Emerson Council Advances Housing Affordability, Salutes Community Volunteers and Discusses Notable Initiatives

In a regular session of the Emerson Borough Council held on July 11, 2023, several significant matters were addressed, chiefly the plan to purchase a property for affordable housing. Other noteworthy mentions included the introduction of a new fire prevention ordinance, the resolution of a recent garbage collection hiccup, and community recognition for unpaid services.

The council’s proactive approach to addressing state housing mandates was evident as they discussed the purchase of property at 2 and 7 Lewis Avenue from Burlose Court Associates for $50,000. The property will be utilized for affordable housing or other municipal purposes, marking a vital step towards addressing the borough’s housing needs. “The borough was intending to purchase this property…for $50,000 for the purpose of affordable housing or other municipal purpose as deemed necessary by the borough council,” said a council member. The next steps regarding the property acquisition will be decided in the subsequent council meeting.

The council meeting, chaired by Mayor DePauwel and attended by Councilwoman Argenzia, Councilman Gordon, and Councilwoman Rice, began with a tribute to the late Mr. Edward Caputo, a long-term Emerson resident. Councilwoman Moore joined remotely later in the session.

Mayor DePauwel commended the Emerson Auxiliary Police for their unwavering commitment as unpaid community volunteers, naming them the 2022 Volunteers of the Year. The Mayor’s report included an acknowledgment of the Recreation Commission volunteers for the successful organization of a summer kickoff. He also urged eligible senior citizens and disabled individuals to utilize the state’s 2022 Senior Freeze program, which offers reimbursements for increased property taxes on their primary residences.

Another highlight of the meeting was the introduction of Ordinance 1675-23 to amend Chapter 150, Fire Prevention Article One, Uniform Fire Code, which received unanimous support from the attending council members.

On the community front, Mayor DePauwel announced the forthcoming household hazardous waste collection event and the borough’s second free shredding day. He also reassured residents about the rectification of a garbage collection issue that occurred on July 4th, confirming the accuracy of the future collection dates calendar.

The Mayor highlighted several community resources and events, including the upcoming Senior Bus for residents aged 55 and up and those with special needs, the forthcoming visit from the Bergen County Clerk Satellite Office, and a Board of Health Wellness Clinic, both set to be hosted at the Emerson Public Library. Additionally, he mentioned the opening of the new K9 Pet Resorts and the subsequent senior meeting.

In response to a recent house fire on Colonial Road, the council expressed its gratitude to the emergency responders and volunteers for their professionalism. Council member Hermanson reported on the retirement of Sergeant Alessio from the police force and recognized the Department of Public Works for their diligence regarding storm drain maintenance.

The council also discussed budget matters, emphasizing that funds for a new salt shed had been set aside since 2020 and therefore would not impact the current year’s budget.

Finally, the council approved the hiring of two part-time police records clerks, solidifying the conclusion of a productive meeting. The session adjourned at 9:24 PM, with the next regular meeting slated for Tuesday, July 25th, 2023, at 7:30 PM.

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