In a recent meeting of the Washington (Bergen) Town Council, significant discussions centered on traffic concerns near local schools and the township’s robust financial position, boasting an AA+ rating. The council also deliberated on budgetary allocations, software settings, emergency purchasing protocols, and the upcoming Town day.
One of the foremost concerns was the traffic congestion near schools, particularly during rainstorms. Multiple residents, including Matthew Tagale and Dan Paolucci, suggested designated pickup and drop-off areas within school properties to alleviate these issues. Paolucci advocated for the council to communicate unanimously with the Board of Education regarding this matter. Council members also deliberated on parking restrictions near Washington School, with Councilman Casico specifically seeking updates on the Ridgewood Road paving project.
On the financial front, Mr. Vincey presented the 2022 audit review, highlighting the township’s AA+ rating and acknowledging its strong financial reserves. This rating, determined by entities like Moody’s Investors or Standard & Poor’s, directly impacts interest rates on long-term bonds; a better rating can result in reduced interest and financial benefits for taxpayers. The discussion also covered five audit recommendations, of which three were repeated suggestions from prior reviews. The council placed emphasis on the importance of proper documentation for emergency purchases, with the protocol demanding council approval for high-value expenditures exceeding a department’s annual budget.
Councilman Casio raised concerns about a fee discrepancy for a wrestling program between Washington Township and Westwood residents, sparking a broader discussion about shared recreation agreements. The Thanksgiving Senior Meal Program was highlighted by Councilwoman Feeney, who also plans to introduce a sample ordinance to address the pressing issue of aircraft noise in the region.
The upcoming Town day was anticipated with enthusiasm, featuring activities like a trackless train, rock wall, and apple pie eating contest. A significant attraction for the day is a tug-of-war competition between the chiefs of the Washington Township Fire Department and the Police Department.
Additionally, the council touched on various community initiatives and developments. The newly opened Township of Washington Book Bin at Town Hall and a new drop bin for retiring US flags, generously donated by the VFW Post 6192, were among them. Residents were also introduced to CHoR, a volunteer service aimed at assisting seniors and disabled individuals with minor home repairs.
In the realm of recreation, a Fun with Art program is set to begin, with the Teen Center opening its doors shortly after. For those interested in public service, the town underscored the need for a public affairs director.
In wrapping up the meeting, Councilman Sears extended appreciation to Westwood High School’s soccer team and Scout Troop 321 for their commendable efforts in a cleanup and planting initiative near a bridge.