West Orange Town Council Approves Bond for Ridgeway Property, 4-1

Credits: Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Town Council approved a $475,000 bond to develop a park at 55-57 Ridgeway Avenue at the May 21 town council meeting.  The vote was 4-1.  

Mayor Parisi was present to discuss the proposed bond, up for Second Reading, with town council members and the public.  The mayor explained that the Open Space Trust Fund Committee voted 6-1 in favor of funding the park with a bond, which would currently carry an interest rate of .403%. (This amount is good for a year, and the township crunched numbers to figure in an interest rate increase of up to about 2.5%). The township holds a triple A rating. The town's current debt capitalization ratio is 1% (debt being carried). The State's allowable rate is 3.5%. 

Town CFO anticipated "aggregate" anticipated interest would be between $14,000-70,000 spread over 15 years.  The expected total cost of approximately $470,000-$521,000 includes those costs, the development, and the cost for lighting at the park. The town expects to carry the note less than 15 years and will pay it off with Open Space Fund monies. The $38,000 architect fee was paid out of  bond monies from 2000. The township did not pay for the Ridgeway property.  It was received as part of a "swap." The Life Christian Church 'swapped' the property with the town in exchange for a parcel of property that the town had in front of Vizcaya on Northfield Avenue, in 2006. The church recently opened their new facility at 747 Northfield Avenue.

Sign Up for E-News

The open space and recreation trust fund was created by ordinance to assist in the preservation of the township's character. The average homeowner pays $2 per $100,000 of assessed value. The annual collection averages $146,000. The Open Space Commission voted and gave their recommendation to the township to fund the Ridgeway Park through a bond. The Open Space Trust Fund currently contains about $430,000 in funds.  After this year, that number will increase by $146,000.  There are other Open Space expenses on the table that led the OSC and the administration to move in the direction of a bond. 

 In addition, the committees and subcommittees of St. Cloud residents that have been involved in the proposed development of the Ridgeway property, are investigating what can be done about the two buildings that are not included in the proposal.  Neighborhood resident Neil Brohm is spearheading the effort. Estimates for repair of the buildings came in at around $900,000.  However, should the neighborhood and township come up with a plan to sell those buildings over the next year or two, the buildings could become tax rateables for the township.  

Councilman Krakoviak, who is the council liasion on the Open Space Commission, was the dissenting vote on the Commission for recommendation of bond funding.  He preferred that the Open Space Commission use all the money in the trust fund for the Ridgeway property and fund other things down the road, and argued that point with town administrator Jack Sayers.  According to Mr. Sayers, the Open Space Commission has already committed $130,000 of existing trust fund dollars for acquisition of other properties. The ordinance was passed on second reading, 4-1, with Councilman Krakoviak the no vote.

Another ordinance on second reading to authorize 1.2 million in emergency appropriations was passed 5-0.  The township is contractually bound to provide for severance liabilities resulting from accrued leave in connection with layoff or retirement of employees.  The township expects several retirements over the next few years. Councilman Krakoviak suggested that instead of funding the Lincoln Field repairs and lighting for Soriano Field at West Orange High School, perhaps the township should be putting those funds into required expenses.

A resolution to approve funds for  tax appeals amounting to several million dollars was passed, 5-0.

It came to light that the town's street sweeper is currently under repair.  The township does not want to pay for a new one, amounting to approximately $180,000, but residents are complaining their streets have not been cleaned for two weeks.  

Councilman Krakoviak asked Mayor Parisi for an update on a former township employee that had a key to town hall and was being investigated.  Mayor Parisi said that the former employee had worked for the township for 15 years and had received a key to town hall while working for the previous administration.  The employee is also in charge of the Memorial Day Ceremony and Veteran's Affairs for the town as a volunteer and worked on those programs out of the Deputy Mayor's Office.  Parisi said that their investigation revealed that the former employee had been at town hall during inappropriate hours and may have been using the computer in the Deputy Mayor's office for inappropriate, as well as appropriate, reasons,.  The computer was found to have a virus and was subsequently repaired.  The former employee no longer has a key to town hall, though Mayor Parisi also noted that non employees having keys to buildings is not unprecedented.  


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Nutley High School Closes After Security Threat Friday

February 16, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - The Essex County Sheriff's Office confirmed to TAPinto Nutley that the bomb disposal unit was parked in front of Nutley High School Friday afternoon.

Members of the Essex County Sheriff's Office are working with the Nutley Police Department as the investigation following the Instagram incident continues. The bomb disposal unit conducted a sweep of the school ...

Game of Thrones: A Definitive Ranking of Seasons 1-7

Groundhog Day. The day a tiny mammal’s shadow tells us when winter will come to an end. Me? I prefer my weather forecast in the form of a white raven (the telltale changing of seasons in Westeros).

For a few days, rumors spread that Game of Thrones will not return for its final season until April 2019, and while it was clarified that the April return date was likely a false rumor, HBO ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, February 18, 12:00 PM

AMC Essex Green, West Orange

The 2018 West Orange Classic Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment


Thu, February 22, 12:00 PM

Marriot Courtyard, West Orange

BIZ 2.0 WORKSHOPS - Lunch & Learn | Presented by ...

Business & Finance Food & Drink


Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

West Orange High School (Tarnoff Cafeteria), West Orange

44th Annual Orange West Orange UNICO Sports ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Brrr, It’s Old! Come Inside the West Essex YMCA to Explore Summer Camp Fun

February 7, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — While the thermometer may not budge above 40 degrees, the summer planning season is here. Families are invited to a summer camp information session at the West Essex YMCA from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Throughout the summer, the West Essex YMCA runs five development-appropriate programs for children ages 3 1/2 to 15, building self-esteem, confidence ...

Paterson Firefighter Opens Up About Struggles, Urges Others not to Suffer in Silence

February 8, 2018

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Not a week goes by when a tale of heroism and bravery on the part of firefighters is not told. For them, running into a burning building is as natural as running out of one is for the rest of us.

That became apparent again on Monday when members of the Paterson Fire Department responded to a fire at 268 Main Street, which led to the eventual total collapse of ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  


The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...

In the Driver's Seat

Honey, I am going to take the Roadster out for a quick spin around the sun. I’ll be back in a few million years.


That’s nice dear. While you are out, could you pick up a gallon of milk?


In what has to be the greatest road trip of all time and space, Elon Musk, the visionary inventor, engineer, and billionaire investor loaded his very own red Tesla ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

'American Hero' explores with powerful performances

‘American Hero’ pulses with tension, clashing emotions at George Street

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNWICK – The issue of social injustice makes its way into “American Hero,” the second play in a trilogy by Christopher Demo-Brown.

Armand Schultz as Rob is to receive a medal of honor for his heroic actions during the Iraq war. Although he lost the use of his legs, he ...