The recent Montvale Borough Council meeting saw debate over the promotion of “Respect Life Month” on the town’s digital signboard, while also delving into the implementation of new online services aimed at enhancing resident engagement and convenience.
Resident Matt Solomon voiced concerns over the borough using the local digital signboard to promote “Respect Life Month.” He contended that this particular commemoration, tied to the Catholic Church’s stance on reproductive rights, did not compare to the likes of “Hindu Heritage Month” or “Hispanic Heritage Month,” which celebrate diverse cultural and spiritual contributions.
Solomon called into question the appropriateness of utilizing town resources to advance what he saw as the mayor’s personal political and religious beliefs. In defense, Mayor Mike Casale clarified that he alone controls the board’s content, taking full responsibility for its displays, emphasizing that all messages, changes, or additions are subject to his approval.
In a technologically progressive development, the Council announced several enhancements to their online services. With the newly-introduced “Report of Concern” feature, residents can now report issues directly through the borough’s website. This service allows users to pinpoint specific problem areas on a property map after searching by address. Residents receive updates on the resolution of their concerns after providing their email addresses. Initially, reported concerns will be received at the borough’s front desk, subsequently being channeled to the appropriate departments based on the issue’s nature. The council also highlighted the website’s upcoming features, including pet registrations, business insurance, and certificate registry. The intention is to streamline administrative processes for the public’s benefit. An added lightning detector feature offers parents real-time lightning statuses for the town’s four fields, aiming to bolster public safety communication.
Other notable events from the meeting include the recognition of October as “Hindu Heritage Month” by Mayor Ghassali, who acknowledged the significant cultural, spiritual, and historical contributions of Hinduism and its followers. Additionally, updates from council members touched on varied subjects, ranging from the library’s impressive performance and the upcoming Halloween Carnival to the Triborough food pantry’s food drive organized by the Chamber of Commerce.
Towards the end, Carol Lee Adams, another resident, lauded the Council for its cohesion and mutual respect, setting it apart from other more contentious governing bodies. She also proposed the addition of a bench at the senior center’s entrance, a suggestion Mayor Casale found merit in, especially with a family’s recent interest in donating a bench.