CALDWELL, NJ — During the final council meeting of 2019, Caldwell Mayor John Kelley and members of the borough council acknowledged citizen contributions, outgoing council members and the retirement of a well-respected and admired municipal employee.

Councilman Pasquale Capozzoli, who has served the community for six years, and Councilman Thomas O’Donnell, who has served for nine years, were thanked by their colleagues and members of the audience for their contributions to the community.

“The time spent with both of these councilmen has been rewarding," said Kelley. "Their sacrifices made on behalf of Caldwell are appreciated, and we will miss their participation. We wish them both the best.”

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Councilman Henderson Cole, a newer member of the council, agreed, stating that he also “had no idea what [he] was getting into” and “followed their lead.”

"In these times of political divisiveness, you stand as models of the ability to work in a productive, respectful and bipartisan manner,” said Councilwoman Christine Schmidt.

Councilman Jonathan Lace commented that working with Capozzoli and O’Donnell has “showed that party affiliation makes no sense on a local level.”

Council President Francis Rogers noted that when he was campaigning years ago and “got lost” in the Cedars, O’Donnell “rescued him” while driving through the area. He also spoke about O’Donnell’s outreach to him after he lost an election in 2015, for which he will always “be grateful.”

“Whether you agreed or not with O’Donnell, you always knew where he stood,” said Rogers.

O’Donnell and Capozzoli were each presented with a framed map of Caldwell in commemoration of their service.

Tax collector Ida Renne, whose retirement will become effective on Dec. 31, was also acknowledged with a proclamation honoring her for nearly a decade of service to the Borough of Caldwell.

Council members commended Renne for her assistance with senior citizens who applied for tax freezes and for mentoring the first student intern from Caldwell University as part of a new program she helped initiate.

Kelley offered his “sincere gratitude” and congratulated her on her retirement.

Also on hand to honor community members was Ann Marchioni of the Caldwell Environmental Commission (CEC), who announced the winners of the 2019 Sustainability Awards. 

She noted that the awards are “a gift to town folks for their work throughout the year, it is a nice time to recognize them for their efforts.”

Receiving this year’s awards were:

  • Sister Gerarda Panek for her assistance in creating flyers for various projects;
  • Jimmy Stevens, an Eagle Scout from Troop 6, for creating the “Little Library” at the Caldwell Pollinator Garden;
  • Michael Falciola of Bartlett Tree Company for his continuing support of trees in the borough and the recent donation of 80 trees in October;
  • Kristine Mathiesen for her service to the CEC, including designing the brochure for the Pollinator Garden and other flyers and signs; and
  • Elaine Lodato, Janice Dorting and Liz Garetano for volunteering countless hours at the Mount Pleasant Shelter Consignment shop and “providing a place for people to support a charity by recycling their reusable items.” 

Lodato noted that the goal of the consignment shop, now located at 528 Bloomfield Avenue near Verona Park, is to “continue to help save the animals at the animal shelter.” Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the consignment shop at 973-239-5802.