Haworth Borough Council Approves Significant Budget Increase and Bold Infrastructure Projects

In a recent meeting presided over by Mayor Heather Wasser, the Haworth Borough Council deliberated and passed several crucial resolutions, including a considerable increase in the annual budget and multiple infrastructure projects, set to change the face of Haworth in the coming years. The meeting took place on June 13, 2023, and covered a multitude of issues impacting the borough and its residents.

The council endorsed Ordinance No. 23-10-2023 CAP Ordinance, authorizing an increase in the annual budget by 3.5%, approximately $227,856 more than the previous year’s final appropriations. The council justified the increase as necessary for promoting the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens. Additionally, any unappropriated amount could be retained as an exception in the next two succeeding years.

One major topic of discussion was the Bergen County Open Trust Fund, proposed to enhance Memorial Field. The fund would facilitate the construction of new dugouts, the rehabilitation of Bocci Courts, the reconstruction of the basketball court, and the repair of fences. The proposal, outlined by the Recreation Commission Chairman Mr. Robert Hoyng, faced no objections from the public.

Another critical issue was the introduction of Ordinance 23-11, amending the 2023 Bond Ordinance. The amendment authorizes various public improvements and acquisitions of new equipment, technology, and machinery costing $550,000, financed through bonds. A public hearing date for this ordinance was set for June 17, 2023.

During the meeting, the council also gave updates on the Lake Shore Drive Paving project. The project includes the Viola water line service, test pits, and new water meters, expected to be completed by July 24th. Assurances were given about maintaining access to Lake Shore Drive and the swim club during the project period.

Other approved proposals included a temporary capital budget, representatives to the Bergen County Community Development for 2023-2024, and a three-year cooperative agreement for the Urban County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Entitlement Program, Home Investment Partnership Act Program, and Emergency Solutions Grant for program years July 2024 – June 30, 2027.

Two significant grant applications were also approved. The first grant, for $509,000 from the New Jersey Department of Transportation Highway Trust Fund, aims to construct a bikeway along Lake Shore Drive in Haworth. The second grant, amounting to $295,025, is intended for improvements to Garfield Street, Brook Street, and Hoover Way, including safety upgrades, traffic calming, and complete streets measures.

During the public discussion, issues were raised regarding speeding on Madison Avenue and Whitman Street. The council acknowledged these concerns, suggesting potential measures such as additional signage, lighted stop signs, and speed humps.

Additionally, the council announced the reopening of the borough hall to the public on July 1, 2023, appointed Summer Recreation Counselors for the 2023 Summer Season, and approved the renewal of liquor licenses for 2023-2024.

Finally, the meeting ended with the acknowledgment of Ms. Fay’s retirement and her contributions during her tenure with the borough. The meeting then temporarily closed to the public to discuss participants for Chief Financial Officer (CFO) interviews, reopening to pass a resolution authorizing the interview process for the CFO position. The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 PM.

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