HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Unhappiness with Mayor Jack DeLorenzo over Tuesday’s Hasbrouck Heights Council meeting being in-person only was a recurring theme throughout Tuesday evening’s meeting held in Council chambers.
DeLorenzo explained in his report that concerns over “ZOOM bombing”, and following a meeting of Bergen County mayors which he recently attended the determination was made to go away from ZOOM, and that they have been trying to put a deal together with another vendor in order to have the meetings virtually.
During the public hearing of citizens, June Raymond read a statement expressing her displeasure with the meeting being in-person only, noting that many residents, particularly those who are seniors with health risks, do not feel comfortable in coming to the meetings. She also stated that she hoped that the Council would go back to ZOOM, or another such forum. Raymond noted that over 70 people had signed a petition for the meetings to still be on ZOOM.
Elizabeth Saunders also addressed DeLorenzo, questioning why ZOOM was discontinued, and what he has been doing to find another outlet for these meeting to be held online.
DeLorenzo once again stated that he was hoping that a deal with a vendor would be in place for the next meeting, and noted, that up until the pandemic, Council meetings had always been in-person only. He stated that he was looking to get a long-term solution to the issue, and did not want to switch from ZOOM to another vendor, only to have to switch vendors again.
There was also some contention in the meeting between Councilman Christopher Hillmann and DeLorenzo concerning DeLorenzo not wearing his mask during the meet. Hillmann, during council reports, stated that he wanted to know why DeLorenzo “was the only person in the room not wearing a mask.”
DeLorenzo stated that it was hard for him to speak through the mask and be understood, and since he was doing most of the talking, he was not wearing a mask. He also stated that since they were also all socially distanced, it was not an issue.
Resident Adam Mucci, who is a Democratic candidate for Council in November, also noted that DeLorenzo was the only person not wearing a mask when he spoke during the public hearing on a question concerning funding to the library.
(For the record, when Council members were speaking or giving their reports, many would remove their mask temporarily while speaking before putting their facial covering back on.)
Among the regular council business, the public hearing was held prior to passage on the Open Space Grant Application for replacement of mulch at the Woodland Park playground with poured in resilient surface all protection material.
Borough Administrator Michael Kronyak addressed the matter to the Council, noting that the Borough has previously been given a grant for this project. However, when the project was sent out to bid, all the bids were over the budgeted amount. As a result, the Borough is going back for a grant for half the difference (Hasbrouck Heights has to match the grant amount) and will add the remaining amount to its budget.
The resolution passed 6-0.
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