Government

West Caldwell Residents Address Council with Concerns of Mosquitos and Tree Removal

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WEST CALDWELL, NJ — Two residents of West Caldwell attended the mayor and council meeting on Tuesday to discuss issues affecting their daily lives as well as those in the community.

First to come forward was Donna Cataliotti, who was concerned that the township does not have an ordinance preventing the removal of healthy trees on private property. Following the removal of multiple healthy trees on her neighbor's property, she decided to look into this matter to see what could be done to prevent this from happening again.

“I did some research and many nearby towns already have this policy in existence such as Caldwell, Roseland, Fairfield, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells and Livingston,” she said.

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Cataliotti said she believes West Caldwell needs to take the necessary steps to prevent the removal of healthy trees not only because of the beauty they provide, but also because they help improve the air quality, prevent soil erosion, increase property values and provide shade and privacy on private properties.

“I don’t see there being a downside to adopting this policy,” she also said.

Cataliotti drafted an ordinance similar to the policy in place in neighboring towns, which was given to members of the council. Council President Michael Docteroff said he would look it over and discuss it with the rest of the council members.

The following matter brought to the attention of the council was regarding the mosquito population in West Caldwell and neighboring towns.

According to Dana Hunter, the mosquito population has increased significantly over the past 15 years for a variety of reasons. In previous years, Essex County had a water management program that cleaned out the storm drains to help prevent the mosquito population from increasing.

If storm drains are not properly cleaned out, she said, storm water cannot properly drain into the Passaic River.

“What is happening now is a massive explosion of flood water mosquitoes,” she said. “These mosquitos will lay thousands of eggs and breed in those pockets of water (collecting in the storm drains) and resurface the next year.”

She also explained that because larva readings were not taken this year, there were no steps taken to cut down on the mosquito population before the end of the winter.

According to Hunter, this is a huge problem in Morris County as well and it could be beneficial for Essex County officials to team up with Morris County to try and solve this problem.

“You are absolutely right, but what I think needs to be done is we should be hitting up the county in the winter because not much will happen this season,” said Docteroff. “We need to be more proactive in January and February. We could contact the county now also.”

During the regular meeting, council members also discussed a variety of routine matters including committee reports and multiple resolutions.

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