In its recent meeting, the Borough of Bergenfield Council focused on community concerns over development, public safety, and environmental stewardship. Key highlights included the hiring of three new police officers, discussion on crucial infrastructure and development issues, and responsiveness to citizen concerns about parking, stormwater management, and tree cutting.
The meeting, held on July 18, 2023, was convened by Councilperson Ora C. Kornbluth. Among those present were Councilmembers Thomas A. Lodato, Buddy Deauna, and Hernando Rivera. Mayor Arvin Amatorio, Council President Marc Pascual, and Councilman Domingo Almonte were absent.
A critical part of the meeting involved the approval of new police hires, with resolutions passed for Kyle Henry and Cristian Susana. Police Chief Rabboh also read a biography of another new officer, Craig Von der Osten, II, whose hiring was formalized in resolutions #23-213 and #23-214. Councilmembers welcomed the new officers, emphasized the importance of their families, and highlighted the department’s new purchases such as body cameras and vehicles.
The council addressed concerns raised by residents regarding various issues affecting the community. Barry Doll voiced uncertainty over PAL field lighting expenses and concerns about rain garden drainage, possibly worsening flooding issues. He also questioned tax bills and the efficiency of the Code Enforcement department.
John Smith criticized the delay in landscape planting at the PAL complex and sought clarification on drainage plans, expressing fears about pipes releasing clay into Metzler’s Brook. He suggested improvements to the baseball fields and questioned tree and seedling planting plans.
Diana Flagg was vocal about potential taxpayer burdens linked to economic developments and expressed dissatisfaction with the estimated tax bill, advocating for timely induction of new police officers.
Borough Administrator Gallo offered detailed responses to these concerns, defending the borough’s decisions and shedding light on various topics, including grants received for projects, the purpose of rain garden drainage, and ongoing talks with developers regarding Washington Avenue.
Mr. Smith later returned to the issue of overdevelopment in Bergenfield Borough, advocating for a tree-cutting ordinance and expressing concern over traffic and smog problems due to increased building. Barry Doll criticized tree removal without replacement. Diana Flagg continued to voice dissatisfaction with spending, parking lot conditions, and accessibility to the new field for girls’ softball.
Borough Administrator Gallo reassured the community by explaining plans for mature tree replacement and multi-purpose fields, emphasizing proper procedures for handling complaints.
The evening concluded with a Closed Executive Session to discuss Police Department Personnel and contracts, adjourning at 10:19 p.m.