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, RIDGEWOOD, NEW JERSEY ON JANUARY 8, 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 7:30 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; Matthew Rogers, Village Attorney; 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 nation’s armed forces and all our first responders.
2. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Grace Freebor, 456 Beverly Road; Kayla Abboud, 206 Claremont Road; Molly Hanrahan, 456 Hawthorne Place; and Matilda Gondris, 30 South Murray Avenue; stated that they were there to represent the Shade Tree Commission. They asked the Village Council to secure a line item in the budget for the Shade Tree Commission of $150,000 to replant trees in Ridgewood 1:1. They asked the Village to take responsibility for the backlog of trees that need to be planted from previous years. According to their research, there is a history of ten years of trees not being replanted 1:1 which equates to a net loss of roughly 2,000 trees. They asked that this change be made, the Village replant the backlog, and put in an ordinance for 100% tree replacement.
In the past five years, there has been an investment if $1,000,000 in tree removal equipment, and a replacement amount of only $50,000 for planting new trees. They highlighted the following areas for trees to be replanted: the shade trees in the Village, the Village Train Station, parks, private properties, and wildscape areas. The best way to plant trees is with planning, staffing, and funding. Ridgewood needs the following items in place: a 100% tree replacement ordinance; resident awareness and education; tree inventory; renovation of wells and planting with best practices; and a trained team of arborists to maintain, water, and prune the trees.
They stated that shade trees are important because they provide shade to cool homes, streets, and the entire Village. Cooler homes require less energy, which means lower energy costs and less impact on the environment; cleaner air and reduced ozone and CO2 levels. They generate oxygen for healthier air; reduce runoff and erosion; provide a habitat for wildlife; increase the beauty and serenity of the Village; and increase property values in the sense of Village commitment to the community.
All over the world, trees are recognized as valuable assets. Many cities have well thought out tree plans, which involve planting, maintenance, and aesthetic design. They spoke about the New York City ‘Million Tree Project’ which is a worldwide public program with an ambitious goal to plant and care for 1,000,000 new trees over the city’s five boroughs over the next decade. The global warming climate crisis requires immediate attention, and Ridgewood is in a global warming hot spot. They added that it is also in an air pollution hot spot. Their hope is that the Village Council will start to think about the future, and asked that they do the right thing to help the planet and take action in climate change by taking responsibility for our trees.
Steve Kim, 291 Highland Avenue, stated that each year Ridgewood residents pay taxes to the Library. Last year that amount was $2.26 million, which is 1.46% of overall taxes paid. For the Library folks to insinuate that the residents are free loading on the back of the fundraising makes absolutely no sense. In fact, it’s disrespectful. While the Library has raised $2 million, residents are obligated to pay more than that every single year. The Library has Plan B, which was discussed at a Trustee meeting and at the Village Council meeting last year. It cost $4 million instead of $8 million, with no added impact to the taxpayers, and the same services with more usable space.
Mr. Kim stated that at the last meeting it was noted that the Library did nothing wrong in misrepresenting figures, but that is wrong. Operating reserves are not donations, Friends funds cannot be used for capital projects, and only the dollars earned should be counted when matched donations are concerned. If this was not pointed out, the Library would have continued to lie. Being caught and then forced to correct doesn’t make what they did correct. They lied at a public meeting to Village Council and to the residents. That is unethical, and that is wrong.
There were no additional comments from the public, and Mayor Hache closed public comments.
Mayor Hache thanked the first speakers in Public Comment as they were well prepared and shared a lot of information. The Village Council is definitely listening to their suggestions, and that is part of the Visioning Process in preparation for the new Master Plan. These types of conversations will help identify the actual need. In the last couple of years in the attempts to replant some of the trees, there were about 230 trees planted annually over the last couple of years.
3. MANAGERS REPORT
2020 Village Calendars – Ms. Mailander stated that the 2020 Village Calendars have been delivered to the post office to be distributed to every home and business in the Village of Ridgewood. She asked residents to take a look at the calendar for contact information and Village services, and thanked the businesses who support the calendar through their placement of advertisements.
Update on Zabriskie Schedler House Renovation – Ms. Mailander stated that the asbestos abatement within the house has been completed, and exterior rehabilitation is continuing. The contractor was closed for the holiday week, so no work was completed during this time. Sugar maple branches were trimmed during this time and the roots were reinvigorated by the Village Parks Department. Reframing and shingling is 95% completed with final work occurring this week or early next week. Mortar type color for the exterior stone foundation has been decided on by the architect, Connolly and Hickey Historical Architects. Masonry and roof pointing work is ongoing. Window framing and reglazing is ongoing, and interior structural work including the kitchen floor and concrete slab foundation is ongoing. The next progress meeting will be held tomorrow.
Winter Restaurant Week 2020 – Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and Valley Health System will begin this Sunday, January 12th. This year there will be three weeks of fabulous dining and more. Come to Ridgewood and treat yourself to a selection of prix fix lunch and dinner menus for $30.20. Parking is free on Sunday’s. The Chamber website lists the participating websites and gives further details.
Christmas Trees – Ms. Mailander stated that Christmas trees are being picked up on Tuesday on the East side and Thursday on the West side. Residents may bring their own trees any day to the Graydon parking lot any day until January 30th. Remove all decorations and lights from the tree, and no plastic bags, please. The wreaths and garland will be picked up with regular garbage pickup.
Leaf Placement – Ms. Mailander stated that at this time the final leaf placement date has passed. No additional leaves should be placed along the curb line. Leaf collection should end this Friday, January 10th, weather permitting. You may also place your leaves into biodegradable bags and bring them to the Recycling Center, Monday through Saturday, 8:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.
Brick Bands Around Tree Wells – Ms. Mailander stated that they have been removed from 71 tree wells on Godwin, Wilsey Square, West Ridgewood Avenue, Washington Place, Franklin Avenue, Chestnut Street, some on Oak. All of the remaining brick bands should be removed by the end of January, weather permitting. Some may require additional work, like tree root grinding or removal of the tree, brick paver resetting, metal edging along the brick pavers, or sidewalk and curb replacement, but that will have to be done after the fact as it is not part of this contract.
Annual Parking Permits – Ms. Mailander stated that annual parking permits are on sale at Village Hall at the reception desk. One hundred sixty premium permits for all lots have been sold, and that is the maximum they are selling at this time. The Chestnut Street, North Walnut, Cottage Place, and Route 17 Park and Ride are still available. Central Business District employee hangtags are available for those who work in the downtown, and more details are on the Village website.
Single Use Plastic Bag Ban – Ms. Mailander stated that the single use plastic bag ban went into effect January 1st. All supermarkets, street fairs, restaurants, and farmers markets are prohibited from handing out single use plastic bags. Plastic bags used for garbage, pet waste, prescriptions, newspapers, and to contain loose meat, fruits and vegetables, and baked goods are allowed. They encourage residents to bring reusable bags with them, and thank residents for helping to preserve the environment.
PBA Contract – The Village Council will be considering the adoption of the salary ordinance for the PBA and the PBA Superior Officers Association tonight. The contract is for four years 2018-2021. Those on steps will only receive their steps, those at the top step will receive between 1% up to 2% for the fourth year of the contract. In addition, employees hired after January 1, 2019 will not receive longevity. The minimum number of hours for Ridgewood DPW or Ridgewood Water work outside has been reduced from four hours to three hours and the pay rate has been reduced from $95 per hour to $90 per hour. The approximate cost savings of the salary increases to the top step only is $150,000 for the four year contract and the approximate cost savings through the elimination of longevity is $70,000 per officer over the 25 year career. Longevity is not paid until five years of service. She thanked the PBA and the PBA Superior Officers Association for their understanding, and she looked forward to having the contract signed by the end of the month.
Village Council Upcoming Meetings – Ms. Mailander stated that the Village Council upcoming meetings are January 15th Public Meeting, January 29th Work Session, and February 5th Work Session.
Reminder About Snow Removal – Ms. Mailander stated that if it does snow, all sidewalks in residential districts must be cleaned within 24 hours of the snow falling.
Reminder of Garbage Pickup During Snow and Ice Events – Please bring your garbage cans to the end of your driveway and the Village will not resume rear yard pickup until there is a clear path to your garbage cans. Ms. Mailander stated that they appreciate residents’ assistance in keeping Village employees safe.
Martin Luther King Holiday – Ms. Mailander stated that the Martin Luther King Holiday will be observed on Monday, January 20th. A service will be presented on that day at the United Methodist Church, located on Dayton Street at 10:00 A.M. In addition, all Village offices will be closed on this day with no garbage or recycling pickup.
4. COUNCIL REPORTS
Shade Tree Commission – Councilman Sedon stated that in light of the tree interest, the Shade Tree Commission meetings are always the second Tuesday of the month at 7:30 in the Garden Room.
Mayor Hache added that the Village recently received a $10,000 Forestry Grant which will go towards the tree inventory. Councilman Sedon stated that it would help count the street trees so that they know what the Village has and what needs to be replaced, to help formulate a detailed plan on how to get this going.
Firefighters Beefsteak Dinner – Councilman Sedon thanked the Ridgewood Firefighters for hosting their Beefsteak Dinner and inviting the Village Council.
Planning Board – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that last nights Planning Board meeting was canceled as there was only one application on deck. Unfortunately that applicant had a deficient notice and the Planning Board meeting was canceled as a result.
Ridgewood Library – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that there were individuals at the meeting with the Ridgewood Library, and last week the Mayor, herself, and a couple representatives from the Library met and talked about the plan, the resolution, financing, funding, and cost. They realigned the Reimagine project and took another look at that, so they will be discussing that later on. She added that they prioritized what was important.
Water Main Break – Councilwoman Knudsen stated that her neighborhood woke up to a water main break this morning, and she wanted to thank Ridgewood Water and Village Staff as it was a seamless process and an unexpected emergency, but everything was handled beautifully.
Chamber of Commerce – Councilwoman Walsh stated that the Chamber meeting was this morning and they discussed Restaurant Week and flyers that would be distributed downtown. One of the discussions that came up was residents was those frequenting the Village taking advantage of what is going on. So, the suggestions were that perhaps at the Parking Garage site Epic could put a banner with a rendering and a “Coming Soon” banner. Also, a couple developments did have signage but maybe they could take some ads out in the local newspaper to let others know what is going on. Mayor Hache stated that the developments are going to start marketing. Councilwoman Walsh stated that one did start marketing to interested parties, but this information would go to the general public.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that they also spoke about the kiosks, and the Chamber was wondering if the 15 minute spots could keep the meters. Ms. Mailander stated that they were planning to keep a meter at the 15 minute spots. Councilwoman Walsh added that they talked about the tree wells, and the Chamber was very happy. They also spoke about CBDAC and possibly hiring a PR firm for downtown Ridgewood and things going on within the CBD. The Chamber does a brochure every year with mostly local businesses that run ads. They were wondering if they could connect with Parkmobile and since it would come out around the time that the garage would be finished, perhaps Parkmobile could take a full page ad and the municipal information would be on the other side talking about where the parking lots are and the kiosk information. Mayor Hache added that those were great suggestions by the Chamber.
Citizen Safety – Councilman Voigt stated that Citizen Safety had its meeting on December 19th. There were a number of parents who came to the meeting who were concerned about the signalized intersection at West Glen and North Monroe. There were suggestions for how to address the intersection. His recommendation is that the intersection be included in the capital budget for next year. Issues continue with the entrance and exit to the Starbucks, and he knows Mr. Rutishauser spoke about issuing a Notice of Non-Conformance to them. The anticipated construction of the West Glen Avenue sidewalks west of Hillcrest, is in 2020 and was talked about at CSAC.
Mayor Hache asked if there was any feedback in CSAC regarding Walnut. Councilman Voigt stated that it has been very positive and the residents are really appreciative of what has been done. They can do a before and after and get some of the data to see whether it has had an effect. Mayor Hache asked if they were seeing an improvement. Councilman Voigt stated that they were very happy.
Martin Luther King Weekend – Councilman Voigt stated that a flyer has been put together for next weekend for Martin Luther King Weekend. The events are free and open to the public. Friday there is a movie at the Library, Saturday services in Glen Rock, Sunday services at Mouth Bethel, and Monday United Methodist Church.
League of Women Voters – Councilman Voigt stated that the League of Women Voters put together a passport for encouraging high school students to come to events like this. What would happen is the Mayor would stamp them coming to the event to show some civic involvement. It is a really nice way to get the students involved, and it will be pushed at the high school over the next couple months.
2020 Census – Mayor Hache stated that the Village is preparing for the 2020 Census, and added that it is very important that we get an accurate count as in 2010 the Census Bureau estimates that the Village was undercounted 20% to 30%. It is important that the Village is fully counted to get its fair share of the $675 billion or more in Federal funding for services and infrastructure that is up for grabs, and also representation in Congress is also impacted. He has been working with the US Census Bureau on ensuring that happens, and created a Complete Count Committee to maximize the outreach to the community.
Starting in March, residents will receive invitations to fill out the census online. There is a lot to be aware of, so the Village will be engaging in an information campaign regarding who and how you will be contacted for the Census. They encourage everyone to complete the census, including non-documented individuals. All the information will be kept 100% confidential by the US Census Bureau. The Census should be done online, and all family members should be counted. Mayor Hache encouraged everyone to check the website, which is continually being updated.
Mayor Hache added that there would be employment opportunities for part time work for anyone who is interested, and he believes the Library will be hosting a Job Fair.
Hudson Street Parking Garage – Mayor Hache stated that they continue to have the monthly parking garage meetings. It is a way to keep them on track and up to date. They are moving forward very soon into the erection phase beginning February 3rd. The delivery routes for the precast concrete has been determined, which is Route 17 to Route 4, Saddle River Road through Fair Lawn, onto Prospect Street, to minimize the traffic in the CBD. The completion date is still at the end of June.
Central Business District Advisory Committee – Mayor Hache stated that CBDAC is meeting tomorrow. At the last meeting, there was a discussion as the committee is exploring several recommendations to make and how to market Ridgewood. They are working on a recommendation to bring to the Council for the budget season to see if there is any funding to hire a Public Relations firm or a consultant to help get the word out. They discussed getting the businesses together with the developers and to come up with a welcome package for the new residents. Councilwoman Walsh added that this is their bread and butter and they want to try to get as much in this as goes out.
1. Ord. #3773 – Amend Parking Ordinance #3751
Ms. Mailander stated that this amends the fact that Ridgewood resident parking permit indicated that Hudson Lot was included in the parking permit, and this removes that from this ordinance.
2. Ord. #3774 – Amend Walnut Street Lot Parking Ordinance
Ms. Mailander stated that there are a few changes here, they found that the CBD employee spots in the North Walnut lot seem to be empty in the evenings. A resident stated that he would go to the CBD to eat and he asked if possibly they could consider having those spots earlier for others to park there. She asked Sergeant Chuck, and he did indicate that after 6:00 P.M. there are fewer CBD employees parking there, so they are recommending that after 6:00 P.M. these spots are open for anybody to park there. Monday through Friday people would still have to pay through Parkmobile for those two hours because the meters run until 8:00 P.M. and then on Saturday, the parking meters stop at 6:00 P.M. so they wouldn’t have to pay.
Ms. Mailander stated that another change is that in the Code it is designated that CBD employee parking is from 6:00 A.M. to 2:00 A.M. In thinking about it, 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. should cover it. For North Walnut Street, it says after 6:00 P.M. the CBD permit is not required and meter rates apply, and her recommendation is to not refer to the 11 hour limit there but just say that it is for the designated spaces in that lot. The same thing goes for Saturday after 6:00 P.M. where it says 12 hours for the CBD spaces, but she would say no time limit hours in there only for the fact that this is just another part designating that they won’t need the permit anymore after 6:00 P.M.
Councilman Sedon asked if Walnut Street was getting a parking kiosk, as well. Ms. Mailander stated that there will be a kiosk in the North Walnut Lot, so it may be that they have to go to the far end to use the kiosk and it may be more convenient for them to use Parkmobile.
1. Award Additional Professional Services Contract – Site Remediation – Hudson Garage
Ms. Mailander stated that in 2019 at the October Public Meeting, they adopted funding for $50,000 to start the site remediation at the Hudson Street Lot. In December, they came back for an additional $125,000 for removal of the contaminated soil. At this time, the site remediation company has asked that they get an additional $50,000 to resolve the site and soil environmental issues. This is predicated on no additional unknowns. Some of this will be offset in credits from the subcontractor preparing the site for the garage since they would have to truck out the soil anyway. Once they determine what their costs would have been to remove the soil, in addition there were boulders that were found that would have had to be removed by the subcontractor. The Vilage will get a credit from the subcontractor because of that. In addition, next week they would like to consider an ordinance to be introduced that would pay the Village back for the total amount of the site remediation because right now they are pulling from funds that were extra in the 2019 budget, but really they don’t exist. This will be refunded through the bond ordinance that will be introduced next week.
2. Ord. #3771 – Amend Salary Ord. #3752 – Non-Union Management
Ms. Mailander stated that there was a typographical error on both of these ordinances, and for both of these groups the base salary in Section 1 should be a 0% increase, and the increases are based on a performance evaluation by each employee.
3. Ord. #3772 – Amend Salary Ord. #3753 – Non Union Employees
4. Ord. # 3765 – Amend Chapter 190 – Land Use and Development – Permit Instructional Schools in OB-1 and OB-2 Zones
Ms. Mailander stated that the Instructional Schools ordinance was sent to the Planning Board for review, in OB-1 and OB-2 Districts, and they recommended that the Village move forward with adoption to state the specific amendments in the Code. They are going to amend it on the floor and then Mr. Rogers indicated that it wasn’t a substantive change, and it also changes the title.
5. Ord. # 3762 – Amend Chapter 190 – Establish Rules and Regulations for Winter Door Enclosures for Existing Restaurants
Ms. Mailander stated that the Planning Board reviewed this and they are recommending that the Village Council consider allowing winter door enclosures during the month of December, because right now they have it just in January and February. She added that at this point she thinks they should just adopt it as it will be effective at the end of this month, but they can discuss this further at the subsequent work session and then decide if they want to allow it in December.
Councilman Sedon made a motion to suspend the Work Session and go to a Special Public Meeting. Councilwoman Knudsen seconded the motion.
6. SPECIAL PUBLIC MEETING - SEE SEPARATE MINUTES
Councilwoman Knudsen made a motion to adjourn the Special Public Meeting and reconvene the Work Session. Councilwoman Walsh seconded the motion.
Roll Call Vote
AYES: Councilmembers Knudsen, Sedon, Voigt, Walsh and Mayor Hache
7. PRESENTATION – REIMAGINE RIDGEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY
Mayor Hache stated that he was very happy to have the Library Renovation back on the agenda as he thinks this presents a unique opportunity for the Village and they have the opportunity to pool private, municipal, and state funds for the benefit of a municipal asset, which is quite unique. He added that they also have the opportunity to get this right and after the last meeting where they voted on the resolution, a lot of good points were brought up. They all appreciate the importance of the Library, and after that discussion he felt it was important to get everyone back and talking about what they need to bring to the table and figure out. They had a chance to talk and meet over the holiday. There were concerns that were raised by Councilman Sedon about the footprint and the effect on the 9/11 memorial trees, during a meeting with Councilwoman Knudsen and members of the Board and Foundation. They talked about the points that get this project moving forward. Mayor Hache added that it was a very productive discussion and he was glad to have the Library here to present on some of those items that they talked about.
Nancy Greene, Director of the Ridgewood Public Library, stated that the Library team is very grateful for the Village Council’s support and for the entire community’s support. She added that they also appreciate the comments and suggestions of the Village Council, and they are developing an alternative to the original concept plan which would retain the existing footprint and would also avoid significant alterations to the building’s existing structural framework. They just started conversations with the architect this week, and they don’t have drawings yet, but she wants to have a plan that the entire community can be behind. They are also exploring improvements that would enhance the building’s efficiency and sustainability. Some of those improvements aren’t entirely visible, such as verifying the roof, considering a generator, and looking at the last two HVAC units that were not updated. Ms. Greene stated that several years ago an engineer went through all of those elements and say they were satisfactory, but that was several years ago. They also got the State Grant application issued on Monday. The maximum per project is $12.5 million so they are well within the maximum. She added that they are very interested in sustainability elements of projects, so they are working as fast as they can to develop information on those areas and to incorporate it into the project budget and overall plan.
Ms. Mailander stated that it would be good for Ms. Greene to go through the Resolution and the changes that were made. Ms. Greene stated that the changes that they made to the Resolution that was discussed in December, are they added emphasis on the fact that the Library’s current configuration and aging infrastructure are insufficient to today’s services. They eliminated the phrase about the Trustees engaging architects and consultants at the Library’s expense because they did have a donation from the Foundation for $20,000 toward those costs. In paragraph 6, they removed the cost estimate of $7.7 million. She doesn’t know exactly what the new cost will be, but she is sure it isn’t going to be that amount exactly. In paragraph 8, in areas where they talk about the Village Council providing municipal support they have established the term “up to” in front of the dollar amount requested of $2 million. In paragraph 10, they eliminated reference to the Village Council providing matching funds, and said that the Council would be committed to responsibly providing funds, which will not be necessary until the State announces grant awards. Ms. Greene stated that all of the rest of the resolution is as it was.
Councilwoman Knudsen thanked Ms. Greene, and added that she wanted to give the public some background as to how they got to this point. She mentioned the public comment about the original numbers and misrepresentations. When that occurred she immediately reached out for Ms. Greene and they looked at every single penny and cleaned it up and will never know how that happened, but she doesn’t believe that Ms. Greene in any way was attempting to deceive the Village Council, but it has been straightened out and allocated appropriately. Mayor Hache stated that the difference between a lie and a false statement is intent. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the language in the Resolution going back to it that the Library Board of Trustees at their own expense, when it wasn’t at their own expense, they had to change that language and clean it up so that the public understands where these funds are coming from and why they are being represented where they are. She added that Councilman Sedon and herself were concerned about the 9/11 trees. They also talked about the cost/benefit analysis of even doing the auditorium because there was just no bang for the buck there and when all was said and done it didn’t make sense to proceed with that. Removing the big central staircase and re-examining at that was critical. It actually really changed the trajectory of this project because so much of the interior elements were impacted by that staircase and some that was critical to the safety and security of even the visitors. It was an important exercise. The reason they used the up to $2 million language is because as the group goes back to revisit this to realign the Reimagine, they don’t know what that cost will be but they want to have the resolution in place. Then they can go back and make a determination of the number they will commit to.
Ms. Greene stated that they would come back to the Village Council and do a public presentation of the alternative concept plan, and it won’t go in on the application unless the Council is in agreement that this is the best thing we can do for our community. Mayor Hache stated that one of the things that come out in this type of discussion, is that the size of the project will be constrained by the amount that can be raised and from the grant. The only fixed number here is what the Village will provide to the project. So, if they are thinking about coming up with different plans based on funding it could be any number and each of those plans cost money to produce. They have an idea of what the maximum amount that the project can be, but that is dependent on what is raised. Ms. Greene stated that the design-development process is very intensive, and they would not approach the fees until they know the amount of funding they are going to have. The State grant stated that they are accepting round 1 of applications but they are holding onto the possibility that they might choose to do it in two rounds.
Councilman Voigt thanked Betsy Giordano, Paul McCarthy, the Bolger’s Gail Campbell, Library Board of Trustees, and a lot of the private individuals who gave of their time and money for this. It is an important initiative for the town and is one of the most important parts of it. What Ms. Greene is trying to do makes perfect sense and it is where it has to go. He also thanked Ms. Greene for her leadership.
Councilman Sedon stated that a lot of this is depending on whatever the State provides as a grant to the Library. Ms. Greene stated that part of what they need to do is they have to submit a funding plan when the applications are due between March 9th and April 6th. If they come up with a project that is $6.5 million. They have to state what the anticipated sources of income are and it’s not binding on the Village Council if they put $2 million, but they are going to have to put a number in there before they apply. Councilman Sedon thanked Ms. Greene and added that he thinks it is starting to go in the right direction, and it will get a lot more widespread community support and will be something that everyone can get behind.
Ms. Greene stated that they have Repair Cafes from time to time where people can bring in anything that is broken and people will try to fix it. At the next one coming up they are letting people bring in snowblowers and generators, which will take off the Recycling crew’s work. Councilwoman Knudsen thanked Ms. Greene because when they are talking about this type of a project, it is a concept plan, but it is very hard to assign a cost to that concept plan, so even $7.7 million in speculative. It is important to understand that not only are they revisiting the project completely, but once that is done and there is some award, then they start to work within the budget, which is critical to how this process will move forward. Ms. Greene added that there are a lot of unknowns, but she was looking forward to working with the Village Council and they were very grateful for the Council’s guidance.
a. Ridgewood Water
1. Reject Bid – Landscaping Services
Ms. Mailander stated that Ridgewood Water went out for bids in December, and one bid was received from LTI, Inc. of Montville for $128,680. They are rejecting the bid because it exceeded the cost estimate for this service of $95,000. They will readvertise and revise the project a bit and then go out for bids again.
b. Parking – NONE
1. Award Contract – 2020 Program Instruction – Recreation Division
Ms. Mailander stated that every year the Recreation Department goes out for outside vendors to receive proposals from them for program instruction for the upcoming year. Nine proposals were received and all are returning vendors. The Recreation Division does not commit to all offerings in any proposal and pricing is negotiable throughout the year. The cost of the programs to the participants includes the fees charged by the outside vendors.
2. Award Contract – Horticultural Supplies – Parks and Recreation
Ms. Mailander stated that this is the second year of a two year contract to the lowest responsible bidder, SiteOne Landscape Supply of Mahwah. This will be paid for out of the operating budget for Recreation. It is not to exceed $45,500 with $34,500 coming from the Parks and Recreation budget and $11,000 coming from the Project Pride budget.
3. Award Contract – Maintenance of Irrigation Systems/Water Fountains
Ms. Mailander stated that this is the second year of a two-year contract to the lowest responsible bidder, Sprinkler Guy Irrigation, LLC of Fair Lawn, in an amount not to exceed $20,000. This comes from the Parks and Recreation budget.
4. Award Contract – County Purchasing Program – Rock Salt
Ms. Mailander stated that the Village is going to exceed the statutory limit for rock salt this year. This years quote is for $54.41 per ton, last year was $55.93 per ton, but they are saving a lot of money over the state contract. She thanked Mr. Rutishauser for looking into that and getting the Village the best price.
5. Authorize Shared Services Agreement – Borough of Norwood – Barbershop, Beauty Shop and Nail Salon Inspections
Ms. Mailander stated that this includes everything that they do in the Village. Norwood has nine facilities and the estimate is that it will be approximately three days for the inspector to inspect this. Travel time is included in the charge as well as a profit for the Village. Bob Rooney and Dan Cetrulo figured this out. It would be up to 35 hours of regular time, and at a rate of time and a half. The Borough of Norwood is very anxious for the Village to participate in this Shared Services Agreement. All of the Village cosmetology applications and renewals were all paid by December 31st, and she thanked the operators and owners of those businesses for doing so.
Mayor Hache asked if Norwood was already doing these inspections. Ms. Mailander stated that they were not and had read about the Village doing it, and approached the Village in the summer about it. Norwood decided that they wanted to do these types of inspections for the safety of those customers, but their Health Services wouldn’t do that because they contract with the County.
Councilwoman Knudsen thanked Ms. Mailander and Ms. Cetrulo for following through with this because it is a great Shared Service.
6. Award State Contract – Emergency Radio Equipment – Fire, Police & Emergency Services
Ms. Mailander stated that this is a request to replace the receiver site on the roof of the Board of Education building for radio coverage in the Central Business District. The equipment that was there was relocated to Ridgewood High School because there was no radio coverage in the surrounding area of the high school. The only consequence to moving the equipment to the high school is that it weakened the coverage to the Central Business District and surrounding area. It will be a receiver site to improve emergency radio coverage for Fire, Police, and Emergency Services. It is under State Contract, Motorola of Woodcliff Lake is the vendor and the amount is not to exceed $59,000.
7. Award Contract – 2020 Recyclable Materials Disposal
Ms. Mailander stated that for several years the Recycling Division has been reporting the increasing challenges of the recycling market. There are fewer buyers and China has imposed quality standards, so less things are recyclable. The Village has seen increasing costs, as well as other municipalities throughout the country. In May 2019, the cost was $2,851.23 to dispose of our recyclable material. In November 2019, it went to $7,497.92. They are awarding a contract for 2020 to Atlantic Coast Fibers of Passaic. As an estimate they believe it will be around $100,000 to dispose of these recyclable materials.
8. Weekday Closures of Graydon Pool
Ms. Mailander stated that every year when they open at the beginning of June, they are open from 12:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. from June 1st to June 24th, which is usually when the High School lets out and there is a lack of the availability of staff for the lifeguards. This is a continual challenge, annually while school is still in session. She added that this is about the safety and ability to have enough staff in order to open the pool. In surrounding towns with pools, some only open on weekends until the end of June, and others don’t open at all until the end of June. Crestwood Lake opens from 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. on June 1st.
Ms. Mailander stated that the recommendation is that Graydon Pool open on weekends until June 25th, or if they do open on weekdays that it be from 3:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. on those early days in June. This way, the students will be out and able to assist the college students who are the lifeguards. In addition, the Director of the pool who is a teacher will be able to get there. It would enable them to provide the necessary lifeguard services and be able to have it be safe for those who are there as well as for the lifeguards.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she was uncomfortable with this because they were going to cut back a 13 week season to 9 full weeks. Ms. Mailander stated that it depends on what way they go. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that it seems to her that here they are in January, and this should have been something that was brought to the Village Council in September or October so that maybe some other options may have been explored. There are college students there and the kids from the High School, but they should be looking to staff this appropriately and explore other sources for manpower.
Mayor Hache stated that the County contacted him at the end of the summer or early fall because they had nobody and were looking for lifeguards that could do a bathing beach as they were having a problem with shortage and staffing. The YMCA also reported the same problem with a shortage of staff in their pools, as well. He asked if there were any additional sources of lifeguards. Ms. Mailander stated that she could go back to Recreation and ask them to take a look at it. The YMCA in Ridgewood last summer, asked if they had extra lifeguards that could go to the Y. Those who are lifeguards at a bathing beach can do a cement bottom pool, but not vice versa. According to the Director of Parks and Recreation it seems like there is a lack of people who want to become lifeguards.
Councilwoman Knudsen asked when they do an analysis of what the savings are, in terms of that week was that just for those particular weeks and is it more lightly staffed. Ms. Mailander stated that it was just those weeks until graduation. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if that amount was for those particular weeks with perhaps a lower staffing level. Ms. Mailander stated that it was for those three weeks that it was lower. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if they went to the nine weeks, what would they do then with the cost as everything is relative. Councilman Sedon stated that was where he was going with this, as if they cut the time by 1/3rd they should cut the fee by 1/3rd.
Ms. Mailander stated that the alternate proposal gives people a chance to go if they wish, kids are still in school so they parents can bring them after school and it would allow the High School kids to be out of school and to assist the College kids that are lifeguards. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that there are people who have younger children who aren’t yet in school, but also a whole population that has nobody in the school and might want to go during the day when it’s quieter. She added that they have to look at some other option here and look at some other resources for manpower.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that when they are looking for lifeguards, the time that she has been at the pool the majority of them are Ridgewood residents, young adults. She asked if that was the issue, that when they are going through the hiring process they are giving right of first refusal to people who may not be the best candidate because they can’t commit to the whole season. Mayor Hache stated that Glen Rock has had the same problem. Councilwoman Walsh added that she thought maybe it was the hiring practice, because her daughter was trying to get jobs last summer and the first thing they asked was if she could commit through Labor Day. Ms. Mailander stated that they understand that the College students are going to go back earlier and the High School students are still here. Later in the summer they will have a drop off of the college students, but at that time of the year there are fewer people going to Graydon. Councilwoman Walsh suggested reaching out to residents of other towns. Ms. Mailander stated that they could do an advertisement in local shopper papers and social media.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she would advertise on social media because maybe there are some parents out there that may be willing to take the job. She encouraged them to think outside the box and look for something different. Ms. Mailander added that there may be a staffing agency. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that there was a whole world outside of that group that maybe they could reach out to. Councilman Sedon suggested a temp agency.
9. Award Contract – Acoustical Panels for Glen School Pickleball Courts
Ms. Mailander stated that the Mayor, Nancy Bigos, and herself met with several of the surrounding neighbors of the Glen Courts which have been converted to four pickleball courts and they were very concerned with the noise because of the paddle and the ball. They have worked out some solutions, and there is strict use of muted balls only, signage posted to enforce this, and the purchase and installation of six foot by ten foot acoustical panels for three sides of the court. They went out for quotes to three vendors, and the lowest responsible bidder was Acoustiblok of Florida. Principal Engineer Brian Duddy has researched this product, its installation process and efficiency in noise reduction and believes that it will be helpful. The contract is not to exceed $22,241.70. There is money in the capital account for this purchase. In addition, the tennis court ordinance amendment would be to require all pickleball players to use muted balls at all times. The neighbors were eager for this to go into effect in the spring, and the Village is hopeful that this will diminish the noise for them.
Councilman Voigt asked if they could test the acoustic blocks, as he would hate to buy this and then find out it didn’t work. He asked if one of these companies would give some demos to try to see if the neighbors were happy. Ms. Mailander stated that she didn’t know if they would do it on a trial basis but she could look into it. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if there were any locations nearby. Ms. Mailander stated that the company did an air conditioner surround nearby and it definitely muted it. She believes that it is going to help and be better than what is existing. Mayor Hache stated that the muted balls will certainly help, as the reduction is about 2/3rds.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that it was so troubling to have the residents come in and talk about the sudden shocking amount of noise coming from the pickleball court and their inability to have quiet enjoyment of their property, that they actually imposed on them without having all the proper information. It bothered her because these are our neighbors. Ms. Mailander stated that there was also a group that came and thanked them for the courts. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that there was a big difference because they get to pick up their ball and go home, and she appreciated them thanking the Village, but what they did to the neighbors there is not intentional but she felt really bad when they were here telling the Village Council about what they were experiencing. Councilwoman Walsh added that they didn’t understand the impact. Councilwoman Knudsen agreed, and added that she thinks this is an important learning experience.
Mayor Hache stated that the unintended consequence that they heard from the neighbors is that there aren’t many of the courts and it is a very popular sport for 55 and older population. They are getting people from New York City and beyond coming in to play at these courts. One of the other concerns was the strict enforcement of the muted balls and also non-residents not being allowed. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they should also look at what the hours should be. If people are out there playing in the later hours of the summer, you can’t sit outside and have dinner. Mayor Hache stated that there is the enforcement issue, as well. Ms. Mailander stated that the Recreation Division has said that they would enforce after hearing the stories from the neighbors. She added that they were adamant about having this in place for the Spring, because they want it to be less noisy for them.
Mayor Hache stated that the muted ball brings the noise level down to that of a tennis ball. Ms. Mailander stated that it would be a benefit to purchase these because she doesn’t know how long it takes for them to get here. She stated that she could bring it back in January, but they did tentatively say to the neighbors that they wanted to get this all in place for the residents by March. Mayor Hache stated that if someone is playing out there with regular pickleballs the residents want an ordinance so they can call into complain. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the location that has the surround right now is just around an air conditioner. Ms. Mailander stated that it was a big air conditioner at a large facility.
Councilwoman Walsh questioned the weather and saturation, and if these panels were meant for the exterior. Ms. Mailander stated that they were for the outdoors. Councilwoman Walsh asked if they were able to be vandalized and what the material was. Ms. Mailander stated that they were bigger panels, and she assumed anything could be vandalized. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if the company could send the Village Council a sample so they could understand. Ms. Mailander stated that she didn’t want to delay it too long but she was concerned about the affirmation that they told the neighbors that the Village would do everything they can. Mayor Hache stated that the big concern was about the ordinance being in place. Ms. Mailander stated that they could introduce the ordinance and will look into the hours.
10. Award Contract – Grant Writing Services
Ms. Mailander stated that the contract for Millennium Strategies, the grant writer, expired at the end of October 2019. At that time, the Village Council decided not to move forward with renewing the contract because the cost to do so is $30,000 and the Village received $26,500 from grants done by the grant writer. Ms. Mailander stated that at that time there were pending grants, and the Village has received an additional $30,000 in grants. One was for a recreational opportunity for individuals with disabilities for $20,000 and the other was $10,000 for the tree inventory. The total in grants was $56,500 and these are grant application that the Village would most likely not have been able to prepare on its own, either due to expertise or availability of staff time to do so. Based on the additional grants which were awarded, Ms. Mailander asked the Village Council to reconsider and agree to rehire the grant writer from February 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021.
Councilman Voigt stated that he was okay with that. Councilwoman Knudsen asked when they first talked about this a couple of months ago and they were talking about the $26,500, her recollection was that included the $20,000. Ms. Mailander stated that it didn’t, this is a different grant as the one prior was for the children. Councilwoman Knudsen asked who was the vendor that delivered those programs. Ms. Mailander stated that Healthbarn is and it allows the Village to provide those programs to our residents and allows a portion of our population to recreate together. She thinks that the grant is not just going to be Healthbarn, but is also going to be life guidance, and meditation. She added that at the December meeting, there were parents who came in and said that their son is aging out of the other programs and that it is wonderful to have these kids be able to recreate together in a coed and controlled environment and be able to socially interactive with each other.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she wasn’t dismissing the importance and the value of the program, what she is asking if $40,000 of the grant money received went to Healthbarn. Ms. Mailander stated that she wasn’t sure of the amounts. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if they could get a breakdown of all the grants and where that money went because she was having a hard time with the Village spending the money with Millennium when they could instead take that money and run a program out of the Recreation Department. Instead, they are giving $40,000 to a private business. Ms. Mailander stated that when they hire vendors for the recreation programs they are paying those business owners to run those programs. Councilwoman Knudsen agreed, but stated that they are paying $30,000 to get that money, so the Village is still technically in the red. She added that she wanted to see a breakdown. Mayor Hache stated that they get back to the same issue of is it worth offering the programs. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she didn’t think so, but she wanted to see a breakdown of all the grant money that came in, what the grants were, and where that money went. The $36,000 is real money.
11. Bond Ordinance – Paving, Additional Security Enhancements for Village Buildings and Facilities
Ms. Mailander stated that in January, they usually introduce a bond ordinance for certain items that need to be done before the overall capital budget is adopted. One item is paving, the other is for additional security improvements to Village buildings and facilities. This will include replacement of door controllers, new wi-fi locksets, and installation of cameras and switches at various Village facilities. This is for $200,000. Mr. Rutishauser’s memo is attached and he is proposing $2 million this year worth of paving, in addition to two grants which were received from NJDOT in the amount of $175,000 and $210,000. One is for Spring Avenue and the other for South Broad Street.
1. Amend Rules and Regulations – Chapter 212 – Tennis Courts – Pickle Ball
2. Declare January Radon Action Month
Ms. Mailander stated that this would declare January Radon Action Month, and she wanted to announce that they have several free test kits and also some handouts on radon, so anyone who would like to get a test kit may come to the Health Department and pick one up. This will test to see if your house has radon. Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer. You mail the test kit away and get the results to do what is necessary to reduce the amount of radon if it is elevated.
3. Amend Bulk Refuse Ordinance
Ms. Mailander stated that Sean Hamlin, the Supervisor of Recycling and Sanitation, and he has worked his way up from the beginning and she congratulated him on his promotion. She added that he has a very valid concern for his employees. They pick up large furniture bulk items, carpet, area rugs, sofas, mattresses, and box springs. He would like there to be a requirement these items are wrapped in plastic.
Mr. Hamlin stated that because of bed bugs, the guys pick up mattresses and sometimes it rains the night before and the mattresses get reconstituted by the rain and they don’t always have handles or additional assistance. Sometimes this gets on their clothes. They purchased mattress bags to offer for sale at the Recycling Center that they would require them to be wrapped in to prevent those things from happening to their employees. There was also an issue with carpets, and people putting out full length 12 foot carpets, and they get wet and you never know what kind of bodily fluids are in those carpets. He discussed no longer requesting a requirement to wrap the carpeting in plastic, but to require them to be cut down into four foot sections to minimize plastic going into the landfill. The same would go for the cushions, as long as they can keep them away from their body.
Mayor Hache stated that there are also chairs that are put out, but those may be less awkward to carry. Mr. Hamlin stated that the main concern for him are the mattresses and the carpet. The language is not in the Code currently to cut the carpet down to a smaller size. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she was surprised, as she always thought you had to cut carpet down. Mr. Hamlin stated that there are rules for branches and pieces of wood, but the language is not in there for carpets. Councilwoman Knudsen asked how a resident would cut the carpet if they took it up themselves. Mr. Hamlin stated that they would have to cut it with a box knife before they rolled it, and then tape it. Councilwoman Knudsen added that the water on the mattress would also add to the weight of it. Mr. Hamlin agreed and added that the memory foam mattresses don’t have any handles and they soak up a lot of water. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that they should encourage whoever is delivering the new mattress to take it away. Mr. Hamlin stated that some companies charge, but most take the old mattresses away for free.
Ms. Mailander clarified that they were going to cut the carpet into four foot lengths and which items would be wrapped. Mr. Hamlin stated that the mattresses would be wrapped, but not the carpets and the sofa cushions. Councilwoman Knudsen asked about the mattress bags. Mr. Hamlin had an example to show the Village Council, and showed that it went by the mattress size. It was about $7 for a mattress bag. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that it would be easy for someone to slip the mattress in and tie it up. Mr. Hamlin stated that the mattress bags would be available where residents pick up the recycling containers. Councilwoman Knudsen asked when the bags would be available. Mr. Hamlin stated that they would order the bags as soon as this was approved. Councilwoman Knudsen added that this should go on social media as well. Mr. Hamlin was in agreement.
1. Amend Zoning Ordinances – OB-1 and OB-2 – Rt. 17
Ms. Mailander stated that this is the lettering on the signs that was discussed previously. The Planning Board recommended it be adopted in this form, and if the Village Council was okay with this form they would introduce it next week.
2. Permit for Winter Door Enclosures for Businesses
3. Village Code Pertaining to Signs
4. Designate Acting Municipal Court Administrator
Ms. Mailander stated that this is of the Court Administrator for the Village is on an unscheduled or scheduled leave, which would be the only time this person would step in. Glen Rock’s Municipal Court Administrator would step in, but she is now our Court Administrator through a Shared Services with Glen Rock, so the one that they recommended is Rochelle Park as the Acting Court Administrator, and then we would be theirs. This is a formality so that the AOC would know who the Court Administrator would be if ours was unavailable.
5. Improvements to Traffic Signals at West Glen Avenue and North Monroe Street
Ms. Mailander stated that Sergeant Chuck and Mr. Rutishauser were going to give an overview of the meeting for Citizen Safety and then they can see how to proceed. Mr. Rutishauser stated that the location of the intersection of West Glen and North Monroe was brought to the Citizen Safety Advisory Committee. A number of residents came out expressing concerns on conditions at the intersection. In response to that, Sergeant Chuck and Mr. Rutishauser looked at their respective files in their Departments and Mr. Rutishauser did a field visit. They have a plan going forward for a capital funding request.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that a one of the things that the residents are looking for are pedestrian countdown signals, which gives them a countdown as they cross the street. Residents also mentioned accidents at the intersection, in addition to poor lighting. He sent an email to the Lighting Consultant at PSE&G, but he has not yet received a response. In regard to the accidents, Engineering looked at the accident reports and saw a couple of things. Some of the observations were that a lot of the accidents were where a vehicle didn’t clear the intersection before another vehicle impacts it. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they decided to implement an all red cycle of five seconds. That will help clear the latter out of the intersection before the next direction starts up. They did that immediately because they have the ability to do so with Traffic and Signal.
Sergeant Chuck stated that the main focus was what, why, how the accidents are occurring and what time they are occurring. They were under the impression that a lot of them were late night, but the majority of them were during commuting hours. The volume of accidents was a little concerning. They put as many resources as they can into this to see what kind of resolution they could come up with. Some of them, they were able to fix right away. The lighting upgrade will be an improvement for the late night accidents, and some of these evening car accidents are in the dusk or dark hours. Sergeant Chuck stated that the next step is the larger improvement that Mr. Rutishauser was going to talk about.
Mr. Rutishauser stated that current lights are 8 inch in diameter, they are proposing increasing them to a 12 inch diameter bulb, giving greater visibility for a motorist approaching the intersection. To do that, they need to replace the mast, arms, and the vertical poles and will have to set them back a little bit as a number of accidents have taken out the signal boxes and various poles. By setting the poles back further from the pavement, they won’t get wiped out so quickly. They need to find out the property limits, and they need to draw it up to see how it will fit with what exists and whether they make have to make a recommendation for property taking to make the best design. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they were looking to re-do the whole intersection. The only thing they were not going to have to upgrade is the traffic controller as that was recently redone due to an accident.
Sergeant Chuck stated that one of the reasons Mr. Rutishauser thinks it’s a good idea, and he agrees with him, is that to increase the size of the diameter of the lights is that the most common accident there is a rear end collision for the red light going west. So, that is everyone coming up the hill. The good news is those are normally less damaged and not as severe, but that seemed to be the most accidents they have. The next was right angle, which the five second stop should help. By increasing the diameter, he thinks the light will jump out at people.
Councilman Voigt asked what the timing was and when they might be able to get this done. Mr. Rutishauser stated that they are looking at finalizing the pricing from the vendors. He is anticipating this work will be done by the Traffic and Signal Division, but it is just a question of scheduling. This is one of their fortes, and it depends on when the capital funds are allocated, but this is something that could be done by September 2020. Councilman Voigt stated that there was an issue with the right turn going up West Glen to Monroe, where the residents believe there is an obstruction from the bushes. He asked if Mr. Rutishauser saw anything that relates to that. Mr. Rutishauser agreed that there were some bushes there, and added that they were going to take a better look at them once they decide where the light poles will go.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that the vegetation would be the triangulation of sight line, because if it is blocking the site line that may be a quick fix they should look at. Mr. Rutishauser stated that it can be a quick fix if its shrubbery, but they look at the particular locations carefully and see what the impact is and how it can be adjusted. They don’t want to go out and clear cut the shrubbery buffers that people put up.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that it struck her when reading the CSAC minutes that the bus stop sign is down and they call NJ Transit to fix it, but isn’t that something that the Village can just put back up. Mr. Rutishauser stated that he sent a picture of the sign to the public affairs person at NJ Transit but he doesn’t have a response. Traffic and Signal make it clear that it is not their responsibility, because if they don’t install it in the exact manner that the responsible agency wants, they might have some liability for it. There is another bus stop sign on Route 17 Southbound that is in a horizontal position, so he was going to follow up with Transit on it. Councilwoman Knudsen asked if something happened as a result of the sign being down would that then become their responsibility, as well. Mr. Rogers stated that it is Transit’s jurisdiction, so it would be theirs to fix. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that goes both ways in terms of liability. Mr. Rogers stated that they have put Transit on notice, so they have taken the appropriate steps. Sergeant Chuck stated that it is not a regulatory sign, so he thinks if that was an issue they would make sure it was adjusted right away.
9. REVIEW OF JANUARY 15, 2020 PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA
Ms. Mailander stated that this was a review of the January 15, 2020 Public Meeting Agenda.
Proclamations: Jamboree Days; and Declare January Radon Action Month.
Resolution of Appointment and Swearing-in of Tax Assessor Anthony Rinaldi, Jr.
Swearing in of Police Officer Christopher Donoghue.
Resolution: Authorize Temporary Capital Budget.
There are no ordinances for introduction or public hearing for Ridgewood Water.
Resolutions for Ridgewood Water include: Reject Bid – Landscaping Services.
The following ordinances are scheduled for introduction: 3775 – Bond Ordinance – Street Paving and Streetscape, Security for Village-Owned Facilities and Buildings; 3776 – Bond Ordinance – Environmental Cleanup for Hudson Street Parking Lot; 3777 – Amend Chapter 212 – Parks and Recreation Areas – Rules and Regulations for Tennis Courts – Pickleball; 3778 – Amend Chapter 190 – Land Use and Development – Requirements for Lettering on Signs; and 3779 – Amend Chapter 165 – Garbage, Refuse and Recycling – Bulk Refuse Requirements.
The scheduled public hearings include: 3768 – Amend Chapter 265 – Vehicles and Traffic – Parking Permit for Two-Wheeled Motorized Vehicles in Park and Ride Lot and Garber Square Train Station Lot; and 3769 – Amend Chapter 145 – Fees – Two-Wheeled Motorized Vehicles.
Resolutions include: Authorize Tax Assessor/Tax Collector to File Appeals and/or Settlement Stipulations; Award Contract – Acoustical Panels for Glen School Pickleball Courts; Title 59 Approval – 2020 Recreational Program Instruction; Award Contracts – 2020 Recreational Program Instruction; Title 59 Approval – Horticultural Supplies; Award Contract – Horticultural Supplies; Title 59 Approval – Maintenance of Irrigation Systems/Water Fountains; Award Contract – Maintenance of Irrigation Systems/Water Fountains; Award Contract Under County Contract – Rock Salt; Award Contract Under State Contract – Emergency Radio Equipment – Police, Fire, & Emergency Services; Award Contract Recyclable Materials Disposal; Authorize Shared Services Agreement – Barbershop, Beauty Shop, and Nail Salon Inspections (Norwood); Authorize Shared Services Agreement – School Resource Officer (Ridgewood Board of Education NTE $100,000); Authorize Shared Services Agreement – Bergen County Police Chiefs Association Mutual Aid Plan and Rapid Deployment Force; Certify Compliance with Federal Civil Rights Requirements; Designate Acting Municipal Court Administrator; and Endorse Ridgewood Public Library Reimagine Project and Commit Municipal Funding.
10. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC
Anne Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that regarding Graydon she sincerely appreciated the pushback from the Village Councilmembers as she thinks it is really wrong to go from 13 full weeks down to 9 full weeks. College gets out in May, so you should be able to go to the local colleges and get some lifeguards for June. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and to decide to not open the pool until the end of June is wrong. The alternate plan of opening at 3:00 P.M. rules out a large amount of the population, as people with preschoolers tend to come earlier. There are also a lot of people who don’t have kids that go to the pool, so she doesn’t think that is a great idea. Last year the rates went way up, so she sincerely appreciated the pushback.
Ms. Loving stated that she has no personal gain in the pickleball courts but that is a fine example of our elected officials listening to concerned citizens and it is fantastic that they are solving it. She added that she remembers Roger Weigand talking about during a public meeting, including a public work session that lengthy sidebar conversations occurring on the dais that can’t be heard by the public aren’t allowed. She stated that when you have Councilpeople talking at length, she thinks that the public should be allowed to hear what is being said.
Ms. Loving stated that the Mayor asked a rhetorical question about what is the difference between a lie and a false statement and that seemed like something that was pretty interesting.
Boyd Loving, 342 South Irving Street, stated that he also wants to say that he appreciates the pushback on Graydon as he thinks that is bizarre and uncalled for. He asked why the Village Council was hearing about this in January, agreeing with the statement by Councilwoman Knudsen. If there are problems getting lifeguards, they need to know about this earlier. He has heard the Parks and Recreation individuals whine about this for years, and he doesn’t see any recruiting going beyond Ridgewood High School. There are a number of municipalities near Ridgewood that don’t have pools, and he asked if they were going to the local high schools or community colleges and trying to extract employees. If there is genuinely a problem getting people tell the Village Council about it when the season is over, don’t say something about it right before the season is about to begin. Mr. Loving stated it is unacceptable.
Mr. Loving stated that several months ago it was brought to the Village Council’s attention that there are one or two unlawful parking spaces on West Ridgewood Avenue, and his concern is if an accident occurred at that intersection because of those unlawful spots what liability does the Village have. He added that he has written to the Village Manager about this but has not heard back.
Steve Kim, 291 Highland Avenue, stated that he was going to read a paragraph from the Library Reimagine campaign, adding that it cannot provide space for teens, performances, cultural discussions, community meetings, quiet study, hands on exploration of technologies, English language tutoring, and more. Currently, the Library is providing a lot of these services and he thinks it is doing pretty well. To say that the building is kind of old, he doesn’t believe that. There is really no clear vision, and what is right now being said is we should do something because the Library is a good thing. He stated that was true, but what is it supposed to do, and what are we doing, and why. Mr. Kim asked if we were doing all this to put in a teen room. He added that suddenly, it is all about the HVAC, the roof. His suggestion is to go over the past surveys, and the user surveys, because he has gone through them and there was not that much, or perhaps nothing, about the facilities. He suggested coming up with a list of services that the Library would like to provide that would really help the community. Then, spec out the space to deliver those services properly.
Mr. Kim stated that this is just a funding grab, rather than saying what do they want to build, what do they need, and then figuring out a budget and building it. Based on his look at the presentation, it is $4 million because that alternate plan provides all the services that the $7.7 million would provide. Also, it addresses almost everything the survey indicated in terms of needs. He’s not sure where we are with this, and he was confused. Now, they want to usher in light and be sustainable. The teen room can be reconfigured, and they don’t need to spend $7.7 million. The pricing should start with the need, they should come up with a definitive price and try to get that funded.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that it is important to note that the Resolution that the Village Council is adopting is a preliminary step to get them going with their application process, but they are awaiting the revised plan. It is not a funding grab for all that they can get, it is a one shot deal and they won’t see this kind of funding again, so they are making an attempt. This should have happened beforehand, and they are doing this to get the process started and then take a look at what the new plan is. Then the Village Council will make a determination as to whether these are on the list of priorities.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that there is an agenda item that the sidebar was about. She was going to ask Mr. Rogers to weigh in on that item as she thinks it should be part of the public meeting and not for closed session. Mr. Rogers stated that they could talk about what the purpose of that closed session item is about, so they can decide if it should be held in public.
Ms. Mailander stated that it was for the use of Village buildings and properties for political purposes, whether it be a candidate running for election, a sitting Congressperson talking about a bill, or a sitting Freeholder coming to explain a County program. The Village has gotten several requests for these types of political events in the Village, and they have offered things like the public forum space at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square and that isn’t what the people want. Ms. Mailander stated that her belief is that the Village should have an ordinance detailing the regulations and areas that can be allowed. She added that Mr. Rogers had indicated to her that he was going to do some research on this. It would be easier to send these people an ordinance saying this is what the regulations are, and if you can be within the regulations than you can apply and the Village would require insurance and a Hold Harmless, but she thinks it is important that they have these guidelines.
Councilwoman Walsh stated that this could be a public discussion. Mr. Rogers stated that it can, and it is very similar to what was discussed before about the public forum issue, and just because its public property doesn’t mean it has to be used for every public purpose. There is discretion within the Village Council to deal with issues such as that. If the Village Council is fine with it, he thinks it can be discussed in a public meeting. Councilwoman Knudsen suggested putting it on the next agenda. Councilman Voigt asked if there were other municipalities that had something that could be looked at. Mr. Rogers stated that it is not something that has been widespread because everyone tries to avoid being pinned down. For years, they have directed the attention to such political positions and civic issues to Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. There were some recent ordinances with regard to using placement of signs on public property, particularly in the rights of way. Those deal with the issue of the use of public property, and a lot of towns don’t go there so that it doesn’t draw attention to anyone wanting to do this type of thing.
Mayor Hache asked if this could be added to an agenda. Ms. Mailander agreed, and suggested she could work with Mr. Rogers to come up with some ideas for an ordinance so that the Village Council can review it. It makes it exceedingly difficult for the Village to say no when there isn’t an ordinance. Mr. Rogers added that he would look at some local towns to see if there were any regulations with regard to this. Councilwoman Walsh stated that the other thing they have to be mindful of is that Parks and Recreation manages rallies that happen at Van Neste, and those are political events. If Parks and Recreation already has a form you can fill out and have a political rally. Councilwoman Walsh stated that our County Executive had a rally in Van Neste when he was running for election. Ms. Mailander stated that he could do it in a public forum space. Councilwoman Walsh stated that if they were going to do an ordinance about this, it would have to encompass all public space. Ms. Mailander stated that right now the space is a public forum space, but people are asking for more spaces. Mr. Rogers stated that with non-secular displays they directed them to Van Neste Square.
Councilwoman Knudsen stated that when somebody wants to do something, they have to go to the Police Department and get a permit. They didn’t go to Parks and Recreation, they had to come here to get a Public Assembly permit for Congressman Gottheimer having an event. Councilwoman Walsh stated that Parks and Recreation handles rally permits. Ms. Mailander stated that it was several Departments that handled it. There is an application, insurance, hold harmless, the Police and Sanitation look at it, and sometimes the Streets Department reviews it. Councilwoman Walsh stated that the Gottheimer event had the Village seal. Councilwoman Knudsen stated that she was actually talking about a different event. Mayor Hache stated that was an actual rally.
Mr. Rogers stated that they already have regulations for somebody who wants a review of a public assembly permit. That permit has to be entertained and it gets reviewed. This is a different issue with regard to public speech, political speech, candidate speech. Then, if it is determined that the Village Council wants to put something together from an ordinance standpoint to designate a particular space, then they can also review that application process which is already in place and see if that is something that needs to be tweaked to the extent that they are going to be dealing with this. Mr. Rogers added that they are silent right now if someone wanted to come in and have a campaign rally at Vets Square, and the Kasschau Shell. There is nothing to give the Village direction, all they have is a no. Councilwoman Walsh asked to see if there were any other municipalities that had guidelines. Mr. Rogers stated that he would dig something up but it was not something that was well-traversed by municipalities.
There were no additional comments from the public, and Mayor Hache closed public comment.
There being no further business to come before the Village Council, on a motion by Mayor Hache, seconded by Councilwoman Walsh, and carried unanimously by voice vote, the Village Council’s Work Session was adjourned at 10:16 P.M.
Ramon M. Hache, Sr.
Donna M. Jackson
Deputy Village Clerk
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