West Orange Town Council Meeting Provides Information and Updates

Rachel Gordon, Sangeeta Badlani, and Bill Urbanski Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Ernest Bryant, Director, East Orange YMCA Credits: Cynthia Cumming
The town council discusses Prism. Credits: Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Tuesday night’s Town Council Meeting featured information from the Nikhil Badlani Foundation, The YMCA of East Orange, and a rehash of Prism Redevlopment.  In the only pulled resolution of the evening, Councilman Krakoviak voted no on the yearly Goose Addling contract.

The conference portion of the agenda, held from 6:30-7:00 pm, highlighted the current efforts of the Nikhil Badlani Foundation to save lives by educating the public about traffic safety laws and avoid distractions while driving.  Sangeeta Badlani, co-founder of the Foundation, shared that on, December 14, the Nikhil Badlani Foundation partnered with Arnold Anderson, Coordinator of the Essex County Community Traffic Safety Program to educate the Sophomore and Junior classes at West Orange High School as part of their driver education curriculum.  The presentation focused on the Graduated Driver License (GDL) and how it helps keep teens safe while they get the necessary experience driving on the road.  The dangers of distracted driving, and the importance of wearing safety belts in both front and back seats were illustrated and discussed with the students.  Roughly a thousand students attended the workshop.

In addition, NBF will be sponsoring an art mural at the West Orange Public Library in the spring and are partnering with the Brain Injury Alliance of NJ to raise traffic safety awareness in teens as a sponsor for the 2012-2013 U Got Brains School Champions Program.  West Orange High School was selected to participate in the U Got Brains program.  Driver’s Ed teacher Bill Urbanski and Senior Rachel Gordon were on hand to inform the council that they received a $1,000 stipend to develop their entry, which would combine a 10 minute video, an art program at the high school, and asked that the town issue a Proclamation naming April as Youth Traffic Safety/Distracted Driver Awareness month. They will also be producing an auto visor clip with their logo to remind drivers to be safe. More information will be provided as it becomes available.  The winner of the competition will receive a driving simulator for their school. NBF will also provide resources to the high school.

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Ernest Bryant, Director at the East Orange YMCA, told the Town Council about available programs there, including health and activity initiatives for adults like zumba, line dancing, kickboxing, water aerobics, weight training, and cross training.  Children, in addition to childcare, can participate in gymnastics, basketball and summer camp.

The general meeting began with a few announcements.  Councilwoman McCartney, in response to water issues in South Orange, said that West Orange water had been checked and it was determined the water was fine. 

The discussion regarding Prism then ensued.  Councilman Guarino noted that the township had received Prism’s financial reports for 2011 last week and was at this point pleased with much of what he saw.  Councilman Krakoviak disagreed, saying that Prism was again late on their taxes (due February 1 but not late until the 11) and that Prism was “continually failing to fulfill their obligations to the township.” Councilwoman Spango disagreed with Krakoviak, noting that Prism represented 6% of the total delinquency in the township: 90 delinquent properties ranging in owed taxes from $10,000-40,000.  “Should we deal with these taxpayers the same way you want to deal with Prism… Prism is paying their taxes late, but they are paying them with interest.”  Krakoviak again disagreed, saying his concern is for the future…”should we cut our losses now?”

Councilwoman McCartney said she was anxious to see a “shovel in the ground” and believed that an update from the redevelopment counsel would be helpful.  Town Council President Victor Cirilo said that “we keep going around in circles”… and that the town and council were in a “waiting game” to see if Prism would secure the funding they needed to begin building.  If they did not, the town would deal with it then.

There was a discussion regarding the $3,000 yearly fee for goose addling.  A company is retained to manipulate goose eggs during a certain time after eggs are laid, preventing gestation. 

Krakoviak was dissatisfied with the performance of Goose Control Technologies.  Health Department Officer Theresa DeNova said that the communications issues had been addressed last year and that the performance of the company was satisfactory, also noting how drastically the cost of the operation was reduced from previous years.  The council voted 4-1 in favor, with Councilman Krakoviak voting no, saying it should be an all volunteer operation.

All other resolutions were passed as well as Second and First reading ordinances.

The council went into a brief closed executive session meeting and returned to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 pm.

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