ROSELAND, NJ - Council President Chris Bardi announced during the caucus meeting held last week, that the estimated tax rate for the borough has been finalized by the Essex County Tax Board. Originally the tax rate had been estimated at 2.318% for 2020 and the final rate has been determined to be 2.295%, which means that the average home that is assessed at $466,907.00 will realize a decrease in projected taxes in the amount of $107.00 in the fourth quarter tax bill.
Mayor James R. Spango announced that two new items will be purchased with 100% of the funding being received from the CARES Act. A Polaris sanitizer for $23,000 and a new 2020 Ford truck valued at $35,000 will be acquired by the borough with no cost to the residents. Spango updated the COVID19 statistics confirming that one new case has been reported bringing the total positive cases to 86 and there are no new deaths to report with the number of deceased at 15 residents.
It was announced that the SCRAM day camp will begin on July 13th and run through August 17th. The camp will run from 8:30 AM to 12:00 P.M. and is open to children in grades 1-9 (as of Fall 2020). The camp will be limited to 135 campers and there will be daily temperature checks at drop off and each participant must bring their own face mask to use when necessary. Spango noted that there will be a small increase in fees even though the program is running a shorter time frame due to additional costs that will ensure the safety of the campers and faculty. Spango stressed it was “critical to bring some normalcy back into the lives of the children.” A resolution was passed to appoint health administrators for the summer program.
Spango also discussed the Harrison Avenue playground improvements. He stated: “We are excited to have a new playground for our community to enjoy. Unfortunately, this process took longer than expected due to COVID19. We are proud of our progress but as proud of improving services while keeping taxes low. We are committed to improving each of our parks. Currently, all of our parks and playgrounds are being sanitized 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at no cost to our residents.
During committee reports Councilwoman Eileen Fishman reported that the food drives and hot meals are available for families or residents in needs. Fishman remarked “that there are still people out of work and have a need” and cautioned that as of July 31st when the federal government’s supplement of $600 week for those on unemployment ceases “there may be more with a need”.
Councilman Roger Freda discussed the issues with water pressure that the borough is experiencing. The water tank will be taken offline for repairs therefore decreasing the water pressure which will become low. Essex Fells does provide water to the borough however it will needed to be supplemented by the NJ American Water Company. NJ American Water Company has requested a week to review the options for the interim relief. The project to bring the water tank back online will take approximately 6-8 weeks. The borough has a contract with Essex Fells with the rate of $3.25 per 1,000 gallons. The cost for water through the American Water Company, which the borough does not have a contract with is $6.50 per 1,000 gallons.
Councilwoman Jean Perrotti initiated the discussion of providing body cams to members of the Roseland Police Department. It was confirmed previously by Spango that there has not been one complaint against a Roseland police officer in at least 20 years for excessive force. Perrotti stated: “In the climate today we not only want to keep our residents safe, but we also want to keep our police officers safe.” The administration will begin researching grants that may be available through the Department of Justice to offset the costs for the cameras as well as the storage units that would be necessary to capture the data.
Councilwoman Michelle Tolli reported that Roseland will hold a movie night on July 15th that will be held at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church’s parking lot. The movie will begin at 7:45 p.m., and there are currently 81 cars that have registered online with the Department of Recreation, the capacity is 85 cars. While thanking recreation director Mike Colitti for all of his work for SCRAM as well as the summer activities throughout the borough, Spango did confirm the movie will be “Secret Life of Pets 2”. Tolli stated that the next movie may be geared for slightly older children and “Grease” may be the second movie.
The next council meeting will be July 21st.