Saddle Brook Council Tackles Flooding Woes and Celebrates Diversity

Last week, the Saddle Brook Town Council addressed persistent flooding problems, the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, administrative matters, and upcoming community events.

The meeting, conducted with Councilwoman Florence Mazzer absent, saw residents voicing their concerns and the council responding with acknowledgment and planned actions. Neil Fedoro, a long-time resident, brought to light the hazardous flooding issue on Chepice Avenue, which has been a persistent problem for about two years. Describing the street as resembling a river during heavy rains, Fedoro emphasized the urgency of the situation. Mayor Robert D. White and the council acknowledged the issue, suggesting a more detailed discussion in a work session in October.

Another resident raised multiple concerns, including the absence of Councilwoman Mazzer, traffic increase around Franklin School, and the absence of a crossing guard at a specific corner, emphasizing the safety risk for children. The council addressed these concerns, clarifying that the payment for arm guards in the school system was covered by the township and that the search for a business administrator would be discussed in a closed session.

This resident also highlighted discrepancies in the language of Ordinance 1726-22 regarding manufacturing operations, emphasizing the need for uniform language to avoid future deviations. The council, particularly Councilman Andrew Cimiluca, engaged in a discussion about this, reflecting on previous workshop meetings where the issue was raised.

Mayor White took the opportunity to make three proclamations, choosing to read out the one for Hispanic Heritage Month due to time constraints. He highlighted the significance of the month, stating, “Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to honor and celebrate the many ways Hispanic Americans contribute to the success of our country.” The mayor urged the people of Saddle Brook to support this observance, acknowledging the contributions of Hispanics to the community and the nation.

Council members, including Sarah Sanchez, reflected on various community events, such as the township picnic and Saddlebrook soccer day, expressing gratitude for the support and volunteers. The council also acknowledged the sponsors and volunteers of the township picnic and the September 11th ceremony, thanking them for their contributions and efforts.

Mayor White provided updates on Capital Improvements, mentioning the progress of the 2023 Road program and upcoming water main replacement projects. He addressed potential traffic issues on Midland Avenue and informed the public about detours and updates available on the town website and Facebook page.

The council discussed several upcoming events, including a seniors’ breakfast bingo, an outdoor concert, the Steeler Coach Street Fair, town-wide garage sale, and a “Truck or Tree” event. Administrative matters such as the distribution of leaf bags to households in October and a change in the polling location for District Six residents were also addressed.

The council expressed concern over the rise in COVID-19 cases and urged residents, especially those in high-risk groups, to take precautions. The interim business administrator, Maureen, was thanked for her nearly a year of service, as this meeting was likely one of her last.

A point of discussion arose regarding the Class Three police officers stationed in schools, a program in its third or fourth year, funded by the town. The council expressed pride in this initiative, emphasizing its importance in providing an additional layer of protection in schools, especially given the prevalence of school shootings and violence in the country.

Two new food-related businesses, Made in Dominican Republic and Adrian Cafe and Flowers, were announced to be opening in town, contributing to the community’s diversity and economic development. The council expressed hope to be invited to their grand opening ceremonies and welcomed them to the community.

A member of the public raised a point about cannabis, leading to some confusion as the council typically addresses agenda items first. The council assured that the attorney would review the highlighted lines regarding cannabis regulations. The council then went into a closed session for legal and personnel issues, estimating it to last approximately 30 minutes, and informed the public that they would be reopening the meeting and might take further action.

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