Council Greenlights Infrastructure Improvement, Debates High School Parking and Library Board Size

At a recent meeting, the New Milford Borough Council covered several key decisions and concerns, including road and park improvements, staffing shortages, and contentious topics such as parking near Highland High School and the Library Board of Trustees’ size.

The Council unanimously passed Ordinance 2023:22, allocating $189,202 for the improvement of Brookout Road, and Ordinance 2023:23, appropriating $75,000 for the Prospect Park Improvement project. The latter aims to upgrade playground equipment, funded through a Local Recreation Improvement Grant. Both ordinances were opened for public comment, but none was received, leading to their unanimous approval.

The Council also passed Ordinance 2023:24, which calls for the preservation and protection of trees within the borough. The revised General Ordinances of New Milford will now include Chapter 26A, devoted entirely to this environmental cause.

Staffing issues were also a point of concern. Both the Department of Public Works and the Police Department had lost two staff members each. Budgetary constraints mean only one new hire for each department is possible at this time, leaving each department short-staffed by one person.

The Council is looking ahead with the renewal of the borough’s ten-year plan. Mayor Petrino invited residents to share their vision for New Milford over the next decade, emphasizing community engagement.

Parking issues near Highland High School led to some heated debate. The council accused New Jersey Transit of disrespecting the community through littering and disregard for local concerns. The Council’s response was to designate the area a No Parking Zone, and Bergen County will construct an eight-foot berm to help with the issue.

In a controversial move, the council discussed reducing the size of the Library Board of Trustees from nine to seven members, a change Library Director Terry McAuliffe and the mayor’s representative on the board believe will make it more effective. Despite disagreements among council members, it was decided the change will take effect on January 1st, 2024.

Public input included concerns about a local mechanic whose customer cars parked on Huguenot Street have been creating congestion and disturbance. The Council acknowledged the problem and vowed to consult with the police department to find a solution.

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