ROSELAND, NJ — As Tuesday’s Roseland Borough Council meeting began, borough clerk Jock Watkins informed the public that there are new regulations for public meetings that are held remotely that now require a procedure be established for public comment at the meeting or prior to the meeting.
The resolution established standard procedures for public comment during a remote meeting and written comments prior to a remote meeting. If a member of the public wishes to ask a question during the meeting, they are required to click on the “raise your hand” icon and will be placed in a que and unmuted by the Mayor when it is their turn to speak. Alternatively, questions may be posed if attendance is via telephone. Instructions will be noted at the beginning of the meeting and callers are required to press *9 to be acknowledged. Another option provides for questions that may be submitted via email or by a letter that must be received by noon on the day of the meeting to the borough clerk.
Comments or questions submitted in this form will be read aloud during the appropriate public comment period.
Consent agenda included the introduction of ordinances that amended current language addressing shade trees, appropriation of funds for the acquisition of equipment as well as the issuance of bonds or notes for various building improvements. The public hearing for the ordinances introduced on first reading will be Nov. 24.
Correspondence included a request from a resident for the council to amend an existing ordinance that was last approved in 2014. They requested that the borough reduce the current requirement that a generator must be five feet or more from a neighbor’s home to the manufacturer’s recommendation that 18 inches was an acceptable distance. After discussion, the council requested that the borough’s engineer, fire department and other appropriate officials weigh in with their recommendations that they will then take under advisement to consider the request.
Resolutions adopted included honoring Roseland resident Patrick Conforti upon the celebration of his 100th birthday and honoring World War II veteran Luke Walsh. A resolution was also approved permitting outdoor seating at restaurants until Nov 30 and after that period the council will consider extensions on a month-to-month basis.
During committee reports Councilman “Moose” Trillo reported that after the upcoming holidays talks are expected to resume with West Caldwell Mayor Joseph Tempesta regarding the possibility of shared dispatch services and a cost analysis will be conducted. Trillo also confirmed that the environmental commission’s bat house boxes were installed on Oct. 13. Councilwoman Eileen Fishman provided an update on capital improvements to the borough’s parks. Noting that this council wished to make the playgrounds a priority as they have not been addressed in approximately 20 years, she reported the Harrison Avenue Playground is planned and ready to begin, however there is a delay due to the pandemic.
After receiving a $150,000 grant from Essex County the Tedesco Park’s proposed phase one improvements are in the planning stages with the engineering company. The Bond Force Memorial Park’s updates will include consideration of multiple projects that include requested splash pad, senior building, dog park, a community garden, and updated facilities for the SCRAM program.
Councilman Roger Freda provided an update on the water tank project. Noting the issues with the infrastructure project and the issue of water pressure within the borough, the Department of Public Works will continue to remedy the issues. Residents will be notified if the system will be offline and water pressure issues or water discoloration may occur. Freda stated, “we are keeping our fingers crossed this project will even happen before it gets too cold.” There will be no interior tank repairs at this time, only exterior ones.
He confirmed similar to Fishman’s assessment of the lack of upgrades to the parks system for the last 20 years the water tank infrastructure has also not been addressed in that same time span. He commented “the town has been growing, unfortunately our infrastructure has not.” Freda announced that the first leaf collection is scheduled for Oct. 26. The auxiliary police force has expanded which is a result of the administration’s increased promotion of the department. There are now approximately 40 hours of service monthly provided by the auxiliary police force.
Councilwoman Jean Perrotti reported that West Essex Regional School district is scheduled to resume their hybrid model this coming Monday, Oct. 26 after becoming all remote for two weeks due to confirmed cases in the buildings. Mayor Spango confirmed that he scheduled a conference call with all four mayors from the sending districts to create continuity regarding individual programming in the municipalities in order to reduce cross contamination.
Perrotti reported that the fire department responded to 17 alarms for the month of September and to date there have been 133 alarms for 2020 so far, and for the same time period for 2019 there were 175 alarms responded to. The councilwoman also reported that car thefts are on the rise and that every car that was stolen was unlocked and many still had the keys in the parked car. She urged all residents to be diligent to lock their cars and do not leave keys in the cars.
Councilwoman Michelle Tolli reported the Junior Olympics will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24 beginning 12:30 at the Harrison Avenue playground. Flu shots will be available at the Roseland First Aid Squad on Oct. 28 and the senior citizen bus is now running on Wednesdays only. Tolli noted the passing on Oct. 12 of Roseland First Aid Squad’s former captain, John Servidio Sr. She remarked that Servidio served the community for many years and will be missed by many.
The next borough caucus meeting will be Nov. 5.