WEST CALDWELL, NJ — Two ordinances were presented on second reading during this week’s West Caldwell Township Council meeting: one to establish certain salary protocols for township employees and one to allow animal or veterinary hospitals in an upcoming shopping center.

The first ordinance passed on Tuesday establishes a protocol for eligible full-time employees hired before May 1, 1997 to receive longevity pay; establishes the criteria for overtime pay; and allows for certain stipends for the township’s prosecutor, court administrator, police chief or captain, health officer, fire official and tax assessor. 

According to the ordinance, which was passed unanimously, the salaries and increments for officers and employees is in effect as of Jan. 1, 2019.

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The second ordinance amends an existing general land use ordinance to allow for animal or veterinary hospitals within the B-2 planned shopping center district.  Noting that the allowance is consistent with the “goals and objectives of the township’s Master Plan, including the promotion of economic development,” the ordinance was passed unanimously.

Committee Reports and Upcoming Events:

Councilman Michael Docteroff announced that West Caldwell’s summer gazebo concert series is off to a greater start, with the Counterfeiters playing on June 27 and Big Sister playing on July 11. He encouraged all residents to attend the concert series this summer.

Noting that the community pools have been crowded since the start of summer, Councilwoman Kathy Canale announced that Cedar Street pool will play host to a divisional swim meet for the first time on July 22.

On the following day, July 23, the West Caldwell Recreation Department will hold a carnival for the township’s camp program. In keeping with the township’s goal of continuing to provide opportunities for senior citizens of the community, she also noted that the recreation department recently held a senior luncheon at Forte’s. 

In an update regarding the usage of plastic bags within the township, Mayor Joseph Tempesta noted that the state is currently considering a ban and that the township is following a request from the League of Municipalities to hold off putting specific protocol in place within West Caldwell for the time being. He stated that this is being done in order to allow for a consistent policy rather than having different measures adopted by individual communities.

Although Councilman Stephen Wolsky had recently been contacted by the environmental commissions of Roseland and Caldwell requesting a “symbolic ban,” Tempesta noted there are many exceptions that may come into play and that, in the interest of consistency, it is prudent to wait for further research and direction from the state.

Public Comment:

Lon Levy, a resident of Dalewood Road, addressed the council and administration on Tuesday about new water issues that he said have affected his home and surrounding streets. He requested that the township notify his neighbors as to testing results and remedies. 

Tempesta indicated that residents of Westview and Dalewood Road would receive communication from the administration apprising residents of the results of testing currently taking place to determine the underlying issue and plans moving forward.

West Essex First Aid Squad EMT James Kerrigan thanked the community for its support and attendance at a newly established “Beerfest” fundraiser held on June 15 and vowed to make this an annual event. Although final numbers have not been tallied yet, Kerrigan noted that a “significant sum” was raised. 

Councilman Michael Crudele and Tempesta, who attended the event, said they were “glad to be able to continue to support the squad,” which has been in existence since 1937 and currently has 85 active members that serve Caldwell, West Caldwell, Roseland, North Caldwell and Essex Fells.

“You are a godsend to the five communities you serve,” said Tempesta. “This township is always the first to step up and three years ago we were the first to contribute to your capital budget in addition to contributions to the operating budget. Thank you for all you do for us.”

The next town council meeting will be held on Aug. 6.