CALDWELL, NJ — After nearly two years of effort to update and improve its municipal website, the Borough of Caldwell’s new website officially went live on Dec. 20. Councilman Jonathan Lace, who immediately presented the idea to the former mayor and business administrator after taking office in 2018, recently provided an update on the success of the improved site.

Lace explained that an independent site review conducted by the Bureau of Internet Accessibility at the time utilizing an in-depth 29-checkpoint audit determined that there were multiple deficiencies to the existing website. In early 2019, the borough obtained quotes from multiple companies and ultimately retained GovOffice LLC for $11,545 to “create, manage, and host a new municipal website.”

One month after launching the new site, Lace stated that training has already been provided to key staff members and that the feedback has all been positive thus far. He also explained that the borough’s communications committee is “planning to provide a digital newsletter, a promotional video and make regular updates to the site.”

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“[The] website is a municipality’s online portfolio for potential residents, merchants and developers,” said Lace. “It is the borough’s primary online presence…

“I want to encourage everyone to make use of the site to read the documents that will shape future discussions the council will be having later this year…The new website is an example of the kind of results that can happen when better use of technology is prioritized by the governing body.”

In other news, the Caldwell Borough Council approved two ordinances on first reading last week that detailed amendments to the 1999-2025 Housing Element and Fair Share Plan affecting 80 Roseland Avenue and 30 Smull Avenue.

Of the 24 multi-family units permitted at the Roseland Avenue site, 18 will be considered market-rate units while the remaining six will be designated affordable-housing units, according to the ordinance.

The Smull Avenue site will permit six market-rate units with one affordable-housing unit off site or five market rate units with one onsite affordable-housing unit at the developer’s or owner’s discretion, according to the ordinance.

The council also introduced an ordinance that would amend current code to allow an administrator to have outside employment as long as there is no conflict of duties and the administrator is not hired as a borough employee.

Additionally, the council adopted a resolution to retain Dolan & Dolan Consulting Engineers, LLC for $12,000 to conduct a parking study of downtown Caldwell.

Committee Reports:

During the meeting, Council President Christine Schmidt announced that Robin Rockman, the current Youth Services Librarian at Oradell Public Library, will officially take over as the new director of the Caldwell Pubic Library on Jan. 20.

Councilman Henderson Cole requested that Essex County Liaison Patricia Keenan inquire as to the status of a possible repaving project along Mountain Avenue, noting that the road is in disrepair, particularly after recent construction.

Business Administrator Thomas Banker announced that the municipal budget process for 2020 is underway, and Borough Attorney Vince Nuzzi reported that is there is a court-ordered mediation that will be taking place in the case of Paul Carelli vs. the Borough of Caldwell.

The next borough council meeting will be held on Feb. 4.