Ogdensburg Municipal Alliance Plans Teen Canteen At First Aid Squad

Town Clerk Phyllis Drouin, Councilmen Robert McGuire, William Amodeo, Mayor Steve Ciasullo, Councilmen John Hann, Peter Opilla, Wayne Ingerto, and Attorney Michael Garofalo Credits: Jennifer Murphy


OGDENSBURG, NJ – At the meeting on December 10, it was reported that the Ogdensburg Municipal Alliance is in the planning stages to hold a Teen Canteen at the Ogdensburg First Aid Squad. 

The Municipal Alliance, whose mission is to prevent alcohol and drug abuse, funds programs which have previously been presented at the Ogdensburg Elementary School, and at lunches for senior citizens. 

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The First Aid Squad is willing to allow the canteen to meet at its facilities, but at this time, would not have the ability to store a ping pong table or other large items. 

The Council adopted an ordinance to prohibit outdoor furnaces and outdoor wood boilers. There was only one member of the public in attendance af the meeting, as well as The Alternative Press, so the public hearing closed with no comments. At this time, there are no known outdoor furnaces in the Borough. 

Attorney Michael Garofalo, who is also the attorney for Wantage Borough commented, “This created quite an uproar in Wantage because of the smell. Farmers like it because it really cuts your energy costs. You can throw anything in there, including garbage. There was quite a debate about it when this ordinance was passed. It was the largest attended meeting in my tenure there, the largest controversy. People who lived close to it had issues because of the smell.”   

During the public session of the meeting, The Alternative Press asked why the flag was being flown at half mast.  Mayor Steve Ciasullo responded, “Pearl Harbor Day.”

It had not been returned to its proper position after Friday. There was discussion about who is responsible to adjust it, DPW or police.

The Alternative Press, having recently attended the Sussex County Economic Development Partnership (EDP) Dinner for Mayors, (click here to read article) asked about the possibility of developing such a group in Ogdensburg, citing issues facing the town. Some of these presented included the donation of new rustic signs from the Sterling Hill Mining Museum, the increased traffic of an additional 20,000 people a year who visit the mine, the Main Street Streetscapes project, the development about to occur in Franklin, as well as a new sign erected by the Liberty gas station.

Councilman Robert McGuire responded that, “We can’t force people to do what they don’t want to do. There are zoning laws and building codes concerning the signs. People can do whatever they want with their buildings.”

Ciasullo responded, “We’ve invited businesses to many things, they don’t respond.” 

With regard to the Master Plan and the Streetscapes project, McGuire responded, “All we are going to do is put down sidewalks.”

Ciasullo said he would be open to the idea of an Economic Development Partnership, if people wanted to come forward to form one.

Next, Ciasullo asked Board President Wayne Ingerto to report on whether the Christmas lights had been fixed. During the tree lighting ceremony, on December 7, which was advertised only through the school, three quarters of the tree failed to light. Ingerto reported that the DPW workers did not test them before putting them up, but new lights have been purchased and have replaced the non-working lights. 

The mayor said, “If my daughter wasn’t involved at the school, I never would have known it was the tree lighting ceremony.”

Next, the council was asked to respond to an e-mail from the state’s Department of Vital Statistics as to whether Ogdensburg has a disaster recovery plan in place for Borough Hall, and how it would pertain to vital statistics from the Registrar, specifically, how the borough protects the birth, marriage and death records at Borough Hall.

Phyllis Drouin, Town Clerk, was instructed by Ciasullo to respond that we do not have such a plan.  Drouin responded that she thought the request was to mean that such a plan should be developed. 

Ciasullo responded, “Why should we, unless they tell us we have to, no.”

Councilman Peter Opilla reported that the Borough now has 350 new radio frequency water meters in stock.  So far, 40 meters have been installed where there was more than a 200 percent variance between what was paid, and what was actually due. The borough is installing this new type of water meter, so that the DPW workers can drive through the town and read the water meters by aiming a “gun” at the house, rather than going door to door, or having residents fill out and return a post card. The mayor is anxious to have the new meters in every residence and business, as this is a source of revenue for the town. Opilla was instructed to see that the remaining meters are installed as soon as possible.

 Ciasullo gave an update on the renewal of the Animal Control Contract. Ogdensburg has a shared service agreement with Wantage.  A new line of communication has been established so that the services can be monitored by Jim Doherty, Wantage Township Administrator, since some problems with service were reported at the last meeting.

Councilman William Andrews reported that he obtained prices for a generator for Borough Hall. The cost would be $13,000 plus gas hook up, plus the cost of a concrete pad. He asked what the price limit was for requiring a bid. He was advised by Ciasullo that the limit is $17,500, but that he should go ahead and obtain bids for this project. He expects the gas hook up to be no cost, as part of the agreement made when Elizabethtown Gas Company put the pipeline through Main Street. Any of the town’s needs, including the fire house, should be at no cost.

Fire Chief Rick Keslo was present and reported that the Ogdensburg Fire Department has already purchased a generator, and will lay their own concrete pad.  Keslo said they will be installing the generator “so they can dispatch from here in case Sparta is down.”

Councilmen Ingerto and Andrews will put specifications together for a bid, including speaking to all departments to see what needs to be run off the generator. 

Andrews then reported on the status of hiring of a new police officer. Ogdensburg submitted a notice with the hiring window of April 30 through October 30, 2012. That date has expired, so an extension must now be applied for. Civil Service will only offer a 60 day extension, due to expire on December 30  After that, the entire procedure will need to be started over. Andrews encouraged Drouin to take fast action, since there is an opening in the Passaic Police Academy starting February 16, 2013.  A lengthy discussion ensued, between the mayor, clerk, and attorney regarding how to respond, since the council would like to skip hiring the first candidate on the list, which is not permitted by Civil Service.  Councilman John Hann suggested Ciasullo consult with Hamburg Mayor Paul Marino, as they have just hired two police officers. Garofalo gave Drouin a packet of information, which he said contains documentation about why the council does not want to hire the first candidate on the list, for her to submit with the request for extension.   

After the meeting, The Alternative Press asked the mayor why the council does not want to hire the number one candidate, but he refused to comment, after seeking the attorney’s advice.

The council held a Christmas party at the Ogdensburg Fire House, which was not catered by the firemen. Ciasullo said he was disappointed at the number of people who failed to RSVP.

The meeting was carried over to January 3, 2013, which will be the reorganization meeting for the borough with the newly elected council members taking their seats.


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