In a recent Elmwood Park Borough Council meeting, a range of notable events, ranging from community service recognition to the contentious issue of potential salary hikes for department heads, captured public attention.
The meeting kicked off with Mayor Coletti celebrating two firemen with 50 years of service each. Ken Dressler and Joseph Mikovic received due recognition, each with a rich history in the Elmwood Park Fire Department. Acknowledgments from various council members underscored the significance of their dedication, with their work described as “heroic” and their commitment celebrated as an exemplar for younger firefighters.
Following the commendations, Councilwoman Lorraine Pellegrine presented the “Making a Difference” award to a local volunteer group known as Azes. Over the last six years, Azes has helped with tasks like leaf cleanups and borough-wide cleanups, and their efforts were celebrated by the council. A representative from Azes expressed their gratitude, illustrating the powerful bond between the town and the organization.
The council then shifted gears to legislative actions, unanimously passing resolutions to establish four-way stops at various intersections around Elmwood Park, thereby enhancing road safety. A plan for redevelopment was also reintroduced, although the prospect of one street becoming one-way was quickly dismissed in response to community concerns.
However, the most fiery debates centered around potential salary increases for certain borough employees. Concerns were raised about department heads possibly receiving a raise of 20-25%, which some council members viewed as “unprecedented” and “unfair” compared to a proposed 3% raise for other employees due to inflation. In defense of the proposal, one council member explained that non-union employees could argue for different types of increase before the mayor and council. However, that did not appear to directly respond to the concerns being raised.