WEST CALDWELL, NJ – Councilman Stanley Hladik announced that the field renovations have been completed at the Essex Valley School and Ordinance No. 1776 was introduced at the regular mayor and council meeting on Tuesday.

The Essex Valley School’s athletic field was completely redone as a state-of-the-art artificial turf complex has now replaced the old grass field.

“We have to do some final landscaping,” Hladik said. “The turf itself is all done. Its playable, so were going to actually start playing games on it this weekend, from the tenth on.”

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According to Hladik, Caldwell and West Caldwell received open space funds from Essex County for a total of $300,000, which funded over a third of the project, easing the burden on taxpayers.

The new turf will have line markings for four different sports: football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey.

Hladik said the new turf is an improvement over the grass field because there is now the option to play up to three games on the field on any given night, since the turf can take more physical abuse from successive games than the grass field was able to.

The field already had adequate lighting so games can continue to be played well past sunset.

“We appreciate the county’s support for helping us out with the project,” Hladik said. “We look forward to watching the kids enjoy it.”

Following a presentation by Township Administrator Adam Brewer and Chief Financial Officer Nikole Monroig, the council moved to introduce Ordinance No. 1776, which will propose a rate increase on water utilities from $5.97 to $8.05 per thousand gallons.

The water utility rate in West Caldwell has not been increased since 2010, when the rate was $4.62 per thousand gallons.

Following a study over the summer, the council has decided that an increase in the water rate is necessary because the town’s bulk water supplier has increased their budget while the town’s water rates have remained the same.

In addition, the town’s capital improvement project, which includes water main replacements, has contributed to the call for a rise in the town’s water rates.

“This is what needs to be done to maintain liquidity in the utility for 2016,” Brewer said.

A public hearing will be held at the Nov. 3 mayor and council meeting before the council approves the ordinance.

The next regular meeting of the West Caldwell mayor and council will be on Oct. 20 at 7:15 p.m.