Work Session Meeting Minutes 20200401

A REGULAR WORK SESSION OF THE VILLAGE COUNCIL OF THE VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD HELD VIA ZOOM, DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, ON APRIL 1, 2020 AT 7:30 P.M.

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

Mayor Hache called the meeting to order at 7:35 P.M. and read the Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act. At roll call the following were present: Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache. Also present were Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.

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 nation’s armed forces and all our first responders, and all those on the front line of COVID-19.

2.COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Pamela Perron, 123 Kenilworth Road, stated that she wanted to thank the Village Council for the amazing job they are doing, as well as all of the volunteers in town, which really shows Ridgewood’s character. It’s a great community and it shows.

There were no additional comments from the public, and Mayor Hache closed public comments.

3.MANAGERS REPORT

E-Notice – Ms. Mailander stated that she sent out an E-Notice last night and the information is also available on the Village public access channel, channel 77 for Optimum and channel 34 for Verizon Fios. Several things have been delayed or cancelled, including Earth Day and the Daffodil Festival, the RBSA Opening Day Parade and Family Fun Day, and the Shred Day scheduled for April has been rescheduled for a later date.

Ms. Mailander stated that employees have been working mainly from home, with only key employees in Village Hall. Some employees have been coming in sporadically, but all are checking their emails and voicemails. Beginning Monday, April 6th, Village Hall will be closed to the public and offices will be staffed with minimal staffing to take into consideration social distancing requirements Monday through Thursday. On Friday, they will be closed and it will be time for custodial staff to do a thorough cleaning. Staff will be answering the phones in their offices, processing paperwork, and staff working from home will still be responsible for answering emails and retrieving and answering voice messages. Staff at home is on standby and may be called into work at any time, if necessary.

Garbage Pickup – Ms. Mailander stated that garbage pickup will remain curbside for the foreseeable future. This allows crews to pick up all of the garbage for collection. Garbage collection has almost doubled because everyone is home, and they have doubled the collection for recycling. Recycling will continue to be picked up. The week of April 13th, bulk pickup will resume, yard waste pickup will begin, and the Recycling Center will reopen.

Ms. Mailander stated that the Recycling Center will be open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and will be closed on Wednesday and Sunday. Anyone going to the Recycling Center will have to line up on East Glen Avenue, on the side of the Fire House, to make a right hand turn to go into the driveway. A left turn from East Glen Avenue will not be allowed. She added this information will go out in an E-Notice and encouraged people to sign up to receive them. Information on the E-Notice will also be put on to the public access channels.

4.COUNCIL REPORTS

Sustainable Jersey – Councilman Sedon stated that Sustainable Jersey has extended town certification for another year. The initial deadline was May 12th. This is good news, because Earth Day was cancelled and it is a necessary action towards points for re-certification in Sustainable Jersey.

Chamber of Commerce – Councilwoman Walsh reminded everyone that you can still support the Central Business District (CBD) by either purchasing gift certificates to different stores or by shopping at the restaurants and doing curbside pickup. It has been working really well, and a lot of people have called the Village Councilmembers showing their support for the CBD during this time. She encouraged people to be mindful of social distancing while picking up food orders.

Ridgewood Library – Councilwoman Walsh stated that residents can use their online Library card to access BCCLS and do e-books and other great things from the Library.

Adopt a Senior – Councilwoman Walsh stated that she is really proud of our community as there are so many people who have stepped up to help our most vulnerable citizens in this time and in a variety of ways. She asked that if anyone knows a senior resident that they think needs assistance, she asked them to give the senior her contact information, bwalsh@ridgewoodnj.net or call (201) 410-2042.

Councilman Voigt asked if it was possible to have virtual Committee meetings. Changing the subject, he added that he spoke with a resident today who had COVID-19 who had spoken with his doctor, and found that some individuals are not reporting to the Health Department if they have it. The resident’s concern was that the number of positive cases is being underreported. Councilman Voigt stated that his concern is for the residents who are 65 and older who have lung conditions, as there is a report that came out from the CDC which looked at individuals with those conditions who found that 65% of those individuals ended up in the hospital, and 20% ended up in the ICU. He added that population should be very careful about social distancing. Some of the numbers are starting to accelerate, even in Ridgewood, where they are getting more and more cases of COVID-19.

Mayor Hache stated that regarding the Committee meetings being held in a virtual format, he has had several formal meetings and has found that the Zoom application has been great and is very convenient. He added that if Councilman Voigt’s Committees want to meet virtually, he can send out communication to everyone and encourage them to download the Zoom application and propose a meeting time and date. Councilman Voigt asked if Mr. Hansen could help them with that. Ms. Mailander agreed that Mr. Hansen would help with setting up the virtual board and committee meetings.

Mayor Hache stated that this has been an extraordinary time for the Village and in these times of crisis he believes that it brings out the best in people, including empathy and thoughtfulness. He added that it has been overwhelming to see the outpouring of support and people who are willing to volunteer and help in any way that they can. It has been a difficult time and it seems like life has taken a standstill, but there are a lot of uncertain circumstances that people haven’t dealt with before. Hearing from Councilwoman Walsh how many people are stepping up to help the senior residents and those who are most vulnerable in the community, he commends her in her efforts in helping the seniors. Mayor Hache stated that communication is really important and they have tried to do their best to communicate everything that comes in. The information regarding the virus is constantly changing, so the Village Council is sharing what information they receive with the residents.

Mayor Hache commended the Health Department, which has done an extraordinary job with all of their work, including contact tracing and reaching out to Dr. Fishbein to recruit the Ridgewood Public School nurses, who have been valuable helping with the difficult work of contact tracing and outreach. He added that they are trying the best they can to get the information out, which includes postings on the Village website. Mr. Hansen has been working hard to get the information shared as soon as possible. Mayor Hache stated that there is a Facebook page, Ridgewood Helps, that is designated to be a community board of information and resources, related to COVID-19. In the next day or so they will be posting a Community Volunteer Board because there are so many volunteer opportunities, and so many people who want to help. He added that they appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding, especially regarding the Sanitation Department, which is dealing with a limited crew and double the volume.

Councilwoman Knudsen asked about Councilman Voigt’s comment about people who are being diagnosed with COVID-19 but then are not reporting it to the Health Department. She stated that this poses a serious health issue for others, because if it is not being reported to the Health Department, then the Village is underreporting its numbers and people are not being notified that they have perhaps been exposed. Councilman Voigt stated that the person he talked to is at home and quarantining, but has had COVID-19 for about 11 days, and their doctor recommended that he not report this to the Health Department. Mayor Hache asked if the individual said why. Councilman Voigt stated that it had to do with confidentiality. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if it was something that should be posed to Dawn Cetrulo, whether or not there is a requirement for physicians to report a positive COVID-19 diagnosis to the Health Department.

Mr. Rogers stated that what is interesting is that in order to confirm that someone has the virus, there are only certain limited tests that are given. He thought that when someone is tested and it is positive, that there have to be notifications with regard to the confirmation of that particular test. He added that Jeremy Kleiman and Dawn Cetrulo would need to know that this is occurring so they can make proper adjustments. Ms. Mailander stated that there is a database that the information is put into and it is put in by those testing sites, as well as the individual independent labs. Her understanding is that there is a lag in the information getting in because these sites are so overwhelmed with everyone being tested and it doesn’t necessarily get in as quickly as it should.

Mayor Hache stated that the system is CDRSS and his understanding is that they contact the Health Officer before the patient even knows and the Health Officer then goes out and informs the patient. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the issue is that this information is being deliberately withheld and she believes that poses a health issue for others that may have been exposed and have not been notified. Mayor Hache agreed, stating that a person can be in isolation because he/she knows they are infected, but it doesn’t give those who may have come in contact with the person, a chance to self-quarantine and take necessary precautions. Mr. Rogers asked how the individual could have a confirmed diagnosis without OEM or the Health Department finding out, which is the issue. He suggested it may be a personal confirmation rather than a test confirmation.

Councilwoman Walsh asked about social distancing and what Ridgewood as a municipality has control over. She stated that she is noticing at grocery stores that people are showing up without gloves and masks, and the stores are supposed to be limiting the amount of people going in. She feels that in the past couple of days, people have been feeling a little comfortable and they are showing up at the grocery store in large numbers, which is not good. The challenge is that the Village can’t do anything more than what the Governor has issued, but she asked if they could ask the grocery stores to put up a sign because the parking lots were empty and now they are full again, which has her concerned. Mr. Rogers stated that he thinks they could ask the grocery store or any retailers to restrict business by requiring masks and gloves.

Councilwoman Knudsen stated that there were complaints about the PPEs that were discarded inappropriately all over the parking lot. She reached out to Ms. Mailander and Ms. Cetrulo, but then reached out to the store directly and they are putting garbage receptacles and signage in the parking lot, so maybe Councilwoman Walsh should do the same. Councilwoman Walsh stated that her concern is that the public has to be aware that they practice social distancing and not be in a store in close proximity to people. Mayor Hache stated that he has noticed that the policies differ from store to store.

Ms. Mailander stated that she wanted to recognize all of the First Responders who have been out there doing their jobs to help others. She also mentioned Dawn Cetrulo and Jeremy Kleiman who are doing a wonderful job.

5.DISCUSSION

a.Budget

1.Discussion of Quarterly Property Tax Payments and Quarterly Water Payments

Robert Rooney, Chief Financial Officer, stated that currently, the State Legislature is considering allowing individual local governments to delay the payment of County and school taxes. In addition, the State Legislature would have the power to delay the payment of property taxes to the Village. Since Ridgewood is the sole collector of the funds that they pass on, this would be very detrimental to the Village’s cash flow needs. State law has established February 1st, May 1st, August 1st, and November 1st as due dates for property tax payments. The Village allows a ten day grace period in accordance with the law. Late payments result in charges at the rate of 8% on the first $1,500 of the delinquency and 18% on the remaining balance. If the State Legislature were to adopt this, it would put a tremendous burden on the Village to meet its cash flow needs.

Mr. Rooney stated that the Village has a need to pay debt service, and there are shortfalls in other funds, due to the suspension of parking meter fees, court fines, and Building Department fees which were reduced last year, with fewer construction jobs requiring permits from the Building Department. There may be water usage fees that go into it. The Village becomes the sole providing funding source of these other potential shortfalls. In addition, mortgage companies currently provide about 65% of the Village payments every quarter, which is roughly $36 million per quarter. If this process were to be allowed, the Village would lose that revenue stream. Mortgage companies currently have escrow accounts, and are by law required to escrow three months of payments. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a cash flow problem for the mortgage companies to pay the Village on time, as they should also be able to pay the property taxes on time in the future.

Mr. Rooney stated that the other restriction facing the Village is the delay of State aid. Currently, they have been getting Homestead Rebates of about $500,000 in April, but the State has now postponed that until at least July. The State has even suggested that they increase their budget against the town. There was a pension payment due today, which the State didn’t defer, which was about $4 million. There is also another $5 million payment to the Police and Fire pension, which the State has not deferred. Mr. Rooney stated that their hands are tied, but it is a snowball effect. His suggestion is that they keep the property tax payment process as is, and also provide the payments the Board of Education and the County in a timely manner. If the Village defers payments to the Board of Education and the County, it would be a battle.

Mr. Rooney stated that regarding shortfall, they also have to look at programs they are going to schedule during the summer, such a Graydon Pool and recreation programs. Right now, it seems like it would be okay to get into it, but he would guarantee that there is going to be a decrease in the revenue stream as people are not going to want to get back together and will want to maintain a social distance. Mr. Rooney stated that the one thing that they can do and have the power to do, without the Legislature, is to change the timing of interest and penalties. The Village Council can put forward a resolution for deferring payments or not charging interest on late payments until his suggestion of August 1st. From a current fund perspective, the overall decrease will not have a great financial impact and will allow the Village to meet its needs.

Mr. Rooney stated that for those property taxpayers who come to the Village seeking some kind of assistance or payment plan, they can deal with those on a case by case basis. He can work with the Tax Collector to come up with a process that helps taxpayers in difficult financial situations.

Richard Calbi, Director of Ridgewood Water, stated that Mr. Rooney covered it all and he is willing to extend the grace period for payments of water bills to August 1st. Ridgewood Water is glad to offer this to the consumer to help them at this time. Waiving the interest to August 1st is a very simple thing for them to do.
Councilman Sedon stated that he thought it was a good plan to help people out and was doing everything they could do on the Village’s end, until the State came through with some other options. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she agrees with Councilman Sedon. Councilwoman Walsh stated that she agrees. Councilman Voigt stated that it was a good idea to delay the late fees. Councilman Voigt asked Mr. Rooney about an excess slush fund that is for emergency purposes, and he guessed this would be considered an emergency purpose and what, if any, access they would have to those funds. Mr. Rooney stated that he worked cash flows out to the end of the year and he used some types of reductions in tax payments because there might be some hardship and delays. He looked at the concrete payments that the Village would make with school, county, Library, and debt service, and also meet to payroll. If they delay tax payments under the potential law, the Village will come up short in June. He reiterated that was on a cash flow basis.

Councilwoman Knudsen asked that when they are saying that they are going to defer and not charge interest, that authorizes people to hold their payment and take advantage of that. She asked if there was a way to incentivize people who might be able to afford to make the payment on time. Mr. Rooney stated that he was not aware of a law allowing discounts on payments, but he could look into it and they could do so if they get confirmation of the ability to do that. Right now, they need to address the abatement of penalties and then they can see if they can incentivize that, but it is a good point.

Mayor Hache stated that she he was reading through Assembly Bill 3902 which deals with this, it seems like a bridge from nowhere to nowhere. On one end, they can extend the date for the payment to the municipalities of taxes for the school district and county, but there is nothing being done to provide any abatement for the School Board’s or the county on the other end. He added that what Mr. Rooney is proposing makes sense, as it strikes a nice balance between the two. Mr. Rooney stated that he knows that the school district would have a difficult time in meeting payroll if they didn’t get their payment from the Village under the usual schedule.

Ms. Mailander stated that these two resolutions would be on the Special Public Meeting which they are about to convene.

At 8:14 P.M., Councilwoman Walsh made a motion to suspend the Work Session and convene the Special Public Meeting. Councilman Sedon seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote

AYES: Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, and Mayor Hache
NAYS: None
ABSENT: None
ABSTAIN: None

At 8:57 P.M., the Regular Work Session was reconvened, with the following in attendance: Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh, Mayor Hache; Heather Mailander, Village Manager/Village Clerk; and Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney.

 

6.DISCUSSION

a.Ridgewood Water

1.Award Professional Services Contract – Hydrogeologic Consulting Services

Ms. Mailander stated that in 2019, the Village awarded a two year contract for Hydrogeologic Consulting Services for Ridgewood Water. This is the second year of a two year contract to WSP USA from Upper Saddle River, in the amount of $167,500. They have worked with Ridgewood Water to plan, design, and oversee rehabilitation and new well construction projects. This work will include such tasks as replacement well drilling, well repairs, treatment plans, production plans and general services to assist with regulatory compliance and emerging contaminants.

2.Award Contract – Software Support – SCADA System

Ms. Mailander stated that in 2019, the Village awarded a three year contract for SCADA Software Support. This is the second year of a three year contract to Emerson Process Management Power & Water Solutions of Pittsburgh, PA. They were a sole source contractor of the software. This comes out of the Water Utility operating budget in an amount not to exceed $18,922.97.

3.Award Contract under State Contract – Maintenance of Chlorine, pH and Phosphate Analyzers, Replacement of Supplies and Repair

Ms. Mailander stated that this is a service contract for maintenance of the Chlorine, pH and Phosphate Analyzers and repair and replacement. This is to the Hach Company of Loveland, CO. It is going to exceed the statutory limit of $17,500 for these materials and therefore is in need of a Council resolution to continue purchasing these items. The funds are not to exceed $65,000 and is in the Water Department’s operating budget.

4.Authorize Change Order – Infrared Asphalt Surface Repair, Asphalt Trenching Repair, Curb and Sidewalk Repair in Various Locations

Ms. Mailander stated that in 2019, a service contract was awarded to J. Fletcher Creamer and Son of Hackensack for asphalt service repair, asphalt trench patching, and it was an initial award of $150,000 for the year. At this time, an additional $150,000 is required for additional services to complete the contract year which will expire on June 30, 2020. The new year one service contract total will now be $300,000. It was exceeded because of the NJDEP Prescribed Lead/Iron Service Line Inventory. Ridgewood Water has embarked on a massive project of inventorying every customer service line material type in the system. This required hundreds, possibly thousands of small 1 foot x 1 foot holes in the street to identify material types, that then have to be covered over with infrared asphalt surface repair.

The NJDEP Water Accountability Act Prescribed Water System Upgrades, with a 1,000 linear foot water main replacement at Aqueduct Avenue and Demund Lane, Midland Park; a 250 linear foot water main replacement at 1st Street, Ridgewood; and a 100 linear foot water main replacement at Kew Court, Midland Park.

5.Authorize Execution of Water System Interconnection Agreement – Borough of Allendale

Ms. Mailander stated that Ridgewood Water has always had this interconnection, as the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection requires that all water systems maintain interconnections for these purposes. In the event Allendale had a major water system failure, Ridgewood Water could supply them with water for fire protection and normal consumption. The NJDEP is requesting that Allendale codify this connection with an agreement between both parties.

6.Declare Surplus – Two Ford Transits

Ms. Mailander stated that Ridgewood Water has determined that two Ford Transits, vehicles WA161 and WA162 are no longer needed for public use. These vehicles were taken out of service in January of 2020 due to the need for excessive repair.

b.Parking

1.Restoration of Parking Meter Fees

Ms. Mailander stated that from March 20th through April 5th, there have been no parking meters or kiosks in effect. She asked the Village Council to make a decision as to when the parking meters were going back into effect.

Mayor Hache asked Mr. Rooney the weekly loss of revenue, from the parking meters. Mr. Rooney stated that they take in about $6,000 a day, and at six days that is about $36,000 a week. Councilman Voigt asked how that would affect the debt payment for the parking garage. Mr. Rooney stated they are financially fine now, but the longer this goes on, the bigger the detriment. This all ties into the conversation about taxes, so if need be, the Village has to be in a position where it can support any deficit that may result from this. Councilman Voigt asked if there was an indication as to when the Village would be in trouble as far as the payment of the garage. Mr. Rooney stated that with two months’ worth of deficiency, then it will impact the ability of the Village to make these payments.

Councilman Voigt asked if they continue without the meters for the month of April, are they going to have a problem. Mr. Rooney stated that is more than a $100,000 deficit and that is just meter collections. They would probably need to have a conversation about what they would do with those that have permits, as he is sure that since they haven’t used them, they are going to want some type of compensation. He added that he would say they could get to the end of the month and be okay, but his suggestion is that anybody that has a permit, they elect to give them a credit towards next year to maintain the cash flow. If someone who has a permit decides that they want their money back, the Village could prorate the refund and give them their money back, but the Village would not be in a position to sell the resident a premium permit for the rest of 2020. Ms. Mailander stated that some people may not go back to work in the city and may not need that permit and may want a refund. For those who are going to be going back, the Village would allow a credit for next year’s permit purchase, and the maximum would be three months of credit. If an individual opts for a refund, they would be eligible for a regular permit in the future as it cannot be guaranteed that there would be a premium permit available for them this year.

Councilwoman Knudsen stated that her thought was that they suspended the meters because the businesses were suffering and they were trying to let people get downtown to shop or order food. She stated that she didn’t see how the meters and the permits compared. Ms. Mailander stated that they have had requests for permit refunds. Mr. Rooney stated that they have had people looking as to what type of remediation they are going to get for not using them. Councilwoman Knudsen agreed that these are unusual circumstances, but if there was a blizzard and an emergency shut down, would they give everyone a week refund because there was an emergency. She added that on the premium passes, there is a benefit as the premium permit holders can park in all parking lots.

Mayor Hache stated that whatever the answer is, he thinks it is probably too early to tell because they don’t know when people will be going back to work. Having a lookback feature in terms of what they can do in terms of a credit for next year would probably be more appropriate. Ms. Mailander stated that was what they were going to encourage people to do. Mayor Hache stated that regarding the meters in the downtown, the reality is that even if they turn them back on, there are very few people going into the downtown to park at the meters.

Councilwoman Walsh stated that she thinks it is adding insult to injury that nobody can really be in the Central Business District and then to charge them for parking for a few minutes, is not right. She added that she thinks they should follow the social distancing guidelines, and if everything seems to be changing for the better at the end of April, they should probably stay on with that so they can make plans for May, June, July and going forward. That way, it gives Mr. Rooney the opportunity to take a look at the overall budget and say where he can trim to help out. There was agreement from the Village Council. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they should continue to monitor the situation, and if there is a miraculous recovery, it could be at the discretion of the Village Manager to reinstate payment at the parking meters. Ms. Mailander stated that for now, they would monitor the loss of parking meter revenues on a week to week basis.

c.Budget

1.Award Professional Services Contract – SCADA System Software Support and Annual Maintenance Agreement – Water Pollution Control Facility

Ms. Mailander stated SCADA controls the operation of pumps, blowers, and other equipment at the Water Pollution Control Facility. The Village has hired Keystone Engineering Group of Frazer, Pennsylvania in the past, to assist in assessing the problems and fixing the SCADA system several years ago. The 2020 Service and Maintenance of the SCADA System on a time and materials basis is an amount not to exceed $25,000. This is budgeted in a capital ordinance fund.

2.Award Professional Services Contract – Closeout of Contaminated Soil Removal at Hudson Street Lot

Ms. Mailander stated that the Village has been dealing with contaminated soils encountered during the excavations for footings, for the Hudson Street garage, with the assistance of First Environment. First Environment of Boonton has been providing Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) and material removal services for the garage. The next phase of the work is to have First Environment prepare the appropriate filings with the NJDEP so that it will be closed out. This is the amount not to exceed $13,600 and is in the construction account budget for the garage.

3.Award Professional Services Contract – Closeout of Environmental Investigation of Community Garden

Ms. Mailander stated that there were some residents who had garden plots in the Community Garden, located near Maple Park Field, who were concerned about possible soil contamination, similar to what occurred at Orchard School. First Environment was retained to conduct two rounds of soil samplings at the Community Gardens in response to these concerns. The sampling results have been generally very positive for the Village. There was one exceedance which required notification to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Subsequent sample analysis indicated that the exceedance was a de minimis condition.

The next phase of the work is to have First Environment prepare the appropriate filings with the NJDEP and that will reassure the residents that the Community Garden’s soil is safe to plant in this season. This will cost $8,000.

Councilwoman Walsh stated that a couple of years ago, when the Girl Scout Troop was putting in the parcourse along Maple Field and Northern Parkway and digging the holes, there was ash there as well. Ms. Mailander stated that she thinks that area probably has quite a bit of ash.

4.Award Contract – Leasing of Five Vehicles and Maintenance of One Chevy Tahoe – Police Department

Ms. Mailander stated that there is an award of a contract for the leasing of five Police Department vehicles and the maintenance of one patrol Tahoe through Enterprise Fleet Management. This has been a great program for the Police Department for the acquisition and maintenance of vehicles at an affordable rate. The program has been highly cost effective and Enterprise Fleet Management has been attentive and responsive as a vendor. This year’s costs for the program will not exceed $30,000.

5.Award Contract – Animal Control Services and Waterfowl Management

Ms. Mailander stated that this is the second year of a two year contract which should have been renewed in July or August of last year, but for some reason it was overlooked. The yearly charge is $31,200 from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. The 2019 portion has been paid, so the contract will cost $15,600 from January 1st through June 30th, 2020. This contract will be put out for quotes again prior to July 1, 2020.

6.Hudson Street Garage Project – Trees, Tree Grates, Frames, and Structural Fill

Ms. Mailander stated that the Shade Tree Commission has given presentations about the fact that the tree wells with the brick collars were not conducive to tree health and wellbeing. Over the winter, the brick bands were removed around the tree wells. The Shade Tree Commission has requested that the Village look into using structural soil for the new tree wells at the Hudson Street Garage site, as well as a new kind of tree grate, to allow the trees to grow strong and healthy.

Chris Rutishauser has indicated that there are certain concerns that he has. Any material removed to make room for the structural soil will need to be disposed of and the disposal is $58 per ton. The estimated cost for the structural soil is $53 per ton. Mr. Rutishauser’s understanding of the proposed structural soil is that it has very little nutrients in it to support plants or trees. Julian Salazar, from Epic, stated that it is conducive to low tree roots and not deep tree roots.

Ms. Mailander stated that Mr. Rutishauser has found that the frontage along Hudson Street is approximately 290-feet. The proposed sidewalk is 10-feet-deep. If they remove material to a depth of 3-feet, they will excavate approximately 322 cubic yards for the entire length of Hudson Street. At 1.4 tons per cubic yard, this equals 450 tons of material to dispose of, at $58 per ton which equals approximately $26,100.00. There will be 450 tons of replacement material with the structural fill, which will cost approximately $23,850.00. If they were to use the structural soil only in the tree wells, it would cost approximately $30,000 to $35,000, plus the cost of the excavation effort. If the entire stretch of the sidewalk is filled with structural soil, it will cost approximately $50,000.

Ms. Mailander stated that the Shade Tree Commission has also recommended pervious sidewalk slabs, as well as irrigation for each tree well. She added that the Village Council must make a decision now, because the contractors are about to put down the sidewalk slabs and would need to put down the piping for the irrigation, which would run under the lot and then to the various tree wells. There would also have to be some insulation for that piping. Any change would be a change order for the Village to pay.

Mayor Hache asked if the $35,000 to $50,000 is the total cost or the incremental cost to make the change. Ms. Mailander stated that was the total cost for structural soil at the tree wells only. However, she thinks the Shade Tree Commission wanted the entire stretch of the sidewalks filled with structural soil. Councilman Voigt asked if the structural soil was conducive for the trees to grow. Mr. Rutishauser stated that the existing soil out there doesn’t have much loam or organics in it, so the concern is that when it is compacted it’s not good for tree roots to grow very well. Councilman Voigt asked if they needed to cart in new soil for the trees. Mr. Rutishauser stated that was what this proposal is. The proposed irrigation could also add about $6,500 to $10,000 of additional cost, depending on the source of the water.

Mayor Hache stated that there was a question if they have to remove the soil that is there now, it could be contaminated. However, it was his understanding that those sidewalks were completely ripped up during construction and were just filled with dirt recently. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they backfilled with DGA, or dense graded aggregate, which is maybe a foot below grade. If they go deeper than that, they will encounter the material that they had elsewhere on the project site. Mayor Hache asked if they were looking for three feet below the surface. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he believed the Shade Tree Commission is looking for three to five feet below the surface, to remove the existing material and replacing it with structural soil. Mayor Hache asked for clarification on the numbers, and stated it would be important to know what the incremental costs would be.

Mr. Rutishauser stated that he did the rough calculations to take out the existing material and put in the structural soil. The Shade Tree Commission is also talking about putting in pervious sidewalk, which would be an additional cost, and would require the purchase of a vacuum sweeper to clean the sidewalk so the pores in the material don’t get clogged. Mayor Hache stated that his understanding is that the Shade Tree Commission is looking at this as an opportunity, to see how structural soil works in tree wells.

Mayor Hache asked about the irrigation and whether they were counting on runoff. Mr. Rutishauser stated that it was probably more of a drip irrigation system to provide water to the trees. Councilwoman Knudsen asked how many trees were going to go there. Mr. Rutishauser stated that right now, the site plan calls for five trees to be planted on Hudson Street. Councilman Voigt clarified whether the $50,000 included the pervious sidewalks, and whether it gave the new trees everything they were going to need to thrive. Mr. Rutishauser stated that it just removes the existing soil, puts in the structural soil, and then trees would be planted. Irrigation costs and the cost of the pervious sidewalks are not included. The pervious surface would involve a different formulation of the concrete, so that when it is placed, the water drains through the pores.

Councilwoman Knudsen asked how often the sidewalk would have to be vacuumed. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they would have to look at that through trial and error, as it depends on how much sediment or dust is in the area. Councilwoman Walsh asked if there would be issues with individuals who might wear heels on that type of a sidewalk which may create a trip and fall hazard. Mr. Rutishauser stated that there wouldn’t be, as these types of pervious sidewalks are very similar to traditional concrete sidewalks, but they use a volcanic ash to have the porosity to allow the water to percolate through it.

Mr. Rooney asked what the cost of the machine would be for cleaning the sidewalk. Mr. Rutishauser stated that preliminary estimates on a vacuum sweeper would be in the $40,000 range, and the Village doesn’t have that type of machine in its fleet. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if there was any other area that would require the use of that machine. Mr. Rutishauser stated that it would be needed for that 290 foot section of sidewalk but it would also be beneficial for cleaning the inside of the parking garage. Councilwoman Knudsen asked what they were going to use to clean the inside of the parking garage previously. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they hadn’t specified a machine yet, but they were looking at possible rinsing it and washing it after the winter, to get rid of the salt. The parking garage is pitched to drain, but if they had a vacuum sweeper they could run it through periodically, to get up the dirt and dust.
Mayor Hache clarified that the recommendation regarding the structural soil is not that it has to be coupled with the pervious sidewalks. Mr. Rutishauser stated that you could have one or the other or both could be chosen. Mr. Rooney stated that if the tree wells are to have their own irrigation, that would have to be done next week, so as not to delay the process of putting the sidewalk slabs down on Hudson Street. Mr. Rutishauser stated that was correct, as they were facing a time crunch. Mayor Hache stated that he thought it would be useful to know what is the current cost estimate today. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they could ask Epic for a price for their contractor to move the material, replace it with the structural soil, labor, overhead, and profit.

Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she thought it was a good idea to make every effort to allow the trees to survive and grow, and this might be an opportunity to foster even better growth. If this is financially feasible, it becomes an easy decision. Mayor Hache stated that the structural soil works because it has a variety of particle sizes, but there is a particular type of tree that can thrive in that kind of soil and the Shade Tree Commission has all of those recommendations. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that Councilman Sedon is having technical difficulties and is trying to weigh in, which is why he was unusually quiet during the tree conversation.

Councilman Sedon made a statement regarding the trees and structural soil. It was difficult to hear, but he added that if the Village Council authorizes anything, they should authorize the structural soil. Ms. Mailander stated that if they are going to authorize the individual irrigation to the trees, it is a decision they would have to make now. Councilwoman Knudsen suggested having Councilman Sedon and Mr. Rutishauser put together a proposal to Epic and get all of the pricing from them, because the Village Council doesn’t know what they are looking to do, as there are a number of options. Ms. Mailander stated that if they decide at a later date to have the irrigation located at each tree well, it could delay the opening of the garage by a week. Councilman Sedon stated that they shouldn’t do the irrigation. Ms. Mailander stated that they would look at the structural soil and the pervious sidewalks. Mayor Hache stated that they should just look at the structural soil. The Village Council agreed unanimously that only the structural soil should be considered.

7.Award Contract Under State Contract – Gasoline and Diesel Fuel

Ms. Mailander stated that this was already awarded earlier this year with Allied Oil Company, but apparently their State contract for supplying gasoline and diesel fuel expired on March 31, 2020 and it was not renewed. The Village is now looking at a resolution to purchase through a new State contract vendor, Rachels/Micheles Oil Company, in an amount not to exceed $350,000.

8.Award Professional Services Contract – Licensed Operator for Water Pollution Control Facility

Ms. Mailander stated that the Water Pollution Control Facility has one licensed operator who meets the necessary requirements of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. During this COVID-19 pandemic, if for any reason the licensed operator falls ill, there is no one else who can fulfill his responsibilities because he has to have multiple licenses at a high level. Mr. Rutishauser has solicited a proposal from DeBlock Environmental Services of Woodland Park to provide a licensed operator if the Village’s licensed operator were to become ill. This is in an amount of $21,000 if they are needed, and the proposed amount should cover about four weeks.

d.Policy - NONE

e.Operations

1.Approval of Major Soil Moving Permit – Orchard School

Ms. Mailander stated that the Ridgewood Board of Education is going to have to go to the Planning Board for a courtesy review of their project and a major soil moving permit will be issued. The trucking routes will be carefully coordinated with the Village Police Department. The applicant intends to move approximately 5,507 cubic yards of material.

2.Endorse Community Development Block Grant – West Bergen Mental Healthcare

Ms. Mailander stated that this was already considered on the Special Public Meeting which is for the Bergen County Community Development Block Grant for West Bergen Mental Healthcare in the amount of $46,300 for paving, striping, and repair of sink holes in the parking lot.

7.REVIEW OF APRIL 15, 2020 PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA

Ms. Mailander stated that they have the budget hearing, the resolutions that were discussed this evening, the consideration of adoption for the budget, and the ordinances that were introduced this evening will also be considered for public hearing and adoption.

Ms. Mailander stated that she would send the agenda to the Village Council, and asked that they reply to her individually if they would like anything off the consent agenda.

8.COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Saurabh Dani, 390 Bedford Road, stated that he wanted to give a shout out to all of the Village employees and everyone working on the front line and in Village Hall for all of the behind the scenes work that they have been doing to handle the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the other situations that have come from it. He appreciated them organizing this meeting remotely and allowing for public comments. He added that Mr. Hansen did a good job setting up this meeting and creating another one so quickly, when the first meeting was hacked.

Laurie Webber, 235 South Irving Street, stated that she was very impressed with everything that the Village Council has done in keeping everyone informed and up to date on the COVID-19 pandemic, including holding everyone together as a community. She added that it was fabulous that they were holding a virtual meeting so that the community can stay in touch, and keep life a little bit normal for residents.

Rurik Halaby, 374 Evergreen Place, thanked the Mayor for all of the emails that he has been sending out and keeping residents well informed, as well as thank you to Ms. Mailander and her staff. He asked about Mr. Rooney’s comments that the worst case scenario is that the Village would be out of money by June. He stated that listening to the discussion about the trees at the Hudson Street garage and the planting of five trees, the cost is absolutely insane, considering all that is happening with the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Halaby stated that as far as the parking in the Village, increasing the parking rate, before COVID-19, was a nail in the coffin for the Central Business District in Ridgewood. He asked them to not count on the Village merchants or the parking demand coming back any time soon. He asked Mr. Rooney to present an analysis about the Central Business District regaining its strength. They shouldn’t count on too much money coming back from the parking. He asked them to count every penny they are spending, because things are going to get worse before they get better.

Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that Sanitation and Recycling are doing a fabulous job. He has also seen the Parks Department out working as well. He had some concerns that the Graydon Pool badges went on sale today, as he wasn’t sure how many people were going to be buying badges between now and April 30th when the discount period expires, given the restrictions put in place by the Governor until April 30th. He asked if the discount period could be extended through May. Recreation also seems to have two dates scheduled for in-person selling of Graydon
Pool badges in May, and those dates may also have to be changed.

There were no additional comments from the public, and Mayor Hache closed public comment.

Mayor Hache stated that regarding the costs of the sidewalks and tree wells by the Hudson Street garage, the $50,000 is the total cost of the sidewalk, but they were asking the Village Engineer to let them know what is the incremental cost to what they have currently planned today. The irrigation plan was discarded, and they were just looking into the cost of the structural soil. He thanked everyone for joining them on the virtual meeting this evening. He asked everyone to continue preventative measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, practice social distancing, and stay home if you feel sick. By taking care of each other, he has no doubt in his mind that we will get through this COVID-19 pandemic.

9.ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Councilman Voigt, seconded by Councilwoman Walsh, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council Work Session was adjourned at 9:55 P.M.

 

 

______________________________
Ramon M. Hache, Sr.
Mayor

 

 

________________________________
Heather A. Mailander
Village Manager/Village Clerk

 

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