CALDWELL, NJ — Fifth grade students from Lincoln Elementary School attended Tuesday’s Caldwell Borough Council meeting to request that the council adopt an ordinance that would ban single-use plastic bags in the borough. 

Ann Marchionni of the Caldwell Environmental Commission (CEC) recently shared the movie “Plastic Ocean,” which reports on the impact of plastic debris in oceans and waterways as well as the long-and short-term effects that it has on the environment, with the students.  Under the leadership of teachers Abby Landau and Christina Dunne, the students read poems and spoke to council members about the effects of plastic in the environment and the need for the borough to “lead the way in Essex County and ban single-use plastics bags.”

Mayor John Kelley thanked the students, their teachers and Superintendent Dr. James Heinegg for their commitment to the cause and their advocacy.

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

“I really admire your teaching us and we do need to act,” said Kelley.

Councilwoman Christine Schmidt noted she was “inspired by the students” and said that “we all need to do our part, even in small ways.” 

Councilman Jonathan Lace, thanked the students for coming stating

“The amount of research you have done is very impressive and the information is sobering,” said Councilman Jonathan Lace, who thanked the students for coming and announced that he would support such an ordinance if ever given the opportunity.

In other news, the council adopted a bond ordinance in the amount of $190,000 authorizing road improvements to Gould Place, Wakefield Place and Ward Place.

Business Administrator Thomas Banker updated the council on the ongoing issue of Caldwell University requirements to adhere to borough demands as it relates to facility issues primarily concerning their pool. If the university is not compliant and acts in good faith, the school’s pool cannot open, which would affect pool usage for the summer, according to Banker.

Borough Attorney Vincent Nuzzi confirmed that “nothing has been done” and “no Certificate of Occupancy will be issued” unless remedies are completed.

Banker also announced that a draft of the municipal budget is now available and hat the council will introduce it during the next council meeting. The introduction of bond ordinances for the proposed capital improvements will be on the agenda as well.

Kelley and Banker updated the public regarding the status of the parking deck, stating that the option of utilizing a pre-cast concrete was deemed “not practicable.”  

Banker remarked that one possibility could be to do away with the elevated portion in its entirety, which would cause an ADA issue, as there is an elevator in the community center. 

As the borough continues to explore alternatives to parking, they said it “may be prudent to look at capacity on another site and return to one level.” However, they also noted that nothing has been decided yet, as due diligence is still being performed to consider all options.

The next council meeting will be held on June 18.