BLOOMFIELD, NJ – For the second time this month, and for the foreseeable future, the Bloomfield Township Council Meeting was closed to the public on Monday, March 30, due to concerns over the spreading of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Unfortunately, the rapidly spreading virus has claimed the lives of 2 more township residents, as announced by Mayor Michael Venezia at the meeting.

Bloomfield saw an increase of 5 new cases overnight, bringing the township total to 83, with 4 deaths.

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Monday’s meeting was conducted via video conference with all council members participating from their homes and offices.  The proceedings were livestreamed via the township’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, and on WBMA public access television.

All eight proposed ordinances introduced for first reading were unanimously approved, including an amendment adopting titles for employees, fixing salary ranges therefore, fixing their duties and qualifications, and fixing salaries.

All five proposed ordinances on second reading were unanimously adopted, including an ordinance vacating a portion of Walnut Street.

Residents were asked to submit any public comments for any ordinances on second reading via email prior to the meeting, however, no public comments were received.

The first two consent resolutions, pertaining to a temporary waiver of interest on delinquent taxes or assessments, and a temporary waiver of the rate of interest for delinquent payment of water charges were pushed back for a decision at the next council meeting.

The remaining 22 consent resolutions were unanimously approved.

A resolution authorizing a transfer between budget appropriations was approved.

“These are appropriations from last year’s budget moving money into reserve funds,” said Township Administrator Matthew Watkins.  “With the crisis we are now in, the money we saved from last year’s budget will help us this year.”

“The administrator is holding off on finalizing the township budget after all the costs associated with COVID-19 are done,” said Mayor Michael Venezia.  “We were 99 percent done (with the budget).  But the state is giving all municipalities more time.  We should know more by mid-April.”

A resolution adopting the 2020 Bloomfield Center Alliance budget was also unanimously approved.

Also participating in the video conference were First-Ward Councilwoman Jenny Mundell, Second-Ward Councilman Nicholas Joanow, Third-Ward Councilwoman Sarah Cruz, Councilwoman-at-Large Nina Davis, Councilman-at-Large Ted Gamble, Councilman-At-Large Richard Rockwell, and Municipal Clerk Louise Palagano.

The Township Council holds its monthly Conference Meeting on Monday, April 6, 7 pm, which will be held via video conference and livestreamed.  This is the new normal for meetings due to the Executive Order declared by Governor Murphy to prevent further spread of COVID-19.