NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Mayor Al Morgan did not have much company at the Borough Council meeting on Monday, March 23 as all other council members attended the meeting via telephone. Only Borough Administrator Doug Marvin and Borough Clerk Wendi Barry were present at the meeting. The public had a chance to comment at the end of the meeting by calling in; however, not one resident did so. “We are asking for your cooperation and support while we go through this process,” Morgan said at the beginning of the new meeting format.

The council introduced two ordinances at the meeting: one to exceed the municipal budget appropriation limits and to establish a cap bank, and the other to increase the open space tax levy to 0.0090 per $100,000 assessed value of a borough property.

The municipality has to limit its budget increase to 2.5 percent unless authorized by an ordinance to increase it up to max 3.5 percent over the previous year’s appropriations. Councilwoman Nadine Geoffroy explained that the borough intends to raise its cap bank to cover any “future uncertainties”.

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Geoffroy explained that the borough decreased its open space tax during the recession in 2008. The borough has since begun to increase the open space tax gradually each year. The ordinance, if approved, increases the open space tax by 0.0010 cents to 0.0090 cent per $100.000 dollars of assessed property valuation.

With regard to other news the council approved a five-year curbside solid waste and garden waste collection with Suburban Disposal, Inc. of Fairfield, NJ. The contract payments will increase every year with the following annual expenses: Year 1 $ 472,000.00; Year 2 $ 486,000.00; Year 3 $ 500,000.00; Year 4 $ 519,000.00; Year 5 $ 544,000.00.

The council also accepted the lowest bid for the Lincoln Field Synthetic Turf Improvement Project. The almost $200,000 contract was awarded to Picerno-Giordano Construction of Kenilworth, NJ. Councilman Robert Munoz explained that the turf will be purchased through the Co-op. The cost for the turf material will be approximately $80,000.

Additionally, Councilman Peter DeSarno announced that the borough was awarded the $75,000 Grotta Fund Grant for the “Our Community for All” program to aid seniors. He noted the Grotta Fund has recognized the extraordinary pressures on our seniors. Therefore, they will allow a modification of the original goals of the grant to address the immediate concerns we are now experiencing. Related article: New Providence Council Ponders Age Friendly Initiative Grant