander stated that Overbrook Road between North Van Dien Avenue and Northern Parkway on the weekends and in the evenings due to sports practices has become very congested. People are driving quickly to get athletes to their fields. Currently, there is parking on both sides of Overbrook Road which creates a narrow corridor which creates a concern that perhaps it is not large enough for an emergency vehicle to fit down that street. One individual is recommending that we allow parking on one side only, with no parking on the other side.
Ms. Mailander stated that Sergeant Chuck and Chris Rutishauser, Village Engineer, weighed in on the issue, as well. Cars are generally moving more slowly because the roadway is narrower. It is a possibility that Heermance Place could be used as a drop off/pick up for Stevens Field. No Stopping or Standing instead of No Parking could be put into place. Ms. Mailander stated that her recommendation would be to go to the neighborhood to propose One Side No Parking, and have the neighbors weigh in. Although the individual who sent this email may be in favor of it, they don’t know how the other neighbors would feel. This would affect service people who come to the area as well, and even the residents themselves. She asked whether the Village Council was in favor of this, and a survey would be mailed to the residents to see what the consensus is.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that having corresponded with this resident, and having experiences on Overbrook, that cars are pulling into the nooks of driveways to allow other vehicles to pass, creating a very narrow corridor, and it is a little nerve-wracking. She agrees that a public outreach has to be done in that neighborhood to see what everyone is interested in. She thought that perhaps a couple of residents from each of those area streets should be put together an ad-hoc to think through these issues to get everyone’s feedback and then do the outreach to the public.
Councilman Voigt questioned who would receive the survey. Ms. Mailander stated that it would go to Overbrook Road to see who was in favor, and questioned if the Village Council was in favor of doing one side No Parking. Mayor Hache stated that he thought the first step would be serving Overbrook Road and the surrounding area. Ms. Mailander stated that most of the surrounding area has both sides No Parking. Councilman Voigt questioned what would happen to the overflow parking. Ms. Mailander stated that was what Sergeant Chuck had indicated when he responded, as it would push the issue further out. She added that if there was one side parking, that may allow some to park, and then in addition, they could explore the Board of Education, to possibly allow Heermance Place as a pick up/drop off for Stevens Field.
Mayor Hache questioned if North Irving Street would work well with one side parking. Councilman Voigt stated he didn’t know what the parking situations were like on the surrounding streets, but their comments should be included as well. Ms. Mailander stated that most of the surrounding streets don’t have parking which was why people were parking on Overbrook, but they would make a map to show the parking situations on those streets and bring this back in August. In the meantime, the neighborhood could be surveyed. Mayor Hache stated that he thought it was giving the options of eliminating parking on one side of the street, and then possibly looking at some of the side streets in the area that could handle one side parking as well.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that in the Pomander instance, all parking was eliminated, and so all of those vehicles shifted to Sherman. In this instance it’s a little different because some parking is still allowed, but she thought it was important that there is a balance to everyone shouldering the same burden. Unfortunately, when people live in the vicinity of the parks this is the good and the bad. She added that from her own experience it was impossible to drive down that street.
Councilman Sedon stated that he would strongly suggest going out to everyone on Overbrook Road, because given past experiences when changes are enacted to parking you may find that some people want it but most people don’t. He would like to give everyone the opportunity to make suggestions or give their thoughts on the situation.
- Parking Meter Rates/Hours and Kiosks
Ms. Mailander stated that Mr. Rooney, Parking Utility Director, would be coming up. She added that as Deputy Mayor Knudsen had indicated when the bond ordinance was introduced for the parking garage at the reorganization meeting, she indicated that she wanted to have a funding mechanism in place so that it can be paid for through the Parking Utility. Ms. Mailander stated that Mr. Rooney, herself, Chief Luthcke, Captain Lyons, Jim O’Connell, of the Signal Division, and Sergeant Chuck met and discussed the various options. In speaking with the Police Department as well as Traffic and Signal, the recommendation that came from that group discussion was the meter hours should be 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and seventy-five cents an hour on all meters. There should be four additional parking kiosks, two kiosks being placed at the entrances to the Cottage Street lot. This would allow the Village to see how the kiosks operate in two Parkmobile zones. The other location for the kiosks should be on North Broad Street, which has many more spaces and would allow them to see exactly how it works on a longer stretch of street. The thought is that the kiosks would be placed midblock, and then there would be stickers on the meters with arrows showing where the kiosks are.
Ms. Mailander stated that the parking meter heads would be removed from Cottage Place as well as North Broad Street. The kiosks do accept cash or credit card, and Parkmobile can be used as well. If the Village Council is in agreement the plan is to introduce the meter and hour ordinance at the Public Meeting next week and then have it adopted in August and effective September 4, 2018.
Councilman Sedon stated that the kiosk seemed to be working well in the Chestnut Street lot, which was why it was being expanded, and questioned if the overall plan was to move to kiosks throughout the Village. Mr. Rooney stated that his proposal was to go another six months, adding that by putting the kiosks in the street and on the lots they could see if this was something that worked well and they could move forward with.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that she was glad that the kiosks were to be placed on North Broad Street, adding that she felt it was important to have this funding mechanism in place because they need to know where the money is coming from. She stated that the kiosks are brilliant, they are up 20% in the Chestnut lot and anticipate that will be added revenue as well in the additional locations. Deputy Mayor Sedon stated that once before when the meter rates were increased the meter head cups couldn’t hold the increase in coins. Ms. Mailander stated that question was asked and she was told that the existing cups should be fine. Mr. Rooney added that he would also be able to change the rates on the meters relatively quickly as well.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that there was a discussion about the meter rate increases at the Chamber of Commerce meeting. They wanted her to relay that they are opposed to increasing the meter rates at this time, that there was a strong concern that other shop owners are not having their employees park in the employee spots and it is causing challenges on the major arteries where there is parking in front of the buildings. Councilwoman Walsh stated that the only way to solve that is through even stricter enforcement. She added that the Chamber members wanted her to invite Chief Luthcke and the Village Manager to the next meeting because they are at the point where they feel that strict enforcement will fill the coffers quicker than an extra quarter per hour. Councilwoman Walsh stated that she told the members that the employee parking was created, they were given twenty five cents an hour and it sat vacant, and the Village bore the brunt of the empty spots. She reiterated the Chamber of Commerce concerns.
Councilwoman Walsh added that it has been a struggle because this was done for every business that has employees that could have parked in these lots, but they felt that a joint message from the Village Council and the Chamber of Commerce that will go out to all of the members of the Chamber and all property owners that there would be strict enforcement would do better than raising the rates a quarter.
Mayor Hache stated that he was shocked that was the position of the Chamber of Commerce because he had that discussion numerous times there. The idea of parking enforcement as a way to fill the coffers is a bit silly because the understanding all along is that there will be a need to raise the meter rates to pay for a garage. He stated that the pushback that he heard from the Chamber was that the Village needs to get tougher on enforcement in order to keep the employees off the streets and get them into the lots. Mayor Hache stated that the problem with enforcement is that it could push people out of town who they want to come into town to shop. He never heard anything from the Chamber of getting tough with employees telling them to go into the lots and staying off the streets. Part of what is missing here, in terms of those incentives, is the parking pricing differential between on-street parking spots and those in the lots. He added that the on-street parking would be premium spots and should command a higher price and then look for ways to make the parking spots in the lots a bit cheaper. The idea not to raise the rates, but rather start enforcing more in order to finance a $12 million bond is crazy.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that the other topic that came up at the Chamber of Commerce meeting was that it was the repeat offenders, and if they pay by e-ticket there is no escalation. Chief Luthcke stated that there were some people that had been gaming the system, because the Village had gone to the electronic ticketing. So, if they pay it the same day they receive the ticket, it is before it goes into the courts system to hit the higher fines to know that it is progressive. She stated that there were some people who got multiple first tickets, and some have actually been caught at their tenth, eleventh, twelfth ticket, but it is with the new system.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she told the Chamber of Commerce members that the Village Council would like nothing more than to get the message out to all of the employees and all of the shop owners that they should have their employees in the lots because their customers are the most important thing and they should want them to have ease of use. She stated that the members reiterated that the employees are some of the worst offenders of parking on the street with repeat parking.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen questioned the ten, eleven, twelve ticket offenders who were finally caught. She stated that it wasn’t an enforcement issue; this was just a blatant disregard for rules as they don’t care. She added that this has been done since before 2015, and every single time the Chamber representatives have come before the Village Council and stated increase the meter rates and extend the hours to build the garage, they have understood this all along. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that if this funding mechanism isn’t in place and the Village doesn’t make that money in the Parking Utility then that is going to have to come from the taxpayers. She added that you cannot go back to the taxpayers if you don’t have a vote on the bond which was defeated already June 1, 2016. What is going to happen is its going to come out of the regular budget and that means a cut in services to our residents. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that the Chamber of Commerce members understood this all along going in. They pushed for a garage, and now it is the Village Council’s obligation to protect the taxpayers by increasing the meter rates and extending the hours. She added that it is a theft of service by using those parking spaces and waiting until the Parking Enforcement Officer is in the vicinity and that the Village Council should put in place an ordinance that nails those people because that is theft.
Councilman Sedon stated that he was shocked that the Chamber of Commerce would come out and say that they are opposed to meter rates because this was something that they had been talking about since 2014. The Village can’t pay for a garage if it doesn’t increase the rates. He added that he agreed with Councilwoman Walsh, that the Village bent over backwards for the employees by cutting the rates to twenty five cents an hour and then had to take parking spaces back because nobody was using them. His thought is keeping the lots and garage at fifty cents an hour and raising the meter rates to a dollar on the street. Councilman Sedon stated that there was discount and dedicated parking for the employees, and there seems to be a problem with employees parking on the street, but by changing the rates he thought it would take some of the pressure off and some of the spots that have been allocated may actually be used.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen questioned why the shoppers who visit downtown would be penalized with a dollar for the meters and still the employees who are not using the lots when the Village gave it to them for a quarter. She stated that the amounts should be the same throughout.
Mayor Hache stated that the usual argument has always been between the retailers and the restaurants when it comes to extension of the meter hours. The retailers say they are penalized because meters run the hours that they are open and when the town comes alive at night the restaurants get free parking for their customers, so he was shocked at what Councilwoman Walsh had to say. Councilwoman Walsh stated that it was a very lively discussion as there has to be a happy medium. The Chamber of Commerce does a wonderful service for the Village and we wouldn’t have a downtown but for the Chamber members and all those who run the shops downtown. She stated that she told the Chamber that she was more than happy to talk to the shop owners and businesses that were the worst offenders to help them get themselves into the lots, but she did state that the meter rate increase was to go to the Parking Utility to pay for the garage and that the Village Council was committed and would have a garage if all goes well by November of next year. Councilwoman Walsh stated that she told the Chamber of Commerce that these were problems that could be addressed, but this is all part of the puzzle. She added that the behavior has to change.
Councilman Voigt questioned if the public would be educated as to the effective dates of this. Ms. Mailander stated that there would be an e-notice; it would be on the website, social media, and newspapers. Councilman Voigt added that he seemed to agree with several other Councilmembers on differential pricing, adding that places closer to the train station should be higher and moving east they should be less. He stated that it would encourage people to park away from the congested areas. Councilman Voigt questioned whether North Walnut Street would remain at twenty five cents for the employees. Ms. Mailander stated that everything would be seventy five cents; however, employees could still purchase the hang tags for CBD employees. Councilman Voigt asked when the kiosks would be up and running. Mr. Rooney stated that it would all be up by September 1st.
Mayor Hache questioned Mr. Rooney regarding engaging Walker again following the recommendation of Acacia Financial, the financial advisor that was retained for the funding of the garage, asking if he would walk the Council through the different scenarios that Walker would be bringing back to the Council. Mr. Rooney stated that Acacia had come back with six financing scenarios as far as the debt service and how it would be structured during the bond. Four were chosen in the direction that the Village would possibly take, which were brought to Walker to have them build into their projections. He added that Walker was asked to take a look at the rate structures with various factors to see the impact. They were also asked to build in a capital maintenance reserve so that the Village would bank some money to keep it in good condition to get that 50 year life that the engineers think could be achieved.
Councilman Voigt questioned regarding the kiosks, looking at the Walker Report, would there have to be some incremental revenue from that transition. Mr. Rooney stated that Walker would be asked to incorporate that; however, unfortunately there isn’t much of a history as there is only a short term that the increase is seen, and Chestnut only had Parkmobile before, not the meters. He added that they could ask Walker to build in a factor that with the kiosks there is an additional 1-2% to be conservative. Mayor Hache stated that the Village doesn’t have the history, but other municipalities that use kiosks have found that when they do the comparisons that there is about a 20% increase in revenues because you are not giving away free parking with the meter that is still running with time in it.
Ms. Mailander stated that the thought was that the Village knows there needs to be an increase. So, if they did seventy five cents across the board now, effective in September, then have Walker come back with the report looking into different scenarios, the Village Council can determine for January, or even later, when they want to increase the rates again and how it would be done. Mayor Hache stated that if the Village Council was talking about increases in September this only places the Village two months off the mark from the initial recommendation of the Walker Report that was received in February that the increases start in July.
Ms. Mailander stated that the second part was the Walker Report which is $16,400 for them to do that part of the report which includes $1,000 in expenses, which would be a resolution for the Village Council to adopt next week. Councilman Voigt questioned when the revised report would be received. Mr. Rooney stated that the plan was to get a draft August 1st, but hopefully he would be able to present it mid-August.
- SHPO Determination on Train Station Parking Lot
Ms. Mailander stated that the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) indicated that the Ridgewood Train Station is individually listed in the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and in the National Register of Historic Places. The proposed project will add approximately 35 additional parking spaces and reduce the landscaped central island. This was an original feature of the train station complex and referred to as a park in historic maps; however, it has been significantly altered over the years.
Ms. Mailander stated that they gave SHPO several options, and they preferred Option 2 which depicts a landscaped central island fourteen feet wide, with a straight edge of sidewalk lined with trees, with a darker gray concrete finish with seven supplemental light posts. SHPO finds that this is the most compatible with the historic Ridgewood Train Station site. It retains more of the island, and the darker finish of the sidewalk diminishes its appearance and is preferable as there was no sidewalk there originally. Finally, Option 2 proposes installing a line of lampposts along the perimeter of the island evocative of the original design of the landscaped area. Therefore, they indicate that the Application for Project Authorization for the Ridgewood Train Station Landscape Reconfiguration is in keeping with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standard for Rehabilitation. This application does not constitute an encroachment on this historic property.
Councilman Sedon stated that he was ready to move forward on this as the Village has been waiting for months to hear from SHPO, and it still maintains a safe passage for people to get to the train station and provides additional parking, adding back most of the parking that was taken away when it was reallocated to shoppers and diners from Hudson Street.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that she wanted to thank Chris Rutishauser for all of his work, adding that it was interesting that the original walkway was never approved by SHPO. The existing walkway was never approved by SHPO and this was more compatible with what the expectation would be from an historic perspective. She added that she was happy to see some benches. Ms. Mailander stated that there was a lot of back and forth and additional information that was needed by SHPO to make this determination, so she had to thank Mr. Rutishauser.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that they had done a very preliminary estimate on what it would cost to construct Option 2 and the number is about $300,000 which gains approximately 38 spaces. In keeping with some of the earlier discussions with the Council, a standard width of nine feet was maintained for the parking spots along the island. The depth was shortened by two feet, so they are considered compact spaces, but there is the width to comfortably open the doors. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they were also looking at putting in a couple of benches along the walkway. He has spoken with Age Friendly Ridgewood, adding that they were very good at keeping their populations needs and how they walk about the Village in the Engineer’s mind when it was designed. The three options that were presented to SHPO each had a sidewalk in some configuration, and the one that was approved was the one where it would have to be tinted to as dark a color as possible. Lighting was approved for pedestrians to help them see where they have to go.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen questioned the color of the concrete, and the color that SHPO chose. Mr. Rutishauser stated that SHPO was surprised at what was constructed there; however, there was an historic specialist on their team that was supposed to interface with SHPO. Now after a lengthy period of time there is an approval to go forward.
Mayor Hache went over the options, and Mr. Rutishauser explained the differences in the options that were designed for the Ridgewood Train Station. Councilwoman Walsh stated that the Citizen Safety Committee wanted to get a look at the options, but since the meetings are not timed appropriately, she asked that he email the options to all of the members. Councilwoman Walsh stated that she is a commuter, and her concern is adding more cars to an already congested lot. The configuration is a bit different as the spots are going from angled to straight which is supposed to be a safer. Mr. Rutishauser stated that an angle space is easy to pull in and out of, but that at times makes the motorist sloppy. Turning it into a ninety degree space is a more deliberate motion encouraging drivers to take more care.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that this would be a traffic pattern change and appeared narrower where people tend to double park waiting for a pickup. Mr. Rutishauser stated that there were still the aisles that circulate around at twenty two feet wide, or two eleven foot lanes. If people are going to stage to pick up a spot or a loved one, they will still be able to do it if they pull along either side. The configuration is not changed at all from the end of the island to the train station. Councilwoman Walsh questioned what were the markings that would be on the actual road, as she was hoping that people wouldn’t think that they could back up and go out the entrance creating two way traffic. Mr. Rutishauser stated that circulation arrows would be applied on the ground, and a couple of one way signs would be at the tail ends of the island to show motorists which way to go. As they circulate around, there could be a Do Not Enter sign to advise them to continue straight northward and not just to make an immediate left. Councilwoman Walsh stated that the changes in the other sections may lead people to confuse directions. She added that she has never seen anyone use the walkway. Mr. Rutishauser stated that Age Friendly Ridgewood said that their population uses the walkway frequently.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that the lighting will add a very different feeling to the walkway, which will probably cause it to be used more. Councilman Voigt questioned Mr. Rutishauser if trees would be added or taken away. Mr. Rutishauser stated that there were approximately fifteen deciduous trees presently. They will be removed as most are in extremely poor health following an analysis by the Village Arborist. Along the island and along the western side they will be planting Red Oaks, because that is the tree that was shown in some of the historical drawings to have been planted in that location. There are some remnant oak trees there currently but they are at the end of their lifespan.
Councilman Voigt questioned how they would prevent larger cars from parking in the compact spaces. Mr. Rutishauser stated that at some point in time before this project is finished he would be presenting an ordinance to the Council to make it a violation should they park a certain size car in a compact space. He added that the only difference between a compact space and regular space is two feet in depth. Councilman Voigt stated that he would imagine that at the high times when people are coming or leaving that it would be a bit messy in the lot. He asked if there would be a traffic assessment with this project. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he anticipated there will be a learning curve, but what they have found from previous studies at the train station is that the user base is pretty consistent. In years past, he had done two surveys on whether train station commuters wanted to switch to a pay-by-space meter or pay-and-display meter and he was astonished how many residents that use that facility at that time were very much in favor of maintaining the status quo of feeding the meter with quarters. They expressed that waiting for someone on a line to pay at a kiosk would cause them to be late for their train, as they had their commute planned to the second and did not want anything that could impede that. Mr. Rutishauser stated that the additional spaces will create a larger user base, but that he thinks they will adapt quickly.
Councilman Voigt questioned whether the parking would be for commuters all day. Mr. Rutishauser stated that it would be hang tags and pay the meter, unless the Village Council decides that other parking users could utilize those spaces. Councilwoman Walsh added that it was not necessarily commuter, but it could be someone going into Hoboken for lunch but is a resident with a resident sticker. Mr. Rutishauser stated that as long as they comply with the governing regulations of the lot it didn’t matter which direction they travelled.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen questioned how long this project would take from start to finish. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he didn’t have a firm answer but he would like to present it to our current paving contractor. This year the Village has an excellent concrete sub that has been working in the Village and has a large crew. He stated that he would like to ask them if they would like to do this project, and if that is the case they would discuss with Ms. Mailander a Change Order, approved by the Council, which would be the most expeditious way to get the project completed. If it was bid out, it wouldn’t be until the latter part of the fall when the construction would take place. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that the expeditious route would be more beneficial because this is the time to do this project in terms of timing. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he knows from talking to the inspector, the curb crew has to go to Belleville in mid-August, and the Village will keep them busy until then. He added that he wanted to see if the contractor agrees that he wants to do this work as a Change Order and perhaps they could do the concrete and curb work before going to Belleville or give the Village a time shortly thereafter.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that he wished to acknowledge his Assistant Engineer, Jovan Mehandzic, who did a terrific job getting the drawings done in a short time frame and helping with the options that were presented to SHPO.
Councilman Sedon questioned what kind of car Mr. Rutishauser was envisioning would fit in the compact spots, as a lot of SUVs could fit in a two foot shorter spot, but perhaps a large full size extended cab giant truck wouldn’t fit. Mr. Rutishauser stated that there would be length criteria of sixteen feet, and an ordinance would be prepared for the Council’s consideration prohibiting vehicles that exceed that size. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that her car is relatively short, so if she typically parked in a regular space she would go over to compact to open those other spaces for larger vehicles. Mr. Rutishauser stated that was what a conscientious motorist would do.
- Award Contract – Purchase of 2018 Utility Vehicle – Emergency Services
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was requesting funds to purchase a 2018 Ford F450 Modified Utility Vehicle to replace a 2000 Chevrolet 1500 Pickup. There was a committee from EMS consisting of Deputy Chief Ryan Savaria, a Special Operations member, and Chief Lillo who went through this and put together a specification for the new vehicle. They found that this would be the best fit for them, and it is being purchased through the Houston-Galveston Area Council Cooperative Purchasing Program. The price for the vehicle is not to exceed $118,000. It will take approximately eight months from the date the order is placed until it is delivered. Ms. Mailander stated that the Chevy Pickup that is being replaced has no trade in value so it will be put into the fleet to be used.
Councilman Voigt questioned if the Village pays tax on this purchase. Ms. Mailander stated that the Village does not pay tax on any purchases.
- Amendments to Contract – Security System at Village Hall
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village has a contract with Secure Watch and these were a few additional items which are being added to the project. Replacement of a screen to conform to existing space including wall mount and cables, group training, alarm controls consisting of stainless steel electrical plates, an additional ten licenses for existing cameras some which will be cameras for the new kiosks, and cameras for pilot program kiosks and replacement of non-conforming cameras. That is a total of $45,141.52. This is necessary to move forward.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that the maintenance agreement is being added now, and she was wondering why it wasn’t on the original paperwork. Mr. Rooney stated that in the original agreement the Village was offered the option to have a maintenance agreement but they didn’t have a chance to evaluate what benefit it would be to have them support the ongoing service. It was determined that this was something that could not be done in-house as it would take hiring additional people to be on-call every time something happened. It was concluded that if one of these systems went down during the night or the Police needed access to it, this was the best way to do it. Mr. Rooney stated that he felt that it was well worth the support that the Village would be getting out of this.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen asked whether the additional ten licenses for existing cameras that are being converted would be covered as well. Mr. Rooney stated that was correct, and just to note, they proposed a five year rate on maintenance, but they are not allowed to go that far according to State law, so it was narrowed down to two but the rate was kept the same.
- Award Contract – Self-Contained Compaction Unit – Recycling Department
Ms. Mailander stated that this resolution was for the purchase of a self-contained compaction unit under the National Joint Powers Alliance Cooperative Purchasing System. This would be for the Recycling Center which currently has a packer truck that is there for the collection of corrugated cardboard. Having this self-contained compaction unit will save money in fuel, cut down on vehicle idling, and will free up the valuable piece of packer equipment/truck currently being used. Ms. Mailander stated that this is in an amount not to exceed $35,000 and was in this year’s capital account.
- Award Contract – Snow Plowing Services
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village went out to bid and received two bids, from ConQuest Construction and Downes Tree Service. This included hourly rates, various equipment and services. ConQuest Construction was the lowest bidder for all line items the bid requested. They are out of Westwood, New Jersey, and are the ones who have plowed for the Village for the past six years. The Village will see how much we have to use the sidewalk clearing bid in the event that Village staff is unable to handle a particular storm event. Ms. Mailander stated that the total was in an amount not to exceed $120,000.
- Award Contract – Sale of Compost
Ms. Mailander stated that every year Lakeview Compost Facility sells the compost in September to clean out the area so that the new leaves can come in. Downes Tree Service (DTS) Trucking has been collecting the compost for the past several years. There are approximately 10,000 cubic yards available. They are quoted in accordance with New Jersey Statute which allows the award of a contract for the marketing of recyclable materials without bids, and the Village will be paid $25,000 for the compost.
- Award Contract – Leaf Collection Services
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village went out to bid and received two bids. The low bid was $92,460 from DTS Trucking who has done it in the past. This work is to augment the Street Division’s leaf collection efforts by having a private contractor collect the leaves in Section B of the Village. The recommendation is to award the contract to the low bidder.
Mayor Hache stated that in the budget it was approved for an expenditure of extra machinery that would eliminate the need for one of the leaf contractors and asked if that impacted this at all. Ms. Mailander stated that the contractor would be needed again this year as the claw that takes up the leaves has been very helpful but this year they couldn’t do away with the contractor. Hopefully in future years they would be able to reduce the area the contractor does.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that this was just beginning a few years ago and her recollection is it was just around $62,000. Ms. Mailander stated that the first year the company didn’t know what they needed to do, and as they have done it for several years they are more aware of what was involved. Now they know that it takes additional staffing and additional work and this is probably more in line with what their true costs are. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that every year it has gone up in a big jump. Ms. Mailander stated that she would provide the numbers, but the first year she didn’t think they realized what the job entailed. Mr. Rutishauser stated that last year the amount was in the high $80,000 range; however, one of the reasons there was a slight increase in costs is that they rewrote the bid document and made it much more comprehensive. Just last year, they noticed that when the street was done, it was not as clean as they would like it, and there wasn’t strong language in the contract to obligate the contractor to clean up. Mr. Rutishauser stated that contractors were given the option to collect the leaves with loaders and dump trucks or with leaf vacs to try and open up the interest in bidding. Unfortunately, there were only two basic bidders.
- Award Contract – Asphalt Repair and Patch/Curb and Sidewalk Repairs
Ms. Mailander stated that this includes repair and restoration of sidewalk slabs, driveway aprons, patching of trenches with stabilized base asphalt mix, and concrete curbs. J. Fletcher Creamer Construction was the low bidder. This is the second year of a two year contract and have agreed to renew it with no change in pricing. They have agreed to renew for a second year with no change in price, and is in an amount not to exceed $150,000. Ms. Mailander added that this work is to restore the streets when there are trenches dug.
Councilman Voigt questioned where the $1,267 mentioned in the document came from. Ms. Mailander stated that amount was the aggregate amount of all the unit items.
- Release of Escrowed Funds – Stop & Shop Supermarket
Ms. Mailander stated that the Stop & Shop project is now complete, and there is $14,354.50 of escrow funds that can now be released.
- Award Contract – Vehicle Emergency Equipment – Fire Department
Ms. Mailander stated that this contract was awarded to Regional Communications in May or June, for Police, Fire and EMS. The Fire Department did not get the information to the Village Council soon enough, so this is for the Fire Department. Regional Communications were the supplier for the past two years for this kind of equipment.
- Award Contract – Hot Box Asphalt Repairs
Ms. Mailander stated that this contract was for a hot box, which is a truck-pulled trailer that maintains a load of asphalt at a high temperature for patching potholes and provides for a better quality patch. This is through the National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance, the Timmerman Equipment Company, in the amount not to exceed $44,200.
- Ridgewood Senior Citizen Housing Corporation Pilot
Ms. Mailander stated that this is an annual resolution for the pilot for the Ridgewood Senior Citizen Housing Corporation. In lieu of paying taxes, the Housing Corporation pays an annual service charge to the Village for municipal services. This charge is 6.28% of the annual gross revenues, plus the cost of sanitary sewers and solid waste collection and disposal. The Village, by ordinance, also guarantees their timely payment of principal and interest due on revenue bonds issued by the Bergen County Improvement Authority. For this, the Village receives an annual reimbursement of $25,000.
- Resolution for Costs of Mailing Tax Sale Notice
Ms. Mailander stated that this resolution was for the Tax Collector to be allowed to substitute two mailings of tax sale notices in lieu of two legal notices. It also permits her to add $25 per mailing to the amount sold at tax sale, which she expects to take place in October.
- Award Contract – Partial Roof Replacement – Village Hall
Ms. Mailander stated that in the recent heavy rains during the spring, a lot of leaking through the roof took place in the Violations Department. When it was inspected, it was realized that the roof cannot be patched. There were twelve plan holders who picked up packets, and seven bids were received. The lowest bid is $122,650 from Advanced Roofing and Sheet Metal Company of Belleville, New Jersey.
- Award Contract – Vegetative Management – Crest Road
Ms. Mailander stated that some of the Village’s trees were removed at the View on Crest Road recently through Downes Tree Service. This contract is for a continuation of that work. Close to the wall there is a lot of vegetation and this is to take a mower head and mow down that area so that it is level with the wall. Some of the vegetation that looks like young trees is actually weeds. This is a proposal at $3,050 for one day and if they need a second day it will be an additional $2,000. If the Council agrees to do this, once it is approved they will select a day and notify the people on Crest Road and Hillcrest Avenue below the date it will take place.
- Appoint Municipal Humane Law Enforcement Officer
Ms. Mailander stated that the Municipal Humane Law Enforcement Officer is required by State Statute and makes this individual(s) responsible for the enforcement of all animal welfare or animal cruelty law in the State and ordinances of the Municipality; and the investigation and signing of complaints concerning a violation of an Animal Welfare or Animal Cruelty Law of the State or ordinance of the Municipality. All cases of this will be heard in Municipal Court and the fines shall be distributed in accordance with the directives of the Administrative Office of the Courts’ guidelines.
Ms. Mailander stated that this was the ordinance to establish the position, and then they would have to appoint the Municipal Humane Law Enforcement Officers and as was mentioned in June, they are representatives of TYCO who are the Village’s Animal Control Officers currently. She thought there were three or four individuals who were being designated and would be sworn in as Municipal Humane Law Enforcement Officers. After the ordinance is adopted, they will be appointed through a resolution.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen thanked the representative of TYCO for all that they do, especially for the safety of the bear that was in the Village.
- Amend Ordinance on Outdoor Cafes – Enforcement
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village would like to designate multiple people within the Village to enforce. That would include the Village’s designated Code Enforcement Officer, the Village’s Director of the Department of Public Works, the Fire Code Official, as well as the Police Department and Fire Department. The Code Enforcement Officer has been out already during the day to notice some infractions, and she is issuing some summonses. In addition, they did have the Police Department going around at night. Similar to water infractions, there will be various people going out at night as well to see the setup because Ms. Mailander herself has noticed a lot of them have encroached onto other real estate and screwed things into the sidewalk. So, there are several violations out there which will be addressed.
- Proposed Zoning Amendments – Encroachment of Stairs, Front Yard Setback – District B2
Ms. Mailander stated that this ordinance should come back internally for additional discussion before coming back before the Village Council in August.
- Residency Requirement for Civilian Positions
Ms. Mailander stated that Deputy Mayor Knudsen asked for this to be on the agenda. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that back in 2014 the residency preference for civilian positions was removed and the first change was rejected by the State of New Jersey Civil Service. It created an ordinance that had a Bergen County contiguous county and New Jersey State, which violated Civil Service rules. It had to be either the tier of Ridgewood, Bergen County, State or straight up State, and so, because of that on civilian positions that excluded Public Safety positions. Doing that, any jobs that became available, for example Clerk/Typist, went Statewide as opposed to first showing a preference to our Village residents. She stated that back then, Councilman Sedon and she made an argument to retain the residency preference for those civilian positions. Our residents know our neighborhood, streets, and town. So, if someone can do the job and they are a resident of Ridgewood certainly that job should be made available to a resident first.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that she was interested in bringing back the residency as a preference. Someone has to be qualified for the position but it shows preference to a Ridgewood resident, then Bergen County, then State, as opposed to just advertising all of our jobs within the municipality Statewide. Mayor Hache stated that once the Village has exhausted the list of residents that would apply for those jobs, then it would expand to the County and eventually to the State.
Councilman Sedon stated that his position on this had not changed. He thought it should be brought back as if there was someone who was more qualified for a position they do not have to hire the Ridgewood resident, it is just a preference. Ms. Mailander stated that the only instance in competitive titles, the ranking would be residents, then County residents, and then State residents, so all residents would have to be exhausted before they moved on.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that it was important to note that if someone was more qualified, but in fact there is always going to be someone more qualified, but they are talking about someone who meets the qualifications of the position and everything being equal a position would show preference to a Ridgewood resident. When advertising for a job you have to meet certain criteria, and then they would just be showing preference. So, if there isn’t an eligible candidate within Ridgewood, then it would go to the County and then State.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that she works in Human Resources and this was a topic that has been coming up as the salary rates are changed within the State. This is coming into scrutiny because there is a minimum qualification for a job and there are individuals who are more qualified and the more qualified is where there is a grey area. She added that the Village would really need to define what “more qualified” or what “preference” means because it could be subjective based on who is doing the hiring. Councilwoman Walsh stated that she was working on this at work, and there are minimum qualifications and then there are different gradings of other qualifications, adding that she had samples she could provide. She added that there has to be some system for the Village so if they are challenged they can refer back to what is meant by “more qualified” or “preference.”
Ms. Mailander stated that in the specifications it gives the requirements for education and experience, so as long as they meet the minimums, they will qualify. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that the Civil Service defines the criteria of what qualifications are required for a position. She said that if someone meets the qualifications, adding that she didn’t say that someone is necessarily more qualified or less, they have to meet the requirements that are outline. She added that it would be helpful to have the samples that Councilwoman Walsh offered to provide.
- Return School Board Election to April
Ms. Mailander stated that as indicated in the Statute, the School Board Election can be returned to April by referendum by a petition by the public, by a vote of the Board of Education, or by a vote of the governing body. If this is something that the Village Council wishes to consider, it would be effective next April, so there would be an election in November, and then one in April 2019.
Mayor Hache stated that it was important to provide some context. Before 2012, all of the School Board elections statewide were held in April, and that was when residents could vote on the candidates for School Board as well as tax proposals. That changed in January 2012 when former Governor Chris Christie signed legislation that allowed districts to move their School Board elections to November, Ridgewood moved their School Board elections to November at this time. It is important to note that districts that hold the November elections do not have to put the budget up to a vote, which was one of the concerns that was raised earlier, as long as they stay under the 2% cap. Deputy Mayor Knudsen added that they had to stay under the 2% cap or qualify for the exemptions.
Mayor Hache stated that a lot of arguments have surfaced as to whether the CAP banks have managed to keep property taxes lower or higher. This is being brought up now because there was a moratorium on changing the elections back for four years, and then it was extended for an additional two years. That moratorium expired May 31, 2018, so it is time to talk about it. There were a lot of comments from many residents that were not pleased with the BOE budget this year and felt that they didn’t have a voice or say in the process. Mayor Hache added that the other issue was some of the transparency around the deadline to file for candidacy for the Board of Education. He stated that if the election is changed back to April it doesn’t impact the November election, it would push up the November 2019 election to April 2019, which would shorten those Board members’ terms by about six months.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that some of the issues that came up in 2016 when she and the Mayor had a meeting with the Board of Education and were concerned that the packets for the Board of Education Trustee were not being advertised on the Board of Education website and it was asked that they advertise so that individuals knew the filing deadlines, but there was some level of satisfaction with having the School Board Association advertise. So, in 2017 and 2018 it was asked again. During this time, the Board of Education seats have remained uncontested, primarily because nobody is looking on the State School Board Association website to see the filing deadlines or if there are open seats. It’s not that there is any opposition to the current Board members; it is just a robust conversation and an opportunity to really discuss issues and concerns. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that back when the vote was in April, the League of Women Voters held candidate debates and it was an opportunity to have a dialogue about budget issues, educational issues, keeping teachers, and delivering budget funds to the proper places. There was a lot of interest in April and May to have this moved back.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that there was a discussion with the Board of Education to consider this, at which meeting Ms. Mailander was present. The Village Council hadn’t heard anything and it has been learned since, that Clifton has moved their elections back to April. It wasn’t a matter of how many people came out and voted; the issue was that those people who came out and voted were actually more informed than those people voting the same time in November. It seems everything was getting lost in the shuffle of State and National politics.
Councilman Sedon asked whether Ms. Mailander knew the number of people who actually voted in the last Board of Education election. Ms. Mailander stated that she didn’t have that number, but there was a Special Election one year in November where unfortunately one of the Council people passed away. It was found that for Council elections, because of the way that the County lays out the ballots, the candidates look like they are in party lines. So, that does away with the non-partisan feeling. She added that it was found that 40% fewer people voted the bottom of the ballot than voted the top of the ballot. Councilman Sedon stated that he would venture to say that he didn’t think that participation would go up drastically. He listed all of the elections that take place in November. Ms. Mailander added that a lot of people vote the top part only.
Councilman Voigt stated that he was not in favor of moving the election to April. He provided some statistics, stating that Ridgewood in the November 2012 election 71% of people voted adding that these numbers came from the State website. In May 2014, 20% of residents voted for the Village Council; in November 2014, 47% voted in the election; in May 2016, 34% voted for Village Council; in November 2016, 74% voted. His concern is that the Village is getting less participation in May versus in November, and we certainly want our residents to participate in the voting process. Councilman Voigt stated that his thinking is that people who are voted for on the Board of Education deserve a chance. They have suggested that they will have a September Open Public Forum to talk about this, and he thinks it is a good idea. He is concerned that the Village will end up getting less people voting for something that is important. His thinking is that even on the Village Council side, he thinks that the elections should be moved to November as well so that more people can participate in the elections.
Councilman Sedon stated that he felt that some of Councilman Voigt’s numbers were misleading as in 2012 and 2016 it was a Presidential election so obviously there would be a 70% turnout because most people come out for that election. Councilman Voigt stated that 2.5 times more people turn out to vote and it is staggering. Councilman Sedon stated that was why he asked the number of people who actually participated in the School Board election. He would wager that the vast majority of people who voted for President in either of those years did not vote for the Board of Education.
Councilman Sedon stated that during this past election he knocked on almost 1,600 doors, and the majority of questions that he received were: where is the garage; and, what is he doing about taxes. Councilman Sedon stated that two-thirds of residents’ taxes go to the School Board and there is nothing that can be done about that. He thinks that residents, if they so choose, should have a voice in that.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that at first look, the November elections gets more voters out and there is always talk about wanting more people to be involved in the process. She had a conversation with her teenage daughter who is going off to College to be a Political Science major asking for her opinion. They discussed the budget, and she asked why everyone shouldn’t question the Council vote on the Village budget, as well. She stated that if you are a person that is involved in the Village, they are going to come out to vote. The November election gets a lot of people that are out just to vote. The bigger question is if there is an April election with 1,000 really involved voters who know the issues, but in the November election there are four times that amount, are you not doing the right thing by moving it back to April. Councilwoman Walsh stated that she was on the fence as to what was the better way.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that every single member that is sitting on the Board of Education ran uncontested over the past few years because there is no advertising. Not until the election is upon us does she ask who is running. She stated that the Board of Education President, Vince Loncto, called her over the past few days and she told him that he didn’t advertise, and yesterday they finally put it up on their website. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that she told Ms. Mailander to add it to the Village website, as well. More importantly, why don’t they then scrutinize the Village Council Budget. The answer is, very simply, that there is no provision in the law to do that, but there is a provision in the law that permits a vote on the Board of Education budget if the election is held in April. She added that Mr. Loncto told her it should be a conversation in the Fall because everyone is on vacation. Her response was that they were advertising the packets on a New Jersey School Board Association website and the petitions on July 30th when everyone is away. That drives the point as to why it might be a good idea to move it back to April.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that there was a window of opportunity to make this change, as it has to be done no less than 85 days prior to the April election; however, the moratorium expired May 31, 2018. There is legislation in the Assembly now that would put that moratorium back in place. There is a window of opportunity to engage in a taxpayer and voting concern and she thought it was an important discussion. Councilwoman Walsh asked whether all of the School Board members were for or against moving the election. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that some of the details that were provided in her conversation with Mr. Loncto went back to the minutes of 2013 when that was changed and when they had this three meeting open forum. What they learned was that two former Board of Education members thought it should be moved to November. One resident stated it should be moved to November because of that 2% cap they couldn’t beat up the residents on taxes. She added that one resident took no position, and four residents stated that it was an important vote and should be kept in April. The Board despite that, voted 4-1 to move it to November. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that there was more people today who said to move the election.
Councilwoman Walsh asked if the Board of Education could be invited to speak before the Village Council next week, adding that she didn’t know what their feelings were about moving the election. Mayor Hache asked that they be formally invited for the meeting next week. Councilman Voigt agreed it was a great idea. Councilman Sedon asked for the number of people who specifically voted in the School Board election in the past couple years. Ms. Mailander stated that in other towns they have noticed that fewer people vote the bottom of the ballot. Mayor Hache stated that he was sure the Board of Education would have the data on the voters as well.
- Licensing Sellers of E-Cigarettes
Ms. Mailander stated that this was discussed in June. Dawn Cetrullo, Health Officer and Director of the Health Department, wrote a memo stating that she would like the Village Council to adopt the ordinance to license the sellers of the e-cigarettes and related products. Thirty New Jersey municipalities have already done so. She is recommending the fee for an annual license at a rate of $1,200 per establishment with a pro-rated fee for licenses purchased after July 1st at $600. Ms. Mailander stated that Westwood and Princeton currently charge the $1,200 fee. The money obtained through the licensing fees will be used to conduct inspections at the locations, including compliance checks for selling to those under the age of 21, as well as the other requirements regarding the sale of these products. Money will also be used for educating parents with pamphlets. There are six businesses who sell the vapes and e-cigarettes; Rite Aid, Speedway, Exxon Tiger Market, Quik Stop, Stop & Shop, and Cordially Yours.
Mayor Hache stated that one of the things that had been discussed was how our anti-smoking policy, near schools particularly, and public areas did not include ESD’s because they weren’t around during the time that they were written. So, they would need to update that ordinance, as well. Ms. Mailander stated that would be done, and that maybe they would use the Westwood ordinance as a basis. The only thing that they did is that they prorated the $1,200 fee quarterly, but Ms. Cetrullo indicated to Ms. Mailander that they were planning to inspect these establishments at least twice a year so she indicated the prorated rate to $600 after July 1st because it is still the same amount of inspection that has to be done.
- Amendment to A-Frame Sign Ordinance to Allow Displays
Ms. Mailander stated that this was discussed in June and is one that will be held and discussed internally and revise. The Code Enforcement Officer and Zoning Officer want to review the ordinance more closely so that they know it can be enforced once adopted. It will be brought back before the Village Council in August.
- National Cooperative Purchasing Agreements – Sourcewell
Ms. Mailander stated that the National Joint Powers Alliance which is a cooperative purchasing organization that the Village belongs to has changed their name to Sourcewell. Mr. Rutishauser has drafted a resolution to formally acknowledge the name change and also to authorize the Village Manager to execute any agreements required by the name change.
- Schedler Field Design
Ms. Mailander stated that the Schedler field design was presented last December. It was discussed and the Ad-Hoc committee worked on this, as well as Councilman Hache and Councilman Sedon. Councilman Sedon stated that nothing has changed since December, so this was procedural to memorialize the consensus that was agreed to among the committee members. At the meeting, they arrived at a consensus to include a field which would be most beneficial and suited to the young athletes needs with a 75 yard x 50 yard field. He stated the field would be closer to West Saddle River Road to provide the maximum number of trees between Route 17 and the neighborhood. The berm with a tree lined top was also included and approved. Restoration of the house, a 44 space parking lot, and a children’s playground is to be included, as well as two bathrooms with an overhang in case there is a storm or lightening. Councilman Sedon stated that there is a walking trail that meanders around the parking lot and up into the northeast corner and comes back along the wider side of the property and meets up with the sidewalk on West Saddle River Road. The entrance will be closest to Terhune Road because that gave the maximum area to slow down after coming off Route 17 to safely turn into the parking lot. Councilman Sedon stated that Option A was what everyone agrees upon.
Councilman Sedon stated that there were sub-committees who spoke with the sports groups, and with the neighborhood residents who were well-represented on the committee. This would be memorialized through a resolution and then that gives a blueprint to move forward. The next steps would be to include the utility hookups for the bathrooms and sidewalk, and from there continue to advance this project until its completion which would take several years. The recommendation has been and still is that the Village Council accept this design. Ms. Mailander stated that the resolution would be prepared for next week.
- Ordinance – No Left Turns on to Franklin – In/Out Starbucks
Ms. Mailander stated that there was an issue with people making a left hand turn into Starbucks drive-thru and then when they are exiting making a left. According to the Zoning Board of Adjustments approval there should be no left hand turn in or out. In addition, there is an issue with the queue for Starbucks going down Franklin Avenue. The Police Department has recommended having an employee in the parking lot to be able to direct people into the two lanes as there is enough space for 20 cars total. Ms. Mailander added that there really should be no queueing, so it is just a matter of the employee directing them.
Councilman Voigt questioned whether the Zoning Board put together a resolution for the Starbucks Drive Thru. Ms. Mailander stated that they had and it included no left turn in or out of the lot. They were supposed to have a traffic consultant come back after six months or one year to look at it and she isn’t sure if that was ever done. She asked Sergeant Chuck and he recommended that they start with the employee in the parking lot to get the people in there to see if the queuing issue, which is also becoming a traffic issue, may be resolved. Councilman Voigt asked whether Ms. Mailander could provide the resolution that was passed on this. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that she understands it was a one year lookback.
- Do Not Enter Signs – Maple Exit at Jersey Mike’s
Ms. Mailander stated that at the Jersey Mikes exit on Maple Avenue a lot of people are making a left or right off of Maple into the exit. There will be an ordinance that turns are not permitted.
- Amend Ordinance – Issuance of Notices on Dead Trees
Ms. Mailander stated that this amendment was to allow various Village employees to address property maintenance issues and notify residents of hazardous trees and undertake enforcement actions, if necessary. This would add the Code Enforcement Officer, as well as others, so there would be several departments and divisions that can enforce this and be able to issue citations for the trees to be removed if necessary.
- Interim Health Officer Coverage
Ms. Mailander stated that this was discussed in the Spring and a resolution was adopted. The Health Officer of Fair Lawn will cover the Village of Ridgewood Health Officer and vice versa in cases of illness or use of leave time. There was no mention of there not being a charge to either municipality for this interim coverage, so this change mentions that.
- REVIEW OF JULY 18, 2018 PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA
Ms. Mailander stated that this was a review of the July 18, 2018 Public Meeting Agenda.
Resolution for Ridgewood Water: Award Contract – Public Policy Consultant; Award Professional Services Contract – Eastside Reservoir Improvements; Award Contract – Linwood and Cedar Hill Wells; and Authorize Purchase of Ridgewood Elks Club.
The following ordinances are scheduled for introduction: 3653 – Amend Valet Parking Ordinance; 3654 – Establish Position of Municipal Humane Law Enforcement Officer; 3655 – Amendments to Zoning Ordinance – Encroachment of Stairs, Front Yard Setback in B-2 Zone; 3656 – Establish Licensing of Sellers of E-Cigarettes; 3658 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – No Turn on North Maple Avenue into Exit Driveway of 305 East Ridgewood Avenue (Jersey Mike’s); 3660 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Parking Prohibition on Portion of Overbrook Road; 3661 – Amend Ordinance – Enforcement for Dead/Dangerous Trees; 3662 – Amend Outdoor Café Ordinance – Enforcement; 3663 – Amend Parking Meter Rates and Times.
Resolutions include: Award Contract – Vehicle Emergency Equipment – Fire Department (NTE $25,000); Award Contract – Vegetative Management – The View at Crest Road (NTE $5,050); Award Professional Services Contract – Meter Rates and Times for Funding for Hudson Street Parking Garage; Title 59 Approval – Snowplowing Services; Award Contract – Snowplowing Services (NTE $120,000); Award Contract – Purchase of Compost Material; Title 59 Approval – Leaf Collection Services; Award Contract – Leaf Collection Services (NTE $92,240); Title 59 Approval – Infrared Asphalt Repair, Trench Patching and Misc. Curb & Sidewalk Repair; Award Contract – Infrared Asphalt Repair, Trench Patching and Misc. Curb & Sidewalk Repair (NTE $150,000); Title 59 Approval – Partial Roof Replacement – Village Hall; Award Contract – Partial Roof Replacement (NTE $122,650); Award Contract Under Houston-Galveston Area Council Cooperative Purchasing Contract – 2018 Utility Vehicle – Emergency Services (NTE $118,000); Award Contract Under Sourcewell National Cooperative Purchasing Agreement – Self-Contained Compaction Unit – Recycling (NTE $35,000); Award Contract Under National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance – Hot Box for Asphalt Repairs (NTE $44,200); Amend Contract – Security System at Village Hall (NTE $35,141.52); Authorize Shared Services Agreement – Snowplowing (Bergen County); Authorize Interim Health Officer Coverage with Borough of Fair Lawn; Authorize Release of Escrow Funds – Stop & Shop Supermarket; Establish Annual Service Charge and Payment for Guarantee Bond for Ridgewood Senior Citizen Housing Corporation and Guaranty of Payment of Revenue Bonds; Authorize Tax Collector to Charge for Mailing of Tax Sale Notices; Authorize Village Manager to Execute Membership Agreements with Sourcewell Cooperative Purchasing Agreement (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance Cooperative Purchasing Program); Approve Field Design for Schedler Park; and Authorize School Board Elections to be Changed from November to April.
Councilman Voigt asked for the Elks Club and School Board Election ordinances to be off of the consent agenda.
- MANAGERS REPORT
July 4th – Ms. Mailander stated that July 4th was a great day in Ridgewood. Starting with the breakfast and flag raising at the train station, followed by the parade, lots of band’s and wonderful creative floats, and evening entertainment at the Kasschau Shell, and then the spectacular fireworks. She thanked Tara Masterson and Leigh Gilsenan who were the Co-Chairs of that committee as they do a phenomenal job. She thanked all of the volunteers who help during the year and on that day, in particular all of the Village Departments who work very hard on that day, as well.
Zabriskie Schedler House – Ms. Mailander stated that the prequalification’s phase for the contractors is complete. The bid packages for the roof restoration work will be issued in late August. The Village has requested a time line from the vendor for the archaeology investigation of the property.
Green Acres Diversion – Ms. Mailander stated that following Green Acres Rules, the Village has completed the first appraisal for the South Broad Street land for the Green Acres Diversion and the second appraisal will take place in the next 30 days.
Graydon Pool – Ms. Mailander stated that when Graydon Pool opened on June 2nd there were older adults who were welcomed to a Meet and Greet. They had coffee, juice and bagels on the Graydon patio. Over 50 seniors attended this free event and learned about the wide variety of programs that makes Graydon such a wonderful community destination. This was jointly sponsored by Age Friendly Ridgewood.
Ms. Mailander added that a communication flag system would be used at Graydon Pool. It has been in used in the past. Color-coded flags will be displayed near the children’s area on the flag pole and on the bridge at the pool entrance near the parking lot. Green means swimming is allowed, yellow is caution due to inclement weather, and red indicates no swimming. If the lightening detection goes off there is a period of time that they have to stay inside and out of the water, and then if it doesn’t sound again they are permitted back into the water.
There will be a family movie at the beach, Happy Feet on Friday, July 27th at sundown. Admission is $5 per person, and it is cash only. Bring a flashlight, chair or blanket. The café will be open for movie treats.
Graydon classes include swim instruction, yoga on the beach, stand up paddleboard, kayaking, diving instruction, and there is a competitive swim team.
Free Yoga in the Park – Ms. Mailander stated that Free Yoga in the Park would take place at Habernickel Park for ages 15 and older. Saturdays, July 14th, 21st, and 28th at 8:30 A.M. to 9:30 A.M. All levels are welcome and no preregistration is required.
Ridgewood Summer Camps – Ms. Mailander stated that there are a variety of camps. The six week summer day camp, tennis instruction, arts and crafts mini camps, multi-sport camps for all ages, skateboarding, golf, Rumble in the Jungle with Abracadoodle, Little Bits Engineering and Robotics with Explore Science for Grades 2-8, Extreme Steam with Education Explorers, Science Related Challenges, and Lacrosse for children 5 to 7 years old.
Summer Discount Ticket Program – Ms. Mailander stated that there is a summer discount program to many of the popular recreational destinations. This includes Hersey Park, Six Flags Great Adventure, Wild Safari, Dorney Park, Wildwater Kingdom, Medieval Times, and the Crayola Experience. These are available at the Stable from Parks and Recreation.
- COUNCIL REPORTS
Shade Tree Commission – Councilman Sedon stated that the Shade Tree Commission met yesterday. The recommendation for the replacement tree at Graydon is an Elm Tree. There are several newer varieties of Elms that are resistant to Dutch Elm Disease. Historically, there was also a second island included in Graydon and on that was an Elm Tree, which was wiped out by Dutch Elm Disease. The recommendation was made because the Elm is a very elegant tree and a Sycamore sheds bark and is messy, so in a pool environment it wasn’t the best option. There will be a fall planting and that gives enough time to find the right type of Elm and then plant it at the right time of year. The arborist Declan Madden had a great presentation with a lot of detail and he could come and present if the Village Council wished.
He added that they would like to make a push during the capital budget discussion to come up with a plan to remove all of the brick bands around the 219 tree wells in the downtown area. Universally it prevents water from getting into the trees, and if there is runoff it acts as a dam and survival rates of the trees are severely impacted by the lack of water. Councilman Sedon added that it wasn’t a big ticket item but they would like to get some estimates on that. This would improve survival rates for urban trees in our Central Business District.
Mayor Hache stated that the feedback from the Central Business District on the new type of tree wells has been tremendous. Councilman Sedon added that there is funding to do about five more of the new tree wells. There was overwhelming response from the two to three years that they have been looking at this problem, and the watering is greatly impacting survival rates and removal of the brick band would go a long way to help the trees.
Planning Board – Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that the Planning Board met last week, and they had their reorganization meeting. Continuing as Chairman will be Richard Joel, and Vice Chairman will be Joel Torielli. New appointments are Melanie McWilliams appointed as the HPC member designee from the Planning Board, David Scheibner will continue as the Site Plan Exemption Committee along with herself. There are a couple of open boards that haven’t been completed yet.
Master Plan Advisory Committee – Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that the Master Plan Advisory Committee will continue with herself, Richard Joel, Melanie McWilliams and Joel Torielli. They have a fully executed contract, and that’s what they were waiting for as they were working out the details with the Village Engineer. So, they will start a bit of this process in the next few weeks and then will be kicking off in the fall.
Board of Adjustment – Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that Board of Adjustment met last night. Sergio Allegri is the Chairman of the Board now, Greg Brown is Vice-Chair and Chairman Pro Tempore is Gary Negman.
July 4th Committee – Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that July 4th was amazing this year. She pointed out that Councilman Sedon did an amazing speech about music and the history of music in Ridgewood. Mayor Hache said a few words at the bandshell before the fireworks. The wrap up meeting was last night. The 50/50 $100 ticket sales were a little flat, perhaps they will reduce the price next year. The recap meeting recognized that the gaps in the parade were significantly improved, the fields were much cleaner this year as there were more trash cans and a lot of information to pick up after yourselves, online ticket sales were up significantly over the past two years. Last year, there wasn’t a program, but this year there were a couple of program sponsors so there was a program this year. She reiterated her thanks to Tara Masterson, Leigh Gilsenan, Chris Raimundi, and Schuyler Saltiel, as they are the core group that operates this, along with Jack Egan, Kevin Embrey, Mike Jenke, and Bob Latske who are the committee members. Deputy Mayor Knudsen also thanked Captain Amoroso and Lieutenant John Young from the Ridgewood Fire Department.
Mayor Hache thanked the July 4th Committee and stated that it was the best he had ever been to, and was pleased with how beautiful the downtown looked.
Historic Preservation Committee – Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that the Historic Preservation Committee meeting tomorrow night has been cancelled.
Chamber of Commerce – Councilwoman Walsh stated that the Chamber of Commerce meeting was this morning and it was a robust meeting. The conversation centered on parking, enforcement and valet. She mentioned a couple meetings ago that there are some challenges with enforcement, so she thinks that in the coming weeks they should come up with a plan and explain it to all of the groups. She hopes that behavior gets better, but there has to be a plan for it, and she stated that she would bring that back to the Council.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that some of the store owners expressed their strong concern about the valet, and she thinks it deserves a second look by the Village Council. Additionally, there is some signage that goes hand in hand with enforcement. The signs don’t have the code posted below it and apparently some people have come to the court and have gotten their tickets dismissed because they used that as a challenge.
Restaurant Week is the week of August 12th. Mrs. Doubtfire will be playing August 8th as the Movie in the Park. The Chamber of Commerce thanked everyone who helped with the 4th of July. Her daughter, Pam, working for her Girl Scout Gold Project, handed out 120 refillable water bottles in less than ten minutes during the parade.
The enforcement of goods delivery was also brought up. There is a process that they are supposed to notify the Village when they are going to have deliveries where they are going to be blocking spaces, and are paying to have the meters bagged during that event. Not everyone is following that process.
Central Business District Advisory Committee – Councilwoman Walsh stated that the CBDAC meeting was tomorrow. They would be discussing the flower beds, Police support for controlling traffic in the CBD, safety, and then Oak and Broad Street.
Mayor Hache stated that CBDAC would also be speaking about bringing someone in for the community site as they want to propose launching this in Ridgewood.
- COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Denise Lima, 319 East Glen Avenue, stated that June of last year there was a discussion in the Mater Plan that some residents would be part of the committee as well. She was wondering when residents would be included. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that there would be surveys for the residents beginning in the Fall, so there will be ample notice.
Ms. Lima stated that Schedler was a great update, but she didn’t hear what the use of the house will be. She was glad that the roof would be addressed in the next few months. She stated that at the Ridgewood Historic Museum they are busting at the seams and it may be a great place to highlight some of those items. Councilman Sedon stated that it was a great idea.
Ms. Lima stated that regarding the Chamber of Commerce meeting this morning and the comments about the parking, she stated that as residents they need greater parking, and higher density and more development is coming in. They also need out of towners to come into town to supplement the Central Business District, but what she is hearing is employees will probably use the garage, commuters will be using the garage, and that is wonderful. Out of towners will come in to use the garage, as well. There are a lot of people from out of town that will be using the garage and she wants to make sure that residents will not be burdened with all of the tax. She wondered where the incentive for residents to use the Central Business District was. Ms. Lima stated that in Millburn and Summit there are programs in their parking lots, as well as garages, where residents get a discount in the pricing, and it would continue to remediate residents from leaving to shop elsewhere.
Ms. Lima stated that it was a great healthy conversation to challenge ourselves what works over November or April for the elections. She asked that they try to do as much due diligence as possible and get all of the facts to make a better informed decision. She thinks that awareness could be driven to get more people to be candidates if there were a November election.
Cynthia Halaby, 374 Evergreen Place, gave a belated congratulations to Mayor Hache. She stated that the plan, in the words of the DEP, constitutes an encroachment on this historic property. What this plan does is to destroy a parkland forever. The cutting down of 15 trees, many of them mature that only need some trimming despite what Chris Rutishauser said. She had a photograph to remind everyone. Ms. Halaby stated that she was shocked that Councilman Sedon would go along with the destruction of these mature trees. They are going to be cut back from 38 feet to 14 feet, bearing in mind that four feet of that will be for an ADA compliant walkway, leaving very little space for benches and an actual park.
Ms. Halaby stated that the strip of green is going to be a buffer to the parking spaces. It is no longer green space that is usable as a park. She added that she thought it was a shame and urged the Village Council to put this plan to rest and should work to make it a true pocket park that the Village would be proud of. Ms. Halaby stated that it was $200,000 to do this project, and she felt that the Village Council was probably going to say that with the additional spaces and the garage they could now offer X number of spots, and the cost will then be lower per space. She felt that this was dishonest, as 35 spaces is not enough to be removing a beautiful green space.
Ms. Halaby stated that Age Friendly was willing to put in benches, the Conservancy is willing to put in shrubs and trees, and so they could really have a great place. She urged the Village Council not to tear this down and put tarmac and cement in its place. She added that the public knew very little about this, and she felt that the public should be informed as to what is going on.
Pamela Perron, 123 Kenilworth Road, stated that she appreciated the Village Council thinking outside the box in trying to come up with more parking spaces. She sees from the Historic Preservation Office’s letter that the green part by the Train Station was initially conceived of as a park and it has been significantly altered over the years. This is a lovely drawing, and clearly a lot of work has gone in it. Ms. Perron stated that she was easily seduced by lovely drawings, adding that this is not a park. If she was reading the scale correctly, where the benches are people’s feet will be on the bumpers of cars, and if the benches are in the other direction people will be tripping those walking on the walkway.
Ms. Perron stated that every week she goes to the farmers market and walks on that path. She added that it was an aesthetic thing, the greener you see the more beautiful the area is. She asked that the Village first build the garage and see if they need those 35 extra spots, or install the kiosks and see if there is still a problem before this green spot was taken away forever.
Saurabh Dani, 390 Bedford Road, stated that he wanted to bring two different resolutions to the attention of the Village Council. One is for snow removal and one for leaf removal. The bids were received on June 13th and both of them have the same two bidders. He noticed that one bidder got one contract and the other got the other contract. He stated that the bidders somehow know what the Village has budgeted for. Mr. Dani stated that he wasn’t saying that they didn’t do the right work, or that the pricing was wrong, he was questioning the process. If you knowingly are giving projects to some bidder, don’t show two bids. He felt this was made up paperwork of two bids.
Mr. Dani stated that Councilman Sedon mentioned about the tree wells, and he was hoping that with the 290 tree wells that there would be a fair bidding process. He stated there was something wrong with the process and that this year the look more closely due to the number of trees. The tree wells also stop someone from opening the car doors.
Mr. Dani stated that they are losing the main point regarding the School Board Election that if the election stays in November, we don’t get to vote on the budget. We had that right before 2012 and this year the Board of Education said that they are introducing a preliminary budget and there would be a hearing, but nothing changed after that. They did not listen to the residents, and we need our voice back.
Councilman Sedon stated that the project that he mentioned was solely to take away the brick bands, and that the project that Mr. Dani had mentioned was to grind down the roots, which included jackhammering the concrete collar and a lot of additional work. This would go out to bid to someone who could remove the bricks and take them away.
Ms. Mailander stated that the bids are sealed and advertised, and opened on that date and time, and then it is open to whoever decides to bid. The budgets are public information and on the website, so the contractor could possibly know what is budgeted. She added that the bid process is not flawed. It is done according to State statute, and it is advertised, and there is a date, time and place to open the sealed bids. Mr. Dani stated that he wanted to bring it to the Village Council’s attention. Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that the opening of the bids are open to the public. Ms. Mailander stated that public can attend these openings.
Rurik Halaby, 374 Evergreen Place, stated that he was very pleased with the terrific comments that Councilwoman Walsh made this evening. He added that her comments were right on and were intellectually honest. He added that regarding the discussion of the School Board, which is one of the best school systems in the Country, here we are trying to tell them what to do. He stated that he finds the whole thing to be crazy and a waste of money.
Mr. Halaby stated that it is cognitively dishonest dissonance trying to justify the actions of the past regarding the hiring of locals. He stated that they should get the best person for the job, period. If they were looking for someone, it doesn’t matter if they know the streets of Ridgewood at all.
Mr. Halaby stated that he was pleased with the cleanup at Schedler, but that in addition to the berm they should build a wall. He added that he would try to volunteer the Conservancy that has done so much for Ridgewood to take the passive part of Schedler and turn it into an arboretum of native plants.
He commented to Mayor Hache that he did not vote for him, but as his Mayor, Mr. Halaby would like him to succeed. He encouraged Mayor Hache to make a clean break from the past, and make some clear goals, three or four simple things. He suggested the Village website, a system for ticketing, and the garage.
Matthew Lindenberg, 165 Claremont Road, stated that regarding the parking at the train station, as a commuter he was very much in favor of this. It seems like a very sound, well thought out plan. He stated that regarding the School Board election, there was a comment that was recited a few times about taking away people’s right to vote, however there was no option on the table that takes away anybody’s right to vote. There are different mechanisms for citizen input, but if the elections stay in November everybody still has the right to vote, not on the budget, but there is still the option to vote for Board of Education candidates. Mr. Lindenberg added that the issue related to the lack of number of people who have been running, and the solution is not moving the election date but the issue is not having enough candidates or visibly for the election process. Things should be done to increase the visibility. The timing of the election has nothing to do with that.
Mr. Lindenberg stated that the data was important and would set us free, and he would urge the Village Council not to have preconceived decisions because maybe they are correct, but perhaps the vast majority of people who are voting actually do make their way down the ballot. He added that there were a few comments that whether by moving the election to April they would get a different quality of voter, but this was an alarming topic to him. It is not the purview of government to decide who is a good voter. The job of the government is to enable the citizenry to be represented. Mr. Lindenberg stated that happens, point of fact, in November. Having a more educated voter base can be done in a November election as the League of Women Voters does a great job of this.
Laurie Weber, 235 South Irving Street, stated that she wanted to thank her neighbor because she did hang around to speak, but they got her off her chair fast. As a 34 year resident, she said that there is a difference in how you reach the public at the time of the year. It’s not about choosing what type of voter, she has canvassed, and called, up until the very last election. She has met a lot of people in town and talked about why they vote, what they know, and what they don’t know, adding that canvassing is a very interesting experience. Ms. Weber stated that she disagrees, that there is a time and a place for a community to come together. She is someone that goes around and tries to educate voters about what they are voting about and trusts that they are going to make an educated decision.
Ms. Weber stated that the voting for the two Board of Education seats was surprisingly close to the 2016 Presidential Election and that told her that was about as mindless a vote as you can get. She doesn’t place mindless votes, she puts her protest in that those seats aren’t being contested, and she does not vote as a result. She finds it unnerving that in the Fall as people are sending their kids to school or getting back from a vacation, they are not listening and she doesn’t necessarily tolerate it in a local election because she has a choice of pulling that election into a different time when they have the public’s attention, and that is what she is looking for. Ms. Weber stated that she has contacted the Board of Education, and now all of a sudden they want to have a robust conversation because they found out that the Village Council can do what they refuse to do. She compared this to Valley Hospital. She stayed on the email list after her children were done with school, but the Board of Education didn’t want to hear from the public.
Mayor Hache stated that tonight the plans for the athletic field at Schedler House was the only thing that was discussed at the meeting. The house isn’t in the scope of the work of the ad-hoc committee. The parking garage first level would be for shoppers and diners, second, third and fourth for commuters and employees under the current plan. There is no intention of these spots going to out of town commuters. Mayor Hache stated that they loved the varying arguments regarding the Board of Education Elections, adding that it was not just about awareness as there were other issues regarding voting on the budget. He added that the Board of Education would be invited to speak at the next meeting, and they chose not to be at this meeting tonight even though they knew that it was on the agenda. Regarding the train station lot, the Village Council will make public this design and all of the particulars. There has been no discussion since it was first introduced, and the SHPO letter was just received yesterday. They will disseminate the information to the public.
Mayor Hache stated that the bidding process, as stated by the Village Manager, was done by the book but they would look at the process to make sure that they were not somehow being taken advantage of and were certainly open to that. He stated that the idea of the Conservancy to design the passive areas of the Schedler property was welcome as they benefit from the work of volunteer and people who know what they are doing. Mayor Hache stated that regarding the website, he was thinking about setting up a Tech Committee to help the Village. He pointed out that the Village Council never said that they would have a more informed voter, but rather it was a hypothetical example that was presented but it wasn’t necessarily forming a basis for this discussion tonight.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen stated that Mr. Lindenberg attributed a comment about the quality of voter from the Council people, but that was a comment from a public speaker, no one on the dais made that type of comment.
- RESOLUTION TO GO INTO CLOSED SESSION
Deputy Village Clerk Donna Jackson read Resolution #18-211 to go into Closed Session as follows:
There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Mayor Hache, seconded by Deputy Mayor Knudsen, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 11:24 P.M.
Ramon M. Hache, Sr.
Donna M. Jackson
Deputy Village Clerk
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