Editor's Note: This is part one of a two-part state of the borough report from the governing body at the council's reorganization meeting on Jan. 7.
FAIR LAWN, NJ - While a new council member took a seat on the dais, another councilman and mayor stepped down after eight years, marking the beginning of 2020 for the governing body in which the mayor promised a 0% tax increase for the third year in a row.
Mayor Kurt Peluso, voted in as mayor among the five-member council for the second year in a row, said 2019 was a "successful year for the borough."
"Our finances look great," he said at the January 7 reorganization meeting.
He said there are "challenges" with recycling because of the newer guidelines placed on them by China where much of the items are shipped.
Peluso touted the Access for All committee's once-a-month dances, and noted other volunteer efforts throughout the borough.
"I noticed on a recent weekend, there were all these volunteers out...working," he said. "They're doing all this work for us. That's what makes Fair Lawn the #1 town in New Jersey and the #9 town of its size in the nation."
"And we're going to keep working till we're #1," he said.
Councilman Josh Reinitz told new councilman Kris Krause he had "big shoes to fill," referring to the exit of John Cosgrove.
He then turned to Gail Rottenstrich, who announced late last year she had cancer and would stay on an work through it as a councilwoman.
"If my kids grow up to be half the woman you are," Reinitz said. "I'd be thrilled."
He referred to Mayor Peluso, saying "even before I see some of the borough emails, Kurt has already answered them, problem solved."
Reinitz said the borough was able to solve the lack of sufficient parking with a new commuter lot within walking distance of the train.
The borough installed a new turf field adjacent to the high school, Reinitz said, addressing "scarcity" of fields and allowing other fields to be repaired "without impact to taxes."
Reinitz welcomed more residents to meetings. "Decisions are made by those who show up."