Ridgewood Council Addresses Flooding and Infrastructure Concerns

In a recent meeting, the Ridgewood Council tackled a range of issues, with focus on community infrastructure concerns, particularly the lead service line replacement plan and water infrastructure projects. The comprehensive plan, a state-mandated requirement, involves a $39 million project to replace over 2,000 lead service lines within the community. The council discussed the details of the plan, including the financing structure and property owner options, with a focus on low-interest loans and a special assessment ordinance that would add a tax onto property owners’ real estate taxes. The gravity of the flooding issue was also a major topic, with the council discussing a 20-point plan for reducing flooding and improving stormwater management, highlighting the complexity and urgency of the problem.

The meeting featured a presentation on the lead service line replacement plan’s financial commitment and complex financing structure. Concerns were raised about the implications for property owners, including the one-time assessment that will act like a tax. The council discussed whether homeowners could refuse the replacement and how new owners will be informed of previous decisions regarding lead pipes. A suggestion was made to mandate lead pipe replacement at the property sale at the village level. Additionally, the council awarded a contract for the exchange of granulated activated carbon media at the two active water treatment facilities, emphasizing the sustainability aspect of recycling the carbon.

The council also heard updates on the installation of a raw water main to connect wells to treatment facilities and the installation of water mains within the village and other towns. The importance of these water infrastructure projects was emphasized, as was the need to minimize disruptions to residents. The council expressed appreciation for the updates and highlighted the groundbreaking nature of the work being done.

The meeting covered the council’s partnership with Columbia University students who are working on a Capstone project to provide consulting on flooding prevention, decarbonization, and funding comparison. The students’ engagement was praised as a significant collaboration, providing valuable insights for the village’s sustainability and emergency preparedness initiatives.

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In terms of community engagement and transparency, the council discussed concerns about the public’s ability to participate in meetings and the decision-making process. The village manager responded to public comments, stressing the importance of resident input on various projects. The council highlighted the demand for athletic fields and the need for lighting improvements to accommodate the increasing number of youth athletes.

Residents’ participation in the meeting was robust, with topics ranging from the proposed installation of permanent lights on Vets Field to the construction of a multi-purpose sports field on the Zisy Shedler property. Opinions were divided, with some expressing opposition due to the field’s flooding issues and lack of transparency, while others showed support, citing the need for field space and the positive impact on local sports clubs.

The council’s discussions on budgetary matters included the repair of a boiler, the purchase of triband portable radios for emergency communications, and the ongoing replacement of turnout gear for the fire department. They also reviewed the proposal to approve a new ambulance billing vendor, which could potentially increase billable charges and insurance coverage for services.

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Public comments during the meeting covered various concerns, from water rates and infrastructure disruptions to opposition towards the construction of large fields due to safety and traffic concerns. In contrast, others voiced support for the athletic park project, emphasizing its benefits for the youth and community.

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.

Mayor:
Paul Vagianos
City Council Officials:
Pamela R. Perron, Lorraine Reynolds, Evan Weitz, Siobhan Winograd

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