CALDWELL, NJ — Among many resolutions during its recent meeting the borough council unanimously passed Resolution 6-145 designating the month of June as “LGBTQ Pride Month”. 

Councilman Jeffrey Gates stated: “With Resolution 6-145 on tonight’s agenda, I continue to be proud to be a member of the Governing body of the Borough of Caldwell. This resolution pays tribute to the challenges the LGBTQ community has faced in the past when they were not treated equally by the law or their community.  Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court continued to help break barriers with their ruling in Bostock vs Clayton County, where they ruled that federal law prevents employers from firing workers due to being homosexual or transgender. With the passing of resolution 6-145 and the raising of the Pride flag, Caldwell’s support of the LGBTQ community will be clear.

Adding this to the March to End Police Brutality, the passing of resolution 6-144 condemning systemic racism, and resolution 2-62 which declared February as Black History Month, which were both passed earlier this year, shows that Caldwell is developing a pattern of equality and being a welcoming community to all who live, work, and frequent Caldwell businesses.  I am happy to continue pushing our Borough in that direction and letting everyone know they are welcome here.”

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Agenda items included the borough council authorizing the purchase of a multi-faceted street sweeper for the DPW’s usage in the amount of $270,633.42.  Business Administrator Thomas Banker stated that this was part of a plan that will lay the groundwork for shared service agreements with neighboring municipalities that would bring additional revenue to the borough.  Banker said that the purchase of the sweeper was a “morale booster” to the department as they can do more inhouse operations.

A resolution authorizing the execution of a letter of intent with the United States Postal Service (USPS) regarding the acquisition of 10 Park Avenue and the payment of $25,000 was unanimously approved.  Banker confirmed that this is a process set forth by the federal government in order to continue the discussion of the borough purchasing the property.  He confirmed that there is no commitment on the borough’s part but “opens the door to actions and investigation.”   The site would house the business offices of the borough.

Councilwoman Frances DePalma-Iozzi questioned if a purchase price has been discussed for the property.  Banker responded as this was a confidential discussion at this time due to it being a negotiation in progress, he was not at liberty to publicly discuss figures, although he confirmed that it was “reasonable and well within the cost of what we can pay to make it worth it.”  The borough did conduct an appraisal of the property and the figures being discussed are within the realm of the appraiser’s assessment.

Councilman Henderson Cole questioned if the USPS was committed to keeping a location in Caldwell and Banker confirmed they are looking for a suitable facility to continue to provide retail services to the residents of the borough.  Banker also confirmed that the parking assessment the borough will conduct is temporarily on hold as the traffic flow currently does not represent a “normal” period and that any data collected now would not be helpful.

During committee reports DePalma-Iozzi reported that the Environmental Commission will present on July 21 to the council a “Green Infrastructure Action Plan” that will include both short- and long-term initiatives.

Gates questioned the process under the New Jersey Municipal Reimbursement Act in order for the borough’s condominium associations to be made whole for agreed upon fees for snowplowing and refuse removal.  He stated the president of Parkside Gardens reported that they have yet to be reimbursed for 2018.  Banker confirmed they are entitled to fees that would have to be mutually agreed upon by both the associations and the borough, for what the actual cost would be if the municipality provided the service, not the cost of the associations purchasing the services.  Gates moved to pass a resolution that directs action items by which the legal department will move forward with this issue prior to the next council meeting. The resolution passed unanimously.

During his report Banker confirmed that the borough has submitted the first request under the CARES Act for reimbursement for COVID-19 related expenses.  He also reported that over 2,000 refunds have been sent out to residents for reimbursements since the closure of the Caldwell Community Center.

The next council meeting will be July 21.