Bogota Tackles Mutual Aid, Airbnb Ban

On May 18, 2023, the Bogota Borough Council deliberated on several issues including a county-wide Mutual Aid Agreement, an ordinance banning short-term rentals, significant budget adjustments, and community development plans.

The Bergen Countywide Mutual Aid Agreement emerged as a significant topic. The proposal seeks to bring unity to mutual assistance efforts throughout Bergen County, a move that could supersede existing mutual aid agreements. For Bogota, the implications could be far-reaching, potentially affecting its ability to cooperate with non-contiguous towns that do not sign on to the agreement. The Fire Chief underscored the urgency of signing the agreement, saying, “if we don’t do this…we’re putting ourselves [at risk].”

In a potentially transformative move for Bogota’s housing market, the council grappled with Ordinance 1597, aimed at prohibiting short-term rentals in the borough. With the rapid rise of Airbnb and similar services causing disruptions in towns that permit them, the ordinance intends to ban rentals of less than 30 days. This new rule could significantly impact the dynamics of Bogota’s community, with the council anticipating possible pushback. While they recognized the potential benefits of maintaining a stable, long-term community, they also asked whether objections had been raised, making it clear that the ordinance wouldn’t prevent non-rental guests like friends or relatives.

Furthermore, the council addressed a cost of living allowance (COLA) increase in the municipal budget and the establishment of a cap bank. It was explained that the COLA would allow the budget to exceed the standard 2% limit, providing a cushion for emergency spending without requiring a referendum.

Another notable topic of the meeting was the 2023 budget amendment, specifically the renovation of Farrell Hall and the adjustment of remuneration for elected officials. One community member expressed concern that Bogota’s officials were likely paid less than in other locations, and suggested that their compensation should better reflect the commitment involved in their roles. The council acknowledged the importance of these suggestions and agreed to discuss the potential amendments at their next meeting.

Several community development issues were also discussed, including concerns related to a river renovation and potential flooding, the hiring of part-time workers for the library and Fire Department, the reintroduction of the Youth Academy by the Police Department, and the awarding of a grant for new garbage and recycling receptacles.

Among these developments, the council celebrated the receipt of a large grant for new garbage and recycling receptacles, acknowledging the contribution of Dan Dubrowski. The grant, valued at about $62,000, will facilitate the replacement of old bins in various borough properties and schools.

Lastly, the council discussed the plans for the establishment of a new Wendy’s, which has been delayed due to modifications for parking spaces and outdoor seating, and the demolition of a rug oil depot to make way for apartments.

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