Hillsdale Tackles Escrow Policies, Backlog of Unrecorded Minutes, and Future Communication

In a recent Hillsdale Borough Council meeting, several administrative and financial matters were addressed, with standout discussions focused on resolution PZ-100-22, parking provisions, escrow policy, and a backlog of unrecorded meeting minutes. Notably, the council’s endeavors were marked by an overall goal of improving operational efficiency, particularly concerning communication and data management practices.

In the spotlight of the session was resolution PZ-100-22, regarding Patterson Street Urban Renewal LLC’s request for site plan approval. A bone of contention emerged around parking provisions, with Mayor Rico and another council member seeking to clarify that the allocation of 20 parking spaces was intended for a garage, not street parking. Following the amendment, the council voted in favor of the resolution. The exact number of electric vehicle spaces, listed as 67 in the document, was noted for future verification.

Following discussions on resolution PZ-100-22, attention shifted to financial matters. These mainly revolved around outstanding escrows and invoices. Faced with several applicants not fulfilling their escrow obligations, the council examined its legal options to enforce compliance. Secretary Natalie has already set this motion in action, sending letters of notice to all delinquent escrow account holders.

Questions were raised around the approval of an outstanding invoice from Burgess Associates. While this issue wasn’t resolved in the meeting, the council collectively agreed to examine it further. Also, an invoice from 2020 related to Madeline housing was approved unanimously after confirmation that it was an escrow-based payment.

A recurring theme of the meeting was the council’s focus on data management and communication improvements. A backlog of unrecorded meeting minutes was discussed, with the council deciding to table the approval of minutes until a later date in June. Additionally, the council considered updates to their application process. These included adopting new forms, creating a tracking system for applications, and focusing on the date when checks accompanying applications were received.

The council also pointed out the need for updates to the website and better sharing of information among council members and with the public. Council members advocated for the inclusion of a comprehensive contact list and making the application form available as a PDF on the council website. A motion was put forward to ensure better sharing of meeting outcomes and updates among council members, especially when an individual could not attend a meeting.

Furthermore, discussions encompassed potential updates to the council’s meeting schedules, given the current application pipeline, and deliberations on the implications of a pending assembly bill permitting council meetings to be broadcast via Zoom. The council displayed a collective curiosity about whether inclusion of Zoom would be mandatory or just permitted if the legislation is passed and signed by the governor.

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