Maywood Borough Council Mulls Tax Increases

In an engaging Maywood Borough Council meeting, key topics such as public finance, infrastructure improvements, community activities, and policy changes were tackled, highlighting the ongoing efforts to enhance life in Maywood.

The meeting was punctuated by the presentation of a commendation to Preston Theo, the victor in a recent 5K run, followed by a proclamation recognizing Juneteenth, emphasizing the town’s commitment to combating systemic racism.

The council dove into serious deliberation over a contentious proposal to raise $39.7 million for the 2023 tax bill, detailed in resolution 143-23. Resident Mr. John Brown questioned the resolution’s feasibility, sparking a broader debate about taxation timing and procedures. One council member argued that the public might interpret the large preliminary figure as an actual tax hike, causing unnecessary distress. Despite acknowledging the need for statutory requirements and the issuance of an estimated bill, the council agreed that more realistic initial estimates should be provided to avoid alarm.

In the area of infrastructure, the council discussed the borough engineer’s comprehensive report detailing ongoing and upcoming projects such as the Bar Cliff Avenue and Briarcliff projects, borough home moisture protection renovations, memorial park improvements, and the 2023 road improvement program. These initiatives included addressing sump pump drainage issues and potential improvements to catch basins and gutter lines. A significant item on the agenda was the adoption of a more interactive Geographical Information System (GIS) to track stormwater infrastructure and other municipal features. However, the enhanced system would involve an additional cost of $14,000.

The council also discussed the potential relocation of polling stations due to upcoming construction, raising concerns about accessibility for all voters. Also debated was an amendment to the ordinance requiring permits for work on the public right-of-way, following an incident where Veolia, a service company, damaged a newly paved road.

Community initiatives also received attention. The council proposed selling prints of their artwork to raise funds for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, an effort to be matched by the council itself. They deliberated on accepting a $30,000 grant for a new fitness court, weighing the benefits against the total construction cost of $155,000.

In a nod to Maywood’s active community, the council celebrated the SummerSlam event, the Maywood Youth Athletics and the Maywood/Rochelle Park Girls Softball rec seasons. A member of the council also spoke about a young community member who started a knitting and crochet program for homeless LGBTQ+ youth, showing the council’s recognition of diverse community engagement.

Under the umbrella of policy change, the council had heated discussions about the definitions and permissions for medical and cosmetic tattooing, differentiating them from traditional tattooing for zoning permissions. They also deliberated on a change in ordinance about residential use of sprinkler systems.

In an effort to remember and honor their own, the council began the meeting with a moment of silence for departed police officer, Tom Snobola. They also proposed a tribute to a recently deceased fire police sergeant, perhaps through the planting of a tree or setting a plaque.

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