Montvale Shines Spotlight on Local Heroes, Public Safety, and Infrastructure Revamps

In an engaging session of the Montvale Borough Council meeting, discussions ranged from the recognition of local sports achievers and dedicated public servants to a deep-dive into public safety issues and infrastructure projects, embodying a unique blend of community spirit and administrative diligence.

The meeting, attended by council members Arendacs, Cudequest, Coley, Lane, and Russo-Vogelsang, as well as Mayor Michael N. Ghassali, held its highlights early on as Cindy Perrine Lamb was announced as the new addition to the Library Board. Lamb’s appointment follows the departure of Geraldine Westerveld, and Mayor Ghassali lauded her commitment to serve the community despite familial responsibilities.

In a celebratory spirit, the council honored the outstanding performance of the Pascack Hills Varsity Baseball Team, whose recent state championship win became a point of pride for the borough. The team’s outstanding record for the season (22-7, winning 15 of their last 16 games) was underlined by Mayor Ghassali, who assured the team’s achievements would be permanently etched into the town’s records.

Transitioning into public safety matters, Police Chief Doug McDowell offered a comprehensive quarterly report. Highlighted were upcoming events, such as the ‘Touch a Truck’ event, slated for August 16, and the Junior Police Academy for 7th and 8th graders, beginning September 19. An increased focus on impaired driving, underscored by recent events and plans to apply for a DWI grant, was another critical discussion point.

Acknowledging the performance of the local police force, the council recognized an officer, Clay, for making the most DWI arrests in the county. A review of the department’s performance statistics for the year revealed a case closure rate of 80-90% on criminal investigations, reflecting effective law enforcement in the borough. Additionally, the council noted several hotspots of traffic-related issues, with potential interventions discussed.

Infrastructure projects, planning matters, and fiscal responsibilities formed the crux of the subsequent discussion. The council approved a grant agreement with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for the Woodland Road Resurfacing Project.

An issue that raised eyebrows among the council members was the unusual high revenue of $165,380.06 for police outside detail in June 2023, suggesting further investigation. Moreover, the council discussed ongoing infrastructure improvements, such as roadwork and paving set to begin in August, and possible future improvements to the local bocce ball courts.

The Mayor unveiled the “mayor’s wellness campaign on tour,” which aims to boost physical activity by partnering with nine local gyms to offer free trial classes.

Finally, the council acknowledged changes in voting procedures with the introduction of new polling machines and a draft resolution to appoint a special counsel to represent the borough in a negotiation with the NJ DEP over a cleanup site on Craig Road. The council also stood against Assembly Bill A4376, which could limit local control over telecommunications facilities.

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