Editor's Notebook: Jan. 24 Council Meeting
By Rebecca K. Abma
Midland Park Borough Hall
What a difference a month makes. The Jan. 24 meeting of the Mayor and Council of Midland Park was a veritable love fest compared to the Dec. 20 Council Meeting, where more than a dozen residents spoke during the public portion of the meeting in the aftermath of the failed school referendum and the school shooting in Newtown, CT.
The public portion of the meeting included a report from former Mayor Joseph Monahan about school resource officers, a big thank you from a parent who spoke on Dec. 20 and a resident who came to the meeting just to get involved in civics, only to discover he was getting a refund for tax overpayment.
"I just wanted to thank you Councilwoman [Nancy] Peet ... for listening to everything we said and asked. You have done such an amazing job," a resident said. "I feel like we made such progress from where we were in December and I just want you all to know that I am so thankful."
Former Mayor Monahan shared information with the council about a School Resource Officer in Wayne who has offered his expertise and mentioned grants and opportunities for the borough and the district to share costs as it is done in Wayne. The SRO in Wayne also teaches two classes a day, including lessons for driver's ed, DARE and health classes, and works with school administrators and guidance to deal with students with problems.
For the liaison reports, Mayor O'Hagan reported he was contacted by the Eastern Christian Children's Retreat, who reported that March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness month. The council voted to make a formal resolution to recognize March as DDA month.
Councilman Nicholas Papapietro reported the 2012 statistic from the Board of Health: There were 66 residents born (34 male, 32 female), 57 deaths (33 male, 23 female) and 34 marriage applications.
Mayor O'Hagan and Council President Peet reported they met with the School Superintendent Dr. Marie Cirasella, School Business Administrator Stacey Garvey and School Board President William Sullivan, where they discussed integrating calendars, a potential Student Citizen's program where high school seniors participate in the work of the borough and get course credits, shared services and cooperative purchasing, and grant opportunities.
Peet also reported on this weeks Board of Education meeting, and clarified a question about Swift 911 testing. "The test is not possible," she said, noting the messages are sent by the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management, who said a test is not possible.
Are you signed up for Swift 911 Emergency Notifications? How To Sign Up For Emergency Alerts from the Borough
Peet said the "Helping Hand" program of years past may make a comeback. In it, volunteer residents are vetted by the police, PTA and school district, to display a "helping hand" in their window to show it is a safe place for children to ring the doorbell and ask to use the phone or seek help in the event that something is wrong. The program was in place years ago and could be helpful today, with recent accounts of child luring attempts in nearby communities.
Councilman Mike Junta reported the finance committee is making progress in developing the next budget and have been going through the bills one by one.
Councilman Scott Pruiksma reported Rec Basketball is currently under way, as are registration for baseball and softball. He also reminded the council that the Boy Scouts Pinewood Derby is this weekend.
On the consent agenda, the council approved three raffles, one for the Ambulance Corps Merchandise Draw, one for a 50/50 at the Church of the Nativity, and one for the Elementary School PTA Fundraiser on Feb. 7. Additionally, several tax overpayments were refunded.
The council also officially appointed Joseph Mulligan as OEM coordinator and Laurie O'Hanlan Chief Financial Officer (both of which were reported on at the Jan. 3 meeting). Nick Lordo was appointed Electrical Sub Code Official. Linda Krantz was appointed as a part-time administrative assistant to fill a vacant position.