WEST CALDWELL, NJ — During the consent agenda of Tuesday’s Township Council meeting, a resolution was approved that authorized the execution of a reimbursement agreement with Essex County pursuant to additional Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act for funds in the amount of $287,347.82.  

CARES Act funding is available for eligible purchases, not previously budgeted for by March 27, 2020, to cover purchases made between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020. 

Other consent agenda items included authorizing execution of professional services for various capital improvements, including the Parkview Avenue drainage project. Approval also was given for the leasing of a 2021 Ford police interceptor utility vehicle for the West Caldwell Police Department. 

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During committee reports, Councilman Joseph Cecere reported that the Department of Recreation’s fall season was in “full swing.” Cecere thanked Recreation Director Gabe DiMasi for his initiative by moving the volleyball games outside and reaching out to neighboring Verona, Cedar Grove and Montville to do the same. Senior exercises are now held outside at Memorial Park and discussions with Saint Aloysius Church are underway for possible utilization of their gym during the winter months that may hold the senior citizen activities.

Cecere thanked resident Matthew Secola who is now an Eagle Scout for his initiative to place benches at Richard Park Playground and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held this Saturday. Cecere thanked Secola for “all he has done for the town.” 

Councilman Stephen Wolsky also commented on Secola’s initiative and success by creating a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the bench project.

Councilman Stanley Hladik thanked Health Officer Bill Wallace and his team for not only keeping inspections up to date for West Caldwell and other neighboring towns that the municipality shares services with but for the “countless hours of contact tracing, keeping track of cases.” He noted that it was a “moving target with the state at times with reports that they give back to us.”  Hladik also thanked Mayor Joseph Tempesta for “all of his emails and a telephone blasts for keeping the town up to date as to where we are at.”

Councilman Michael Docteroff reported that after 27 years of service to the community Director of the Department of Public Works Vincent Graziosa will be retiring this week “after dedicating 27 years of his life to West Caldwell” and Docteroff encouraged residents to offer best wishes noting “he has done a great job for us.”

Council President Kathy Canale thanked Fire Chief Mike Luker for the professional and quick response to a situation that occurred recently to one of her neighbor’s homes stating that the department “was very quick to respond and the neighbors were very pleased with the outcome.”

Councilman Michael Crudele reported that the tax collections for the last quarter were “extremely strong." A tax lien sale recently took place and “we were very fortunate to only have $35,000 in tax liens to sell.” He continued noting that between the tax collections and the CARES Act funding the township remains on “sound financial footing.”  

Crudele announced that West Caldwell longtime resident and United States Postal carrier Bob Pannullo was retiring after 34 years of service. He has been the “most positive person you would ever want to meet, and he brightened the day of our residents with his upbeat conversations along his route and he will be missed. I just want to personally thank Bobby for his many years of service.”

Chief financial officer Nikole Baltycki reported that the tax sale held on Sept. 24 had five properties all sold to outside lien holders and the total was $36,937.45 that was sold in principle. There was a premium of $283,000 collected, which is held with interest earned until it is redeemed.

Township Clerk Mary Donovan advised residents that there is a vast amount of information on the website regarding the upcoming Nov. 3 general election. There will be two polling locations, the municipal building on the second floor and James Caldwell High School cafeteria, but there will be no voting machines. However, provisional ballots will be available. Machines will be available only for those residents with disabilities.

Tempesta confirmed that Essex County has now conducted COVID-19 testing at least twice in every municipality and at least once in every town food distribution has also taken place.  He stated “it is remarkable at times like this in the pandemic that everything comes together regardless of party affiliation. I think that is terrific, I am very pleased to be part of.”

Tempesta thanked Vincent Graziosa “my good friend who I have known for probably most of my life.  Vinnie did a great job, and he is ready to move on to the next chapter of his life and I am happy for him and his family.  We wish you God speed and a great and healthy retirement, thank you.”