Demarest Council Addresses Public Safety, Honors and Appoints Key Personnel

In an assembly of the Demarest Borough Council on July 24, members unanimously agreed upon key resolutions and appointments, shining a light on the promotion of Sgt. Brian Talty to Captain and addressing various municipal affairs.

Mayor Brian Bernstein led the assembly, with the notable absence of Councilmember Daryl Fox. The night was significantly marked by Captain Talty’s elevation, which was supported by the council. Mayor Bernstein lauded Captain Talty’s exemplary service to Demarest, underscored by a commendatory letter from Officer Cho, President of Demarest PBA Local 350. With family by his side, Captain Talty gratefully acknowledged the promotion and expressed his gratitude to the entire council and community.

Alongside police matters, the evening observed appointments to the Zoning Board, with Robert Hirsch and Diana Pavlova joining the team. Their terms are set to end in December 2024 and December 2023, respectively. Another point of contention was Resolution No. 107-23, which saw amendments to the bills list. Borough Administrator Julie Falkenstern highlighted a revision of the bill date and announced a total bill amount of $324,551.20.

On environmental issues, Mayor Bernstein discussed the imminent need for an ordinance on bamboo management, emphasizing the homeowners’ responsibility for bamboo removal. In addition, a tribute to community service came in the form of Congressman Gottheimer’s intention to honor Jeff Geisenheimer, a Demarest resident and Volunteer Ambulance Corps. member, as a hometown hero. This recognition was echoed by Councilmember Rebecca LaPira, who also praised recent summer concerts managed by the Recreation Commission.

Mayor Bernstein proposed a renovation for the Nancy Woods Peace Gazebo and invited council members to spearhead a community fundraising campaign for the refurbishment. Councilmember Daniel Marks and Council President Andrea Slowikowski volunteered, with discussions about lighting improvements around the gazebo.

During committee reports, Councilmember David Jiang broached the Board of Education’s withdrawal of plans for a new middle school gym due to rising costs and also discussed potential modifications in crossing guard coverage. Marks addressed his collaborations, while Councilmember Slowikowski expressed concerns about the Recreation Department’s relationship with the school over library use for summer camps. Meanwhile, Councilmember Mary Lynne Hamilton expressed disappointment over not being included in discussions about Captain Talty’s promotion, leading to apologies from both Mayor Bernstein and Councilmember Jiang.

Another significant point of interest was a proposal from Borough Administrator Ms. Falkenstern concerning crossing guard services. By considering external companies for these services, the Borough hopes to alleviate administrative burdens on the police department and better manage liabilities. Adam Bryan from Crossing Guard Services confirmed that local guards would be retained and assured the council of his company’s capabilities, gaining support from Council President Slowikowski.

Public concerns raised in the meeting addressed topics ranging from the status of a bank building to silt fences and soil movements on construction sites. Mayor Bernstein reassured the public of ongoing discussions and emphasized the Borough’s commitment to resolving the issues.

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