The Council met for almost 8 hours into the night last night. Rivaling two extended edition Lord of the Rings movies combined in length, if you’re so inclined to watch the replay, here it is. (Below is a quicker summary). In terms of the school budget, I need more time to process ideas and articulate a plan, including some calls to action. For my initial thoughts, see my Facebook feed or Instagram story.
What We Got Done
- We passed the municipal budget, resulting in a 1.95% increase on the 26% portion of your property tax bill that we control. The anticipated impact is a $100.04 increase on the average home (assessed at $633,600).
- We also allocated both the Library (year-over-year statutorily driven increase of $410K) and Business Improvement District budget dollars.
- We introduced a capital bond Ordinance which includes:
- $750K for continued stormwater infrastructure improvements
- $1.55M to rehabilitate our police station
- $590K for a new street sweeper and garbage truck
- $1.5M for a new updated emergency communications equipment for police and fire
- $3.5M for roadway improvements
- We formally established a Vision Zero Task Force, including allocating up to $15,000 in funding this year, which will be comprised of experts, advocates, government officials and citizens and be empowered to create our 5-year plan to eliminate crashes and looking to take early steps to make a quick difference.
- We approved a contract to help the Township make permanent our water hookup to the Passaic Valley Water System as an alternative to the North Jersey District system. In Nutley last year, the infrastructure connecting us to the later, failed – causing a water crisis. This fix ensures we can switch over to another system if that ever happens again. Big Deal.
- We issued our two final cannabis licenses to local residents and entities who will open retail shops at the former DLV Lounge and an empty structure across from Tierney’s on Valley Rd.
- We extended our interim municipal attorney Paul Burr for the balance of the year.
- We formalized the hiring of a social worker in the Dept. of Senior Services
- The new budget includes funding for 5 full time and 5 part time code enforcement employees extending enforcement reach both in terms of both area and times covered, including weekends
- We approved a contract to rehabilitate 5 municipal parking lots: Fairfield Lot (the awful one behind Watchung Plaza), Plymouth St. lot, Walnut St. west side lot, Bellevue Lot and the Bellevue-Lorraine lot.
- We introduced an updated Demolition Ordinance, collaborating with the Historic Preservation Commission, which cleans up the 2019 Ordinance, clarifying a few things and significantly increasing penalties for illegal demolition of historic structures.
- We introduced an Ordinance to regulate the deployment of 5G equipment by telecommunications firms in Montclair, before we lose our power to do so.
- We did not vote on the proposed Leaf Blower Ordinance. This is tabled for now. Gas leaf blowers are also not allowed to be used in Montclair for at least the next 5 months.
- We set the table to be able to issue liquor licenses to the Claridge Theater and Vanguard Theater if their application processes are successful.
- We increased hours for our Township Arborist to two days a week
- Additional dollars were allocated for continued soil contamination cleanup on Burnside St. — a pre-curser to any stormwater flooding mitigation work in the area.
- It was Proclamation Derby Last Night. We proclaimed:
- May as AAPI Month, Lupus Awareness Month and Jewish Heritage Month
- June as LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, and June 21st as Make Music Day
- National Gun Violence Awareness Day and a Celebration of the Life of Shirley Cobert
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