Ridgewood Council Addresses Saddle River Flooding and Sanitation Truck Shortage

In a recent Ridgewood Village Council meeting, community concerns were addressed, with the flooding along the Saddle River being the most significant issue. Residents voiced their distress regarding the increasing frequency of floods, prompting Mayor Paul Vagianos to detail the municipality’s engagement with federal and state agencies to seek long-term solutions. In addition to flooding, the council discussed the need for new sanitation trucks and deliberated on parking regulations and outsourcing janitorial services for municipal buildings.

The flooding along the Saddle River has become a issue for Ridgewood residents, many of whom shared personal accounts of damage to property and emotional distress. Mayor Vagianos acknowledged the severity of the problem and the need for larger-scale intervention. The council has been in dialogue with the Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers, and Congressman Josh Gottheimer’s office has been involved to facilitate these discussions. A formal request for the Army Corps’ assistance is underway, including the provision of photo documentation and engineering data to support the case for federal aid. The mayor assured residents that flood control takes precedence over other community assets, stating, “I will never put ball fields ahead of people.”

During the meeting, residents echoed the need for a meeting with engineers to proactively address the ongoing flooding challenges. The council members, including Pamela R. Perron and Siobhan Winograd, shared the frustrations of the limitations in addressing the flooding issue and advocated for the Army Corps of Engineers to devise and fund a solution. The council’s empathetic stance was evident as they discussed practical measures such as the availability of fire department pumping equipment and the state’s Blue Acres Program for flood relief.

The sanitation and recycling department’s situation emerged as another urgent matter, with the council considering the lease of two new trucks to address the shortage in the existing fleet. Mayor Vagianos, with input from officials Rich Calbi and Sean Hamlin, discussed the need for these vehicles, as several trucks were out of service, impacting garbage and recycling collection. The council actively engaged in debating the severity of the truck shortage and its implications for village services.

Parking regulations near the high school also sparked debate, with council members weighing the impact of potential restrictions on students and the need for more feedback from residents. The council deliberated on two ordinances related to parking on Reigning Court and Cottage Place, with safety and the impact on Central Business District employees’ parking being concerns.

Outsourcing janitorial services for Village Hall and the stable was proposed to ensure adequate maintenance of the municipal buildings. The council discussed operational needs and the implications for current employees, ultimately agreeing that a larger crew was needed.

The meeting covered various other projects and updates, such as the pedestrian tunnel design under the train station, the appointment of new police officers, intersection improvements, and community events like restaurant week and the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observance. The successful launch of the village’s new website was also highlighted as a significant improvement for community engagement.

Councilmember Pamela R. Perron commended the planting of daffodil bulbs between the taxi cab station and the train station and the Shade Tree Committee’s adoption of the sapling initiative. Lorraine Reynolds provided updates from the Central Business District Advisory Committee’s meeting and invited participation in environmental and open space discussions.

Mayor Vagianos acknowledged the American Legion Post’s achievement in securing funding for a gold star monument and shared the challenges faced by the solid waste and recycling fleet. The council discussed the authorization of a shared services agreement for tree removal and the appointment of individuals to the central business district steering committee.

In the public comment section, concerns about flooding and tree removal’s impact on the environment were raised. Mayor Vagianos addressed these concerns.

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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