In a recent meeting of the Franklin Lakes Borough Council, discussions revolved around an array of key topics including new appointments, infrastructure projects, local amenities, and enhanced community quality of life measures.
Robert August Lydus and Thomas Schokoff commenced their new roles as Plumbing Inspector and a Volunteer Fire Department Probationary Member respectively, receiving unanimous approval from the council. Another notable appointment was the Quality of Life Enforcement Agent, a part-time position aimed at managing property maintenance issues, zoning inspections, and related administrative tasks.
The council debated the allocation of $150,000 saved from the Nolantangi Drainage and broader road projects, both of which were completed under budget. Councilwoman Cardenas advocated for investing the savings into additional road repairs while Councilman Sheppard proposed reserving the funds for future needs. An updated list of roads requiring repair will be reviewed at the council’s next meeting to guide their decision.
Public concerns on high water levels and mosquito issues at Hopper’s Pond, resulting from a poorly maintained outfall structure, were addressed. The Oakland Industrial Park, the pond’s owner, was identified as responsible for maintenance. The council agreed on follow-up action to encourage the owner to adhere to their maintenance obligations.
Parsons Pond Park Multipurpose Building emerged as another significant discussion point. Plans to renovate the building with an estimated cost of $136,000 drew from the operating budget and a six-year contract fund. Councilman Shepherd spoke positively about the plans, seeing potential for a multipurpose utility building. Despite some disagreement on the building’s best use, the council agreed to propose a capital ordinance for the renovation project.
Amidst community facility talks, the council proposed hosting a series of community concerts. Concerns about logistics and potential influx of non-local attendees were raised. Despite such reservations, the council decided to consult with local mayors and consider hosting a public hearing to gauge public opinion.
The council also discussed the upkeep of local buildings, highlighting maintenance issues, such as roof leaks leading to mold, at one local facility. There was further conversation around the responsibilities of maintenance and whether landscaping contractors should assume more responsibility.
On local infrastructure, the renewal of a three-year contract for borough employees was debated, with working hours noted as an element to be discussed during the next contract negotiation period.
Additional topics included discussions of school security measures, recruitment strategies to address insufficient volunteer turnout for fire emergencies, and the potential purchase of a new $1.6 million fire ladder truck. A disagreement over a parking issue on Aspen and Linden streets was also highlighted, with an ordinance proposed to limit parking on one side of the roads due to their narrowness and related problems.
One topic of continued discussion was the possibility of broadcasting council meetings. While potential benefits for the public were acknowledged, concerns were raised about the initial cost, estimated at $50,000 to $60,000. The council decided to further explore options and potential costs.