Pompton Lakes Borough Council Addresses Flooding, Environmental Concerns, and Community Development

In a recent Pompton Lakes Borough Council meeting, discussions centered on addressing environmental concerns, particularly the impact of erosion and flooding on local trails and river banks. The Flood Advisory Board representative and the Trails Committee provided updates and urged immediate action to mitigate damage and enhance sustainability. The council also deliberated on various resolutions including budget appropriations, community projects, and the finalization of several ordinances. Mayor Michael Serra and council members engaged in addressing residents’ concerns, exploring volunteer initiatives for public area maintenance, and recognizing the contributions of community organizations.

The meeting began with Mayor Michael Serra explaining the need to retain a contractor as a prosecutor, leading to the establishment of a new account for this in the temporary budget. The council approved various resolutions, including the issuance of a towing license to JML Inc DBA JNM Towing and a Municipal services reimbursement agreement with Summit Falls Condominium Association for 2023.

The discussion turned to the environmental challenges facing the borough. Benen from the Flood Advisory Board stressed the need for river bank restoration, particularly after recent high water events had caused significant erosion and damage. A sustainable stabilization approach was recommended for future resilience. Ron Donos of the Trails Committee reported on similar erosion along the Panic River, the loss of a bridge on the Red Trail, and the risks posed by fallen trees. The urgent repair of storm damage and the restoration of trails were highlighted.

During the public comments section, a resident inquired about various resolutions, including the change to a property maintenance officer’s salary and the final payment on Lincoln Avenue. The resident also sought clarification on the $10,000 allocation in resolution and expressed concerns about the perception of the Willow Avenue project. The Borough Administrator provided detailed explanations, and Mayor Serra assured the council would address the Willow Avenue project concerns.

The council moved on to approve two ordinances: 24-9, which established mid-block crosswalks, and 24-7, which exceeded the municipal budget appropriation limits and established a cap bank. Ordinance 24-8, concerning the restructuring of regular council meetings to include a workshop item, was also approved after council president Erik DeLine explained that it would allow governing body members to introduce new topics with advanced documentation.

The mayor reported on various meetings and events, including discussions about the Do Highway Bridge and support for sports groups affected by flooding. Councilwoman Lisa Kihlberg announced several open positions on committees and discussed the regional traffic signal optimization project, the replacement of street signs, and a new sponsorship program for welcome signs.

Council members addressed the damage to the trail system and the need for additional support beyond volunteers. They discussed the implementation of radar flashing stop signs and motions to accept resignations and appointments to the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Environmental Committee.

Councilwoman Maria Kent reported on the Flood Advisory Board’s recommended resolutions about Pompton Dam operations and river bank restoration, while Councilwoman Jennifer Polidori updated on recreational activities and events.

The possibility of setting up volunteer groups for public area maintenance was discussed, with Mayor Serra and Councilwoman Ek Venin addressing insurance requirements for such initiatives. Councilwoman Polidori praised the First Aid Squad’s service, and Councilman Bobby Cruz provided details on the upcoming Trails maintenance event.

Councilwoman Kent raised questions about the amended shared service agreement with Bloomingdale and the feasibility of the Willowfield project. Councilman DeLine reported on meetings about stormwater management rules and the new tree removal and replacement ordinance.

The mayor reminded residents about snow removal protocols, and Councilwoman Polidori acknowledged the Department of Public Works’ efforts during snowstorms. Councilman Venin shared his intentions to understand emergency services operations and discussed the Shade Tree Commission meeting.

The Mayor’s alternate for the open space committee discussed the 2024 budget, highlighting delayed projects such as the Lakeside Park and Her Park improvements. The mayor also addressed the downtown litter issue and thanked Ron Donos for his river condition reports.

Councilwoman Kihlberg provided updates on the traffic signal optimization project and the street sign replacement initiative, seeking council direction on sign designs. A resident’s advice against using red on signs prompted further discussion on sign appearance and longevity.

Randy Hitt, a member of the public, raised questions about amendments to resolution 2455, the property maintenance officer’s compensation, and the zoning board’s construction experience. He also expressed concerns about damage estimates for Joe Grill and Carlo Field and the maintenance of baseball backstops.

In response, Kent clarified the property maintenance officer’s wage change, the volunteer nature of the zoning board, and the approach to repair estimates. The debate with Mayor Serra about funds allocation for new ballfields versus repairing existing ones underscored differing views on financial prioritization and community development.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Michael Serra
City Council Officials:
Erik DeLine, Ek Venin, Jennifer Polidori, Maria Kent, Bobby Cruz, Lisa Kihlberg

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