CALDWELL, NJ — The majority of the Caldwell Borough Council, with the exception of members Thomas O’Donnell and Pasquale Capozzoli, met on Dec. 30 to vote on pending ordinances and resolutions that will close out the business of the borough for the year.

An ordinance that amends the current code will now require residents and business owners to remove snow, slush and ice 18 hours after the cessation of a weather event from the sidewalks adjacent to their dwellings. The code previously required clean up commencing eight hours from the end of a storm.

The council also announced the retirement of Caldwell Police Sergeant Fred Arnold, effective Feb. 29, 2020. The governing body explained that in June of 2014, Arnold suffered a heart attack while on patrol and survived due to the lifesaving and heroic actions of his fellow officers and emergency personnel after a motorist noticed Arnold’s erratic driving and contacted authorities.

Sign Up for West Essex Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Business Administrator Thomas Banker noted that Arnold’s retirement is a factor as the police department looks to “reconfigure the department due to personnel changes.” 

The council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the “temporary appointment of two patrol officers, Glenn Simmons and Natalie Marinaro, to act as sergeants for the Caldwell Police Department, effective Jan. 1, 2020 until further notice.”

A resolution confirming the 2019 salary adjustments for non-union employees was also passed by the majority. Councilman Jonathan Lace abstained from the sewer commission fee of $7,217. 

Lace, a long-time critic of the fee, posted the following message on Facebook in 2018 explaining his position:

“In 2015, the borough council voted to raise the Sewer Commissioner salary from $4,217 to $7,217 an increase of 71 percent... In 2016, they (the commission) met once. In 2017, they did not meet at all; and we have met once in 2018. I do not believe such a record warrants being paid an additional $7,000 per member for each of those years.”

Mayor John Kelley and Banker remarked that there would be “significant changes” to utilities and policing costs that will be brought back into the operating budget. Banker announced his intent to introduce a preliminary budget during the first meeting in February 2020.

The present council members also unanimously passed a resolution extending the contract with the Banker Group LLC for services as acting borough administrator until Dec. 31, 2020, at the rate of $8,750 per month. 

Borough attorney Vincent Nuzzi explained that an ordinance will be presented in January that will allow for an administrator to hold outside positions, full or part-time, if it does not conflict with the business of the borough.

During public comment, resident Louis Galup requested that the council consider purchasing the borough’s Christmas wreaths next year from Boy Scout Troop 6 based in Aloysius Church in Caldwell instead of from Troop 9, which is based in West Caldwell. Kelley made sure that the borough clerk made note of this request.

Lace reported that the new borough website is “up and running,” stating the site is ADA compliant and encrypted for bill paying, etc. Kelley suggested that Lace present a tutorial on the site during the Jan. 7 council meeting.

Banker reported that plans for a parking deck on Smull Avenue are moving forward, and another parking provider “Passport” based in Charlotte, N.C. has been contacted for a proposal in order to garner more competition for proposals. A proposal from Topology regarding the redevelopment will be received prior to the Jan. 7 meeting, he added.

Nuzzi updated the council that the case against former Police Lieutenant Michael Geary has been decided, but that an appeal of that decision is expected.

At the close of the meeting, Kelley acknowledged and thanked Council President Francis Rodgers for his leadership and service during the past year.

The reorganization meeting will be held at noon at the Caldwell Community Center on Jan. 1, 2020.