Editor's Notebook: June 27 Council Meeting
The borough council introduced a new ordinance, announced an Open Space Grant and gave reports during a brief public meeting on June 27.
Ordinance 08-13 sets new water restrictions guidelines in accordance with Ridgewood Water's new policies. The change amends Chapter XIII of the borough code entitled "Water and Sewer" for drought precautions and emergencies. Instead of three levels of drought emergencies — minor, moderate and severe-critical — the revised ordinance has four stages and alters the days watering is allowed from calendar days to week days.
Instead of house numbers correlating to the day of the month (odd numbered homes on odd numbered days), Ridgewood Water set new restrictions on irrigation for of Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for odd numbered homes and Wednesday, Friday and Sunday for even numbered homes during the moderate stage, which automatically goes into effect from June 1 to Sept. 15 each year. During the stage, the use of handheld hoses may be used on any day.
Further restrictions are as follows:
Stage II: Severe: Odd numbered homes on Tuesday and Saturday only. Even numbered homes on Wednesdays and Sundays only. No irrigation on Mondays, Thursdays or Fridays except for the use of a handheld hose, .
Stage III: Pending/Critical: Irrigation restricted to the use of a handheld hose and can only be used on Tuesdays and Saturdays for odd numbered homes, or Wednesday and Sundays for even numbered homes. No irrigation of any kind allowed on Mondays, Thursdays or Fridays.
Stage IV: Critical: Irrigation is prohibited at any time. The only exceptions allowed are those prescribed by the Ridgewood Village Manager.
The ordinance also sets a penalty for violation of up to $100 or up to 15 days imprisonment. Earlier drafts of the ordinance, which were prepared by Ridgewood Water Company, allowed for Ridgewood officials to turn off water service to homes in violation of the rules. Borough officials were concerned that the penalty violated due process and worked with the water company to revise the ordinance.
The ordinance is set for public hearing and adoption on July 25.
Open Space Grant
Borough Administrator Adeline Hanna reported the borough was awarded a $75,000 Open Space Grant. The matching grant will be used to upgrade the Dairy Street Playground to make it ADA compliant. Officials noted the park equipment is old and much of it needs to be replaced.
The borough is generating ideas for Open Space projects next year, which need to be submitted soon. Officials are discussing possibly re-doing one of the ball fields or building a pavilion at the playground.
Council President Nancy Peet reported on the latest meeting between the Council and School Board Liaisons. The district and borough are looking to partner in offering a study in municipal government for interested high school students, which would involve selected students spending time in borough hall and learning how local government works.
The town and district are also collaborating on the Share 911 program, a new alert system that ties individual teachers and administrators directly to the police and emergency management office in the event of a school emergency. The system is already in place in Ho-Ho-Kus, Allendale and Wyckoff, Peet reported. The district approved the program for the 2013-14 school year.
The town is also working with the school to put a second Lightning Warning System in the borough, similar to the set up at the high school. The lightning detection system would be anchored at either Highland or Godwin School and ensure safety on the fields in the event of a storm. Peet noted this will be an ongoing discussion.
The council and district liaison meetings will be on hiatus for the summer.
The Rec Camp is set to begin last week, with 280 kids registered to attend, including campers from both Midland Park and Waldwick. The mayor did not have the exact figure handy, but noted the Waldwick enrollment is similar to last summer.
Councilman Bernie Holst reported the DPW road work is going well and police have been busy diverting traffic from Greenwood Avenue this week. So far, the projects are going according to schedule.
Councilman Nick Papapietro reported the Midland Park Police Department conducted 25 community policing details in May, including foot patrols at the schools and the Rec Dept. and safety talks at schools and local churches. In addition, the force recently completed active shooter training in conjunction with the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.
On Finance, Papapietro reported the interest earned on the borough's deposits comes to approximately $20,000 thus far for the year, which is down by about $12,000 due to lower interest rates.