ROSELAND, NJ — The Roseland town council meeting this past Tuesday was conducted via a Zoom platform. Recreation Director Michael Collitti attended the meeting to provide information about the plans for the SCRAM day camp to open.
Pending approval after submission of a detailed plan to the State’s Department of Health and the approval of the borough’s health officer the recreation intends to begin the program for children K-8 grade on July 13. The program will be one hour shorter than last year due to the plans for the camp to be outside and will run from 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. If there is to be a high heat index or continuous rain the camp will not be available for the day.
Mayor James Spango stated that: “Roseland is exploring every possibility to holding SCRAM this year. We are submitting our plan to the state for approval and are confident that it will be approved and our kids can have some sense of normalcy this summer.”
As of last night, there were 111 children on the list to enroll pending approvals from the State and local health departments. It is anticipated that there will be a slight increase in fees due to the necessities of complying with social distancing measures and increased counselor to camper ratios.
Previously the ratio was 1:12 or 1:13 (counselor/camper) and the increased staff will now allow for a ratio of ideally 1:7 but no higher than 1:10 according to Collitti. Additional staff with now include either an onsite nurse or EMT.
An expansion of the traffic flow will be incorporated to the drop off procedures from one lane to three lanes to expedite the process. Temperatures will be taken daily of both campers and staff. Mayor James Spango offered the borough’s newly acquired thermal temperature scan for the camp’s usage. Spango confirmed any additional costs due to COVID-19 that may be recouped by grants will be sought. Prior to the pandemic, in January the council had been discussing the possibility to expand the camp to a full day with the intent to also utilize Noecker Elementary School for activities.
In other news unanimously passed was an ordinance on second reading that will provide for the streets and limited public access areas of the borough’s condominium complexes to be paved by municipality resources. Council members, Jean Perrotti, Roger Freda, and Michelle Tolli had met, in a series of meetings, with the presidents and vice-presidents of Roseland Glen, Paradise Place, Stonegate, Roseland Green and Eagle Rock condominiums to come to a consensus regarding the borough’s obligations. Jack Goldberg, president of the Roseland Glen association called in to thank the members of the council for their “dedication and persistence” in helping to reach a consensus. Spango commented that it was a “compromise that was fair to all that came together for a common goals, it was a huge effort on everyone’s part.”
Spango and members of the council took the opportunity to thank and acknowledge two long time employees who will be retiring. Public Works Superintendent Gary Schall who has been with the borough since 1979 will retire effective July 1. Sheryl Ryan who has been with the recreation department in various capacities after 25 years retired effective June 1.
Spango commented: “They served the borough for a long time and I know their heart and soul is with the borough. They lived and breathed it every day and they are going to be missed. When you lose that much institutional knowledge in a short period of times its tough, but we are confident that they are just a phone call away if we need them. I want to wish them the best of luck.” The Mayor then joked that he gave Schall a retirement present on Tuesday with a water main break on Passaic Avenue.
Councilwoman Eileen Fishman commented on a resolution that was passed to purchase playground equipment for the Harrison Avenue Park in the amount of $182,685.21 and plans call for the installation prior to the end of the calendar year. She noted that the plans have been on the table for about two years and that she was “very excited to see this coming to fruition now.”
Council President Chris Bardi confirmed that due to the COVID19 pandemic Essex County Tax Board has confirmed that borough’s reassessment will be delayed until 2021 and the new tax rate will take affect 2022.
Councilwoman Michelle Tolli said that since the outdoor concerts will be cancelled this summer, there are plans for two drive-in movie nights. Tentatively the first movie will take place on July 15th, but the borough is still negotiating a location and once a site is confirmed the movie will be advertised. Tolli also questioned the status of the “Snowflake” flags being removed. Business administrator Maureen Chumacas confirmed the work was authorized in March and will follow up as to when it will actually take place.
Councilwoman Jean Perrotti reported that for the month of May there were 15 alarms that the fire department, that has 37 members, responded to, while in May 2019 the department had responded to 93. Cameras have been installed in the patrol cars and the accompanying computers will be installed shortly.
During public comment resident Dave Veneri thanked Spango for his assistance recently when his father became ill. He commented that the mayor “went above and beyond the call of duty” and stated that Spango’s “generosity and hard work will not be forgotten.”
The next caucus meeting will be July 7 and the next council meeting will be July 21.