CALDWELL, NJ — Members of the Caldwell Borough Council recently discussed and voted on resolutions that involved capital improvements, engineering services for addressing the Caldwell Wastewater Treatment plant and consideration of shared-services opportunities with West Caldwell.

A resolution authorizing a professional services contract of no more than $20,000 for architectural services for renovations to the Caldwell Community Center was adopted by a vote of 3-2-1, with council members Henderson Cole, Francis Rodgers and Christine Schmidt voting in favor.

Councilman Jonathan Lace and Councilwoman Frances DePalma-Iozzi abstained from the vote while Councilman Jeffrey Gates voted against it, questioning whether the borough is “prepared to do this now” and expressing concern that the cost to renovate the men’s and women’s locker rooms would “probably be in the six figures.”

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Business Administrator Tom Banker responded that there are “a number of capital improvements that need to be made” at the community center in order to achieve the borough’s goal of it becoming self-sustaining.

Mayor John Kelley, stating that the current community center is “dated,” added that the work needs to be done promptly “in order to grow the membership.”

Two resolutions involving the infrastructure needs of the Caldwell Wastewater Treatment Plant passed unanimously.

Engineering services from Mott MacDonald for preliminary work to increase the capacity was approved at an amount not to exceed $138,000.

According to the resolution, considerations will include a potential connection with the Parsippany-Troy Hills Water Utility and/or Two Bridges Sewer Authority. Another option is to assess the cost of expanding the current facility to increase maximum capacity from 4.5 million gallons daily to 6.7 million gallons daily. Results from the analysis will include the feasibility, cost and time of the different options.

Phase two of the assessment process, also conducted by Mott MacDonald, was approved for evaluation of the infiltration and inflow of the treatment plant at a cost not to exceed $335,750.

Banker explained that there could be up to two more phases after this one that “are not as critical but need to be addressed.”

When Cole inquired about how Banker expects to determine which municipality would be responsible for various repair and replacement costs, the administrator noted that plant costs would be borne by all users.

According to Banker, however, the “collector mains”—which pass through multiple municipal boundaries—would be difficult to determine because there is no way to apportion usage directly to one specific municipality. The breakdown of costs would be the responsibility of the individual municipalities for the “six-inch or smaller street pipes that run locally through the towns,” he said.

In other news, the governing body adopted an official resolution proclaiming March 8, 2020 as “International Women’s Day” in the Borough of Caldwell.

“International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women while championing change to broaden perceptions, fight bias and accelerate gender parity,” the resolution states. “Women from Caldwell have made significant contributions to our community and beyond.”

Standout women mentioned in the resolution included U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Cox; author and journalist Janine di Giovanni; actress Camryn Manheim; and “women who have contributed locally,” including Doris Halprin, who “transformed Caldwell” with its Tree City designation, as well as former mayors, Irene Gibbons, Susan Gartland and Ann Dassing. 

Council President Schmidt also mentioned other notable Caldwell women, including:

  • Naomi Baldwin, the midwife who delivered infant Stephen Grover Cleveland in 1837;
  • Rachel Alice Farrington, a local artist, historian and litigant to save the Old Burying Ground;
  • Dorothy Budd Bartle, a local historian, museum curator, litigant to save the OBS, President of the GCBMA; and
  • Elsie Dobbins, a nationally recognized children's Librarian.

Looking toward the next generation of Caldwell women who will “make a significant contribution to the community and beyond,” the council honored graduating James Caldwell High School senior Mackenzie Courtright with a proclamation for receiving an Eagle Scout Summit Award. Courtright will be attending the United States Military Academy at West Point in the fall.  CLICK HERE to read the full story.

Additionally, Mayor Kelley reported during the meeting that he, Lace and Rodgers represented the borough at the West Caldwell Town Council meeting earlier that night to hear a presentation by Maser Consulting, P.A. on a proposal for renovations at Harrison School Field. 

“Shared services are an ideal way for neighboring communities to recognize substantial savings by pooling their resources,” said Kelley. “Our recreation department is an example of Caldwell and West Caldwell working together.”

As another example, Kelley added that “considerable efforts were made” by both communities regarding shared services with the two police departments, but that the Township of West Caldwell has opted “not to continue the discussions” at this time.

“The police shared-services agreement would have delivered $1 million in annual savings for each town,” said Kelley. “Caldwell has been taking steps in 2019 and 2020 to work towards the State of New Jersey recommended policing guidelines for a community such as ours, which identifies staffing recommendations based upon historical crime statistics.

“The borough has reduced headcount through attrition with no intentions of hiring so that we are in line with the expert recommendations from the State of New Jersey. Our efforts will bring Caldwell some savings, although certainly not as much as hoped."

The most recent shared-services discussion with West Caldwell has focused on a turf field at the Harrison School.

However, Kelley noted that because the borough has “pressing infrastructure needs with the paving of streets, water main work, borough hall building considerations and community center repairs—not to mention the Wastewater Treatment plant and collection system capital investments needed—the governing body of Caldwell would be hard-pressed to explain to taxpayers the decision to participate in an investment into a turf field at this time.”

“Instead, I believe the [board of education] and West Caldwell should defer this investment to a future budget year,” said Kelley.

CLICK HERE to read the coverage of the West Caldwell meeting, where the proposal was discussed.

During his administrator’s report, Banker confirmed that the borough has rescinded the agreement with Desman Design Management to perform any more work for a potential parking garage located on Smull Avenue until a traffic impact and parking needs study has been completed.

In July 2019, the council authorized the firm to perform a preliminary site feasibility study for an amount not to exceed $17,500. The council also authorized Desman Design Management in December to provide design services for a fee not to exceed $324,500.

Banker said he expects to have a preliminary budget available for the next council meeting on March 17, if not the following meeting on April 7.