In a recent Leonia Borough Council meeting, a myriad of topics were addressed, ranging from the implementation of reverse angle parking and the construction of a new municipal building, to the appointment of Special Law Enforcement Officers and the visit of a South Korean delegation. The meeting was led by Council President Louis Grandelis, with Mayor Judah Zeigler and Councilwoman Joanne Choi Terrell absent.
Officals discussed the introduction of reverse angle parking in Leonia, which sparked concerns and prompted the organization of a public information session scheduled for September 12th. The council and borough engineer, Drew DeCeso, have been working closely with various departments, including the police, to address concerns and educate the public through a dedicated webpage and informational videos. The council emphasized the safety benefits of this parking system and noted that a million-dollar grant for repaving Broad Avenue was contingent on its implementation.
The construction of the new municipal building was another focal point, facing delays due to supply chain issues but reported to be under budget. The council approved hardware expenses of $58,000 for technology upgrades and discussed disruptions due to site work around the building, affecting parking near the library. The building was of international interest, with a delegation from South Korea visiting Leonia to inspect the new Municipal Center. Sergeant Sihoon Chung of the Leonia Police Department facilitated translation, emphasizing the importance of communication.
The council proceeded with the nomination and unanimous approval of Roberto Australia Tevernas, Carolina Flores, Christopher Labianco, and Jerry Martinez-Morris as Class I Special Law Enforcement Officers. Councilor Maureen Davis detailed the selection process, explaining the urgency due to academy start dates. The police department had interviewed 21 candidates, with the chief of police on vacation and Captain Harris overseeing the department.
Environmental concerns were also addressed, with the Environmental Commission discussing involvement with Sustainable New Jersey and addressing weed growth at Highwood Hills. The potential introduction of Styrofoam recycling in Leonia was discussed, facilitated by equipment purchased by Richfield Park. The council also addressed the issue of garbage pails on Broad Avenue and approved the allocation for more garbage cans in the capital budget for 2023.
Various departments presented their monthly reports, including the Department of Public Works, which collected significant amounts of waste and addressed tree removals and prunings. The Office of Construction reported a “relatively light month,” and the library experienced staff transitions. The council also discussed the progress of the municipal campus digital sign, expected to be operational by mid to late November, and reported growth in the use of the EV station.
Residents voiced concerns about various issues, including the potential distractions caused by digital signage, the safety and cost benefits of reverse angle parking, and garbage disposal around bus stops and schools. Questions were raised about the guidelines for messaging on the signs and the training for volunteer officers.
The borough attorney reported on executed leases for a compost facility and billboard, and updates to the parking ordinance. The council approved a series of resolutions and discussed the capital budget, emphasizing the importance of a road assessment program.