New Public Safety Complex Cost Nearly Doubles, Town Council Approves Emergency Funds

In the recent River Vale Town Council meeting convened by Council President Paul J. Criscuolo, a substantial increase in the budget for the new Public Safety Complex was the focus, with the total appropriation for the project now set at $20 million, up from the initial $14 million designated in 2021. The boost includes a newly approved supplemental appropriation of $6 million, and an emergency appropriation of $300,000 to facilitate a down payment for the complex’s construction.

Business administrator and CFO Gennaro Rotella cited unforeseen hikes in estimated costs and inflation as the primary factors necessitating additional funds. The council disclosed that the excess funds from the financing would be cancelled if unused. Rotella explained that this surge in project budget is in line with similar overruns witnessed in other local town projects. The bidding process is set to reopen in September for a period of six weeks, with the award contract scheduled for a November meeting.

To fund the additional appropriations, the council introduced ordinance #417-2023, authorizing the issuance of bonds or notes amounting to $5.7 million. The down payment for this, fixed at $300,000, is sourced from the emergency appropriations sanctioned by the council.

In addition to financial resolutions, the council confirmed a series of community events highlighted by Rotella, including the September 11th Remembrance Ceremony and the upcoming River Vale Day scheduled for October 1st. The reopening of the Old Tappan Bridge aiming to alleviate traffic on Polar Road, and a Military Banners project led by a local Girl Scout were also mentioned.

The council also touched upon infrastructure improvements with updates from township engineer, Chris Statile, regarding emergency action plans for potential reservoir system flooding and a scheduled roadwork and renovations at the local golf course and library. Statile noted the submission of Pasch Park Handicap Accessibility project plans to the county for approval, aiming for completion within the year.

A series of resolutions were also passed, including a liquor license renewal for “The Let’s Meat Group”, a speed limit reduction on Piermont Avenue, and the declaration of September as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, urging residents to prioritize awareness and screenings for prostate cancer.

Resident Frank Tercovich approached the council with a personal grievance regarding overhanging tree limbs and branches from a township property posing safety and property damage risks. Responding, Criscuolo reiterated the council’s policy against intervening in situations involving healthy trees, but noted that Tercovich is permitted to trim the encroaching trees, with the township facilitating necessary permissions. Rotella agreed to provide an authorization letter to ease access concerns for Tercovich, who has lived at his current residence for 39 years.

The council meeting, which saw the participation of council members Ari Ben-Yishay, Denise Sieg, and Jim Tolomeo, with John Donovan absent, concluded at 8:10 pm.

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