WEST CALDWELL, NJ — Thanks to the funds put aside in the 2016 Municipal Budget that was adopted on April 19, the Township of West Caldwell began the milling and paving of roads this this week, starting on Lombard Drive and continuing onto at least 10 roads in 2016.
According to the West Caldwell Township Council, the budget allowed the township to double the amount of roads being done so that the milling and paving of the township can be completed in the next 20 years.
Residents have been notified that the following roads will be completed in the coming months: Lombard Drive, Whitaker Place, Westview Road, Westview Place, Long Meadow Lane, Woodland Road and Nutting Place.
“Washington Ave. and Orton Rd. will not be done until schools let out sometime in the end of June,” said Councilman Michael Docteroff. “We’re being cognizant of school traffic and didn’t want to do anything on those roads until then.”
A resident who introduced himself as Mr. Gutterman, a resident of Jameson Place, voiced his concern that streets are not being done quickly enough and that some, including his, are considered dangerous.
“I recently built a beautiful home on a beautiful street, but I don’t understand why I have to beg the township to fix the road,” said Gutterman. “My wife fell on the road, my mother-in-law fell on the road, a little girl fell on the road last week, and we were scheduled to be done last year.”
Mayor Joseph Tempesta, Jr. told Gutterman that while the council understands the urgency of Jameson’s specific problem, but said that there were other considerations with the affordability of doing a complete reconstruction of the street. According to Tempesta, many neighbors requested more than just paving and possibly putting in significant work, including drainage and curbing, but said that it could potentially be a $2 million project.
“The problem we have is that it’s not that simple,” said Tempesta. “Because the street is very narrow, it would require us legally to have to take property from both sides of that street. It got complicated, there’s a lot more work being done.”
Jameson Place is not currently budgeted for this year, but is on the front burner for the near future. A previous discussion debated a massive prohibitively expensive project versus simply doing the milling and paving for Jameson Place, which would provide a new service but would cause eroding in the same way as it did previously.
In fact, Township Administrator Adam Brewer met earlier in the week with the township engineer, who is working on finalizing a compromised plan that would install the adequate draining and curbing and expand the street without necessarily being cost prohibitive.
“I know that a lot of the roads need to be done quicker, but those are the things that we’ve had the financial advice to be able to manage our debt and increase road production,” said Councilman Stanley Hladik, who pointed out how impressive it is to come up with this year’s budget numbers (click HERE for story) in such tough economic times. “I think that with $38 to the average homeowner—where people’s health insurance bills are going up for the family—there’s something to be said for conservative, controlled spending and it shouldn’t go unnoticed. I commend everybody and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
In other news, the community participated in an extensive and successful cleanup of Wrensch Park on Saturday, April 16, just in time for West Caldwell’s first Earth Day celebration on April 23. The Earth Day celebration included tours of Wrensch Park, which Councilman Stephen Wolsky said was positively benefitted by the cleanup and thanked the community volunteers for making such a big difference.
As the weather begins to change, both local pools are also being cleaned up and are on schedule to have painting and repairs completed prior to Memorial Day. Wolksy congratulated the council on adopting a budget that allows the township to accomplish all of these goals in a cost-friendly manner.
“On behalf of the finance committee, I’d like to thank all of the department heads for the work on the budget this year, especially Chief Financial Officer [Nikole] Monroig and Administrator Brewer,” said Wolsky. “Each year it gets easier and easier because of these two at the helm.”