Hillsdale Borough Council Discusses Turf Field Controversy, Ambulance Services, and Council Meeting Frequency

In a recent Hillsdale Borough Council meeting, issues such as the controversy over synthetic turf fields, the division of service calls by the Hillsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps (HVAC), and the frequency of council meetings were discussed. The meeting saw involvement from all members of the City Council, including Justin Fox, Janetta Trochimiuk, Anthony DeRosa, Zoltan Horvath, Abby Lundy, John Escobar, and Mayor John Ruocco.

The council meeting kicked off with a public comment from Doug Bagwell, a resident of Hillsdale, New Jersey, who voiced concerns about Resolution 23278. The resolution calls for the cessation of activities related to the construction of a turf field at Centennial Field. Bagwell suggested that the resolution should specify the halt of a synthetic turf field construction, as a natural turf project was also under discussion. Mayor Ruocco clarified that the term “turf” in the resolution referred to synthetic material. Bagwell further urged the council to evaluate all the fields in town, not just Centennial Field, to prevent overuse and suggested hiring a field turf professional to assess the situation.

Councilman Anthony DeRosa expressed concern over the Beachwood Park Nature Trail project, emphasizing the necessity of Environmental Commission input before proceeding with design specifications. The council also discussed the ambulance committee report, revealing that 60% of their service calls were within Hillsdale, with 40% outside the borough. Councilman DeRosa requested an update on these numbers post-implementation of the new system.

The frequency of council meetings also saw debate, with Council member Janetta Trochimiuk suggesting biweekly meetings for more efficient organization. Conversely, some council members feared potential communication gaps and the need for timely decision-making, leading to the rejection of Trochimiuk’s proposal with a 4 to 2 vote.

The council also discussed various ordinances, including Ordinance 2319, involving the appropriation of funds from the borough’s capital improvement fund, and Ordinance 2320, authorizing improvements to the municipal building. A noteworthy resolution to amend the borough’s code regarding the organization of the police department was also introduced, intending to include two additional officers to address the current shortage.

In addition, the council discussed street sweeping services and the cost-effectiveness of renting a street sweeper from the county for $1,500 per week versus a shared service agreement with Paramus costing $5,000 per day. After considering labor costs, the council approved both resolutions, deeming the fourth street sweeping operation beneficial.

Several resolutions were voted upon, including one to rescind the approval for installing a synthetic turf field at Centennial Field and another to cancel the capital bonds. A discussion about the need for a second community center saw the council voting in favor of rescinding its authorization.

Finally, the council discussed personnel matters in a closed session, which led to the approval of an employment agreement with Denise Coan, promotion of David Seos to Sergeant in the Hillsdale Police Department, and a memorandum of understanding with the Teamsters Local 125. The council also approved a garbage collection contract with Gor Recycling Company after a debate concerning potential cost savings.

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Mayor: John Ruocco City Council Officials: Justin Fox, Janetta Trochimiuk, Anthony DeRosa, Zoltan Horvath, Abby Lundy, John Escobar

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