Westwood Borough Council Advances Flooding Mitigation Bill and Significant Capital Investments

In a recent Westwood Borough Council meeting, Mayor Arroyo and the council members advanced major initiatives for local community development and safety measures. The meeting was marked by a significant focus on flooding mitigation, passing of capital investment ordinances, and discourse over ‘paper streets.’

A pressing issue that emerged during the meeting was the efforts to pass Senate bill S790, aimed at forecasting studies to help mitigate flooding. Mayor Arroyo emphasized the efforts being made in collaboration with Senator Schepisi and Dr. Temimi, alongside arranging meetings with Veolia. The bill is expected to be pushed out of committee and could be a major step forward for the borough in managing its longstanding flood issues.

The topic of ‘paper streets’ was also brought up, following a query from a local business owner. Mayor Arroyo, Borough Administrator Ayer, and Dr. Boswell engaged in a discussion about the number of such streets, believed to be only two within the Borough. The existence of these unclaimed streets can present potential complications for local businesses and zoning requirements, sparking ongoing debate among council members.

In financial affairs, Councilmember Dell revealed that the Borough had been awarded a Platinum Safety Award from Professional Insurance Associates, amounting to $17,500. The award marks a significant achievement for the Borough and could potentially be used for local community developments.

Moreover, the council introduced and unanimously agreed upon several ordinances aimed at capital investment and improvement. These included Ordinance #23-14, involving the acquisition of fire safety equipment, and Ordinance #23-15, which aims to make improvements to the Community Center and Brookside Park. Other ordinances focused on installing a walkway cover for the Police Department entrance, the installation of a Salt Shed, amendments to employee parking and sewer use, and improvements at Westvale Park. The smooth passage of these ordinances indicates a cohesive vision for improving local infrastructure and services among the Council members.

Councilmember Collins highlighted the acquisition of two new patrol vehicles and the annual ammunition order as part of the Police and OEM report. The Westwood Ambulance Corps is operating at 66% capacity, but a shared service from HUMC at PVH is still delayed. On the brighter side, the Fire Department received praises from Councilmember Greco for its ongoing training and leadership.

In a bid to boost local recreation, Councilmember Bicocchi mentioned the installation of a new playground at Voorhis Park and the collaboration between Recreation and UPC Gym for discounted memberships. These developments could bring a fresh wave of enthusiasm and participation in local community activities.

Furthermore, the Council approved a Stormwater System Grant for $25,000, as reported by Borough Administrator Ayer, which could provide a substantial boost to local infrastructure. Other announcements included the installation of geese lights at Westvale Park and Berkeley and upcoming improvements by PSE&G.

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