The Emerson Borough Council recently discussed several pressing matters, with the most notable being a grant application for approximately $1.1 million in federal funding for city improvements. Other topics included Veterans Day celebrations, waste management plans, and updates on public utility projects.
The grant application, aimed at safety enhancements for school routes and city improvements, was a focal point of the meeting. Despite the competitive nature of the grant and the potentially slow process due to federal funding stipulations, council members agreed on its importance for the city. Councilwoman Ashley Rice addressed concerns about the perceived slow pace at the federal level, saying that it may cause residents to think the council isn’t being proactive. The council clarified that this delay is a common issue when dealing with federal funds, compounded by the limited number of qualified engineering firms in New Jersey.
Councilwoman Nicole Argenzia explained that the initial submission for the grant is akin to a “wish list” of desired improvements. If the grant is approved, the council can then prioritize their list based on the received amount. The council also discussed the necessity of informing residents about potential construction, such as installing sidewalks where none existed before. However, due to the tight deadline for the grant application (November 17th), there will not be enough time to gather residents’ input before submitting the application. The council hopes to secure the full grant amount to enhance the town’s walkability, particularly for children walking to school.
In other matters, the council appointed Kelly Abra to the Board of Health, discussed the upcoming end of their contract with the current waste service provider, and held a hearing on an ordinance to establish salary ranges for certain employees for 2023. They also announced the declaration of Veterans Day on November 11, 2023, and encouraged residents to join in celebrating the occasion.
Councilman Brian Gordon provided updates on infrastructure improvements, including the successful replacement of boilers at the Borough Hall and the sale of a generator. Councilwoman Jill McGuire reported on the success of several community events, including a town-wide garage sale and a workshop promoting safety among seniors.