In an eventful meeting of the Cresskill Borough Council, Patrolmen Stevens, Vigorita, and Gil were honored for their exemplary heroism in a high-stakes rescue involving a baby. Alongside this, pivotal discussions took place around the 2023 budget, the renovation of Cranford Park, and regulations on bamboo cultivation and lead-based paint inspections.
Mayor Benedict Romeo presided over the gathering that commenced at 7:08 P.M. Recognizing community protectors, a commendation went out to School Crossing Guard John Morgan for his unwavering service. Sara Huisking, the Executive Director of The American Red Cross, presented Lifesaving Awards for Extraordinary Personal Action to the courageous patrolmen.
Amid the proceedings, Council Member Spina highlighted an imminent 5 & 10k fundraising race backed by the BOH. Updates from Council Member Olmo shed light on the newly installed roof at the Fire Department and a plan to utilize FEMA funds for asbestos remediation. Chief Ulshoefer underscored the significance of harnessing FEMA allocations, not just for infrastructural updates but also to recover a sizable yearly interest of nearly $500,000 from the department’s operating budget.
Of immediate concern was the malfunctioning air conditioning system at local schools, which Olmo accentuated. Thanks to the HSA, students enjoyed a pizza treat during an event, addressing prior grievances over food shortages.
The spotlight then moved to the 2023 budget. A motion was made to initiate a public hearing concerning the budgetary allotments. Mayor Romeo candidly expressed the challenges posed by rising inflation and interest rates, saying, “We worked diligently to get this down as much as possible.” Olmo lauded the meticulous work of Administrator Lavin and Auditor Lerch in navigating the intricacies of budgeting.
One unanimous decision saw the approval of Ordinance No. 23-17-1618, regulating bamboo cultivation within the Borough. Another significant point of deliberation was the renovation of Cranford Park. Mayor Romeo candidly addressed the dilapidated condition of the park and the available grant opportunity, leading to the unanimous adoption of Resolution No. 2023, proposing a $125,000 grant to rejuvenate the park.
In tandem with statewide regulations, a major topic of conversation was the mandatory lead paint inspection in rented homes built prior to 1978. Chief Ulshoefer pointed out challenges in this domain due to the discovery of numerous rentals, some clandestinely used to access local school facilities. Moreover, Mayor Romeo and Chief Domville discussed safety concerns regarding scooter use without helmets and the absence of ordinances for electric bikes and scooters. These discussions resonated with the community’s focus on safety and wellness.
In a nod to community integration, the Consent Agenda was elaborated upon by Borough Clerk Maragliano. The appointment of Scott Mintz as a Police Dispatcher, participation in the Bergen County Community Development Program, and the commendation of Eagle Scout Akshay Nair for his timely tech intervention during a Zoning Board meeting were among the primary highlights. The appointment of shared service consultant MTP Group LLC showcased the Borough’s ambitions for inter-community collaborations, as Mayor Romeo hinted at shared service deals with neighboring towns.
Concluding the meeting, public remarks spotlighted issues like the growing deer population. The council members, including Olmo and Kaplan, acknowledged the rising challenge, attributing it to factors like mild winters and Bergen County’s development. Attorney Diktas agreed to engage in a more detailed discussion post-meeting.
With the clock nearing 8:00 P.M., a motion to adjourn was unanimously approved by Council Members Spina and Schultz-Rummel.