Englewood Council Tackles Age-friendly Initiatives and Salary Concerns

In a recent Englewood City Council meeting, the primary focus was on initiatives to make the city more accommodating for its aging population and concerns regarding salary increases for city staff. The meeting commenced with a presentation by Janet Sharma, the coordinator of Age-Friendly Englewood, who advocated for the integration of age-friendly policies into the city’s master plan. Additionally, a public hearing brought up issues of fairness and racial implications in the proposed salary increases for city hall employees.

The proposal to create an age-friendly advisory council to enforce policies benefiting seniors was met with positive remarks and support from council members. Sharma’s detailed presentation covered the history of the initiative, including its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and involvement in racial justice initiatives. The project’s collaboration with various community organizations aimed at addressing affordable housing, transportation, and social participation for seniors was also emphasized.

Council members expressed their appreciation for the health department’s efforts to promote wellness and walkability in the city. The council discussed making resources available to seniors, addressing social isolation, and ensuring that information reached residents in various formats, including hard copies. A council member pointed out the need to reach out to isolated seniors and provide them with necessary support. The importance of transparency and efficient allocation of resources was underlined when questions arose regarding the cost breakdown of city expenses, which included IT services, elevator maintenance, and interpreter services for the Municipal Court. Concerns about duplicate entries and variations in expenses were raised, with the city manager providing explanations and agreeing to furnish further information.

Financial matters were a significant topic of discussion, with a particular focus on the cost-effectiveness of photocopying expenses and the complexities of water charges for city buildings and fire hydrants. A council member advocated for limiting the use of color copies to essential documents, and the council sought clarification on separate water contracts and an ongoing audit of fire hydrant charges. The reimbursement of overpaid taxes due to property sales and the purpose of the FEMA grant reimbursement to Continental Fire and Safety were also discussed. The payments to the county of Bergen and the Bergen County Utilities Authority were brought up, emphasizing the need for the county to effectively serve the city.

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The public hearing for an ordinance establishing contract salaries and benefits for local 108 RWDSU UFCW AFL CIO for city hall employees garnered attention from the public. A resident raised concerns about the fairness and comparability of the salary increases, questioning whether a salary study had been conducted. The city manager responded affirmatively, stating that a study was completed and would be shared with the governing body, and addressed the need for equitable compensation while disputing claims of corruption in budget and salary evaluations.

The meeting also tackled salary increases for city staff, including park rangers, data entry clerks, dispatchers, and housing inspectors. A debate ensued about potential corruption and the need for performance evaluations, emphasizing salary differences based on job responsibilities and certifications. Public comments addressed resolution consent agenda items, such as a grant-funded stormwater management study and opposition to proposed bills related to fair share housing. Issues like environmental racism and gentrification were voiced by residents.

Mayor Michael W. provided updates on several community events and initiatives, including health screening, a black business expo, and training for overdose cases. He also mentioned the deadline for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, encouraging eligible students to apply.

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Lastly, the meeting recognized the completion of the probationary term of seven firefighters, praising the city’s public safety professionals. Condolences were offered for the passing of a former colleague, Judy Marin, and her contributions to the community were celebrated. Mental health awareness initiatives for police officers, firefighters, and middle school students were discussed, as well as the upcoming closure of a road for construction. Council members also addressed constituent concerns such as street cleaning schedules and deer crossings and advocated for community engagement and addressing affordable housing issues.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Michael Wildes
City Council Officials:
Charles Cobb, Dr. Kenneth Rosenzweig, Dr. Lisa Wisotsky, Angela David, Kevin Wilson

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