ROSELAND, NJ — Roseland Mayor James R. Spango reported at the most recent Borough Council meeting that it was not in the best interest for the safety of children and pedestrians to provide crossing guards as requested by the Roseland Board of Education in lieu of their providing courtesy busing.
That decision was reached after discussion and due diligence conducted with John Mathies from the office of the OEM and Roseland Police Captain Richard Costello, including reviewing the results of a traffic study conducted,
It was decided that due to the high volume of traffic on county roads, some without sidewalks, that it was a “false sense of security.” Spango, Mathies and Costello met with the president of the board of education and superintendent on July 16 to convey their response to the district’s request.
Spango went on to confirm that the borough will not be and has not been involved in any board of education business and the only reason they were involved in this issue is that by statute it is required that the board of education shall work with government officials in making decisions regarding hazardous routes and therefore crossing guards. Bardi concurred with the mayor noting that “we have to focus on safety and if it were safe, we would have went for it and having a crossing guard would provide a false sense of security. There are very busy roads that cross through Roseland.”
Spango said the borough is assisting the school district in order to help offset their costs for items needed for social distancing measures. The borough is waiting for approval from CARES Act personnel to approve reimbursable costs in order to provide supplies.
Roseland was one of the few towns who offered a recreational camp for its residents this summer and the feedback from borough officials, employees and residents was that it was a “flawless” experience.
Spango thanked recreation director Mike Coletti, counselors, members of the first aid squad and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director John Mathies for all of their professionalism to provide a safe and fun experience for the borough’s campers. He added that it provided an opportunity for the children to have “a bit of normalcy this summer.” Spango reported that although it was “not easy” setting up protocols, “no one got sick” and he was very proud of all involved that provided the experience for the children.
Council President Chris Bardi, whose children attended the camp, said he was “very impressed with the counselors and how fast everything came together and the attention to safety was amazing.” Resident Annamaria Bellino called into the Zoom meeting to thank the borough for all of its efforts and particularly noted the seamless drop off and pick up procedures, stating “the kids had a lot of fun” and it was an opportunity for the children “to have a normal summer.”
Recreation will have a new opportunity in the near future and the council members approved a resolution that will authorize and establish fees for the department to create a new youth wiffle ball program. Spango stated there are plans to extend the opportunity for the creation of an adult league as well.
More news involving recreation is that although new playground equipment has been purchased to be installed at the Harrison Avenue Playground, unfortunately after going out to bid for installation, no bids were put forth to the borough. The plan now is to safely secure and store the equipment for the winter and to go out to bid again towards the end of the year with the plan to have the equipment installed during the spring of 2021. It was determined that the best course of action would be to take possession of the equipment now so the costs will not increase for a future purchase.
There was a brief discussion regarding the possibility of reopening municipal buildings now that plexiglass and barriers have been installed. However, on the recommendation of the mayor and agreement of the council it was decided to hold off for the time being because the business of the borough is still being conducted and there was no need to introduce possibilities for cross-contamination. Spango remarked that “no one is not being served” and the plan is to re-evaluate opening the buildings sometime in late September.
All members of the council and the mayor recognized the efforts of the Department of Public Works (DPW), Roseland First Aid Squad, Roseland Police Department and OEM during the storm last week. Spango thanked the DPW for their persistence requiring PSEG to constantly trim trees in the borough near power lines throughout the year “which paid off in dividends.” He stated that only 16 percent of residents lost power during the storm versus other local municipalities that saw much higher percentages of residents lose electrical power.
Recreation Director Mike Coletti confirmed that the Pre-K soccer program had 28 children signed up so far and the Grade 1-8 program currently has 151 registered. Coletti took the opportunity to thank the council and the administration for their support. He stated that they were “great leaders and human beings” and to “stay the way you are, there is a bright future for Roseland.”
During committee reports Bardi reported that the tax bills will be going out next week and at the next council meeting they will present an overview of the tax bill. Spango confirmed the tax base is “more than stable” and as far as collections go the “numbers are on point, same as last year."
The next council meeting will be Aug. 18.