Tenafly Borough Council Contemplates Fire Department Incentives and Discusses Upcoming Budget Hearings

In a recent Tenafly Borough Council meeting, members carefully considered a request from the Fire Commission to increase incentives for fire department volunteers, as the current stipend has remained unchanged since 2019. The proposed budget hearing schedule was another significant topic, as the Council sought to accommodate department availability while adhering to a looming deadline for adopting the budget. Additionally, the Council approved various resolutions and moved forward with discussions on local ordinances, infrastructure improvements, and community initiatives.

Councilman Venugopal Menon introduced the topic of fire department incentives by detailing the current three-tier compensation program and the Fire Commission’s request for an increase to adjust for inflation over the past decade. Michael Gley, a Committee Member for the fire department, emphasized the need for a cost of living adjustment to maintain the value of the incentives. The stipend, coupled with a length of service award program, plays a role in attracting and retaining fire department members, which has become increasingly challenging due to an aging population and recruitment difficulties among younger demographics. The Council agreed to deliberate on the incentive appropriation amount during the upcoming budget period, acknowledging the importance of supporting the fire department.

The Council then turned its attention to the proposed budget hearing schedule. Susan, the CFO, suggested that the schedule be moved up by a week to ensure timely finalization of the budget, as they awaited a capital plan from one department. Councilman Adam Michaels highlighted the importance of considering department availability, with some preferring Saturday meetings. The Council settled on starting the schedule with a meeting on March 2nd and then determining the final meeting date based on availability. The goal was to find a compromise between accommodating schedules and meeting the local Finance notice’s deadline for budget adoption and introduction.

During the meeting, the Council also discussed the scheduling of upcoming meetings, with an emphasis on two Saturday meetings to address budget matters. The Council eventually scheduled meetings for the second and 16th of the month and considered additional weekday meetings before regular Council sessions. The discussion also touched upon the Historic Preservation Commission’s Tenafly Railroad Station dedication ceremony and the Senior Services Committee’s proposal to apply for an AARP grant, which the Council supported and decided to move forward with at no cost to the borough.

The consent agenda brought up the temporary budget resolution, where Susan provided an explanation about the 26.25% allocation within the temporary budget. The Council approved this resolution, along with others pertaining to appointments and the Millennial Strategy. Questions arose during the approval of Resolution R24-58, which involved allocating an additional $10,000 for engineering services. The Council clarified whether it was a flat rate or a maximum limit before approving the resolution. Resolution R24-59 involved an agreement with the Paramus Public Safety Answering Point, and it was confirmed that the chief of police was satisfied with the arrangement. Another resolution, R24-60, concerning the scope of vehicle repairs, led to clarification that maintenance covered all borough vehicles, with Paramus chosen for specialized equipment.

Old business included a discussion on a proposed ordinance allowing homeowners with basement garages to modify their setups to prevent flooding, with plans to present a draft ordinance at the next meeting. Additionally, the Council introduced ordinance 2401, focusing on stormwater control and privately owned salt storage, which was scheduled for a hearing at the next meeting.

The meeting concluded with committee reports from the planning board, board of adjustment, and board of health. The Mayor, Mark Zinna, announced an appointment to the historic preservation commission before the Council moved into a closed executive session to discuss personnel matters and real property discussions.

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.

Mark Zinna
City Council Officials:
Jamie Corsair, Venugopal Menon, Adam Michaels, Julie O’Connor, Daniel Park, John Roglieri

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