Ogdensburg Moves Ahead on Improvements
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 • 10:20am
OGDENSBURG, NJ - A resolution was passed at tonight’s Borough Council meeting to move forward on creating a survey map for the Main Street “Streetscapes Project.” They have received approval of a $200K grant from New Jersey to put in curbing and sidewalks.
Gene Buczynski, from Van Cleef Engineering Associates attended the meeting to encourage the council to take action, since applications for next year’s grants are due in October. Estimates from his firm show it will cost approximately $400K, not including lighting, which could be an extra $100K.
Once the base map is complete, the job can be broken into phases, however, without beginning the project, future grants will most likely be denied. The board moved to begin putting together information to adopt a bond ordinance to create the map.
Buczynski also reported on a NJ Department of Environmental Protection administrative penalty for the amount of $5,000 (if paid within 60 days, otherwise $10,000) being levied on the Borough for failing to submit a dam inspection report last April.
An in-depth study was requested by NJ-DEP in April 2010, called a Hydrologic and Hydraulic Report and Inundation Map. This study, which will cost $56,000 to complete, will show what could happen if the dam broke, including where the water would go, and whether there would be potential loss of life downstream, to which Buczynski said, “There could be.”
This situation classifies our dam as a Class 1 High Hazard dam. Replacing the dam altogether, including a new concrete spillway would cost up to $2,000,000.
His report will include how to make permanent upgrades to the existing dam and spillway to get the cost down to $400K. He reports that this alternative “will not be a band aid.”
Mayor Steve Ciasullo asked whether the dam could be removed altogether.
Buczynski answered, “Yes, but you will lose Heater’s Pond.”
Borough Attorney Michael Garofalo explained that he is also the attorney for Wantage, and has had seven years of dealing with dam issues at Lake Neepaulin.
According to Garofalo, “They looked into removing their dam, and found it would cost about the same as repairing it.”
If that option is taken, the Borough has to save the fish, and have a plan to reclaim the land. He alerted the council to the “Save the Dam Act,” where New Jersey offers low interest loans to municipalities in order to come into compliance.
He will speak with NJ DEP representatives and send the needed letter in the next three days.
Larry Kovar from Aquatic Analysts, Inc., from Stillwater, attended the meeting to report on the weed control maintenance and restoration at Heater’s Pond. He explained that the goals were to balance the ecology of the pond with the township’s budget. The pond had not been maintained for over three years. Kovar reported that it is “going through a mid-life crisis right now,” and he recommends an “integrated approach,” much of which can be accomplished by our own Borough DPW.
Ogdensburg purchased an aquatic weed cutter last year, which has been very effective. In addition, an aeration device will add oxygen to the water, which also helps to curb growth. His firm has applied 3 treatments of herbicide to the lily pads, which have a thick rhizome system which can extend over 6 feet, with many hairy roots which burrow into the mucky bottom. As these plants die, they loosen their hold, and a thick mass of organic material begins to float to the surface. Kovar recommends taking the bucket off the backhoe, attaching a York rake and raking out and removing the muck. Doing this, he explained, “will restore 30-50 years to our lake.”
Another approach would be to “drop the water levels and shoreline,” once it gets cold. This should be done every few years. The township asked Kovar for an estimate on doing the hydro-raking, but he encouraged the DPW to travel to his shop in Stillwater to see the necessary equipment, and on-site to watch how it is done, in order to complete the work in-house. He encouraged the borough to find a site to put the removed biomass, since it is very rich in nutrients and could be used to fertilize garden beds.
During the public session, Ogdensburg resident Michele Barlak, who is an AKC certified dog “good citizen” trainer and evaluator who works for the Seeing Eye in Morristown, and operates two rescue groups, questioned the Borough’s noise ordinance.
She explained that she was made aware of it when an officer came to her door about a noise complaint filed by a neighbor who said her heard her small dog faintly barking from his property across the street at 11:30am on a Saturday. She was not issued a summons. She claimed the existing ordinance is too open to interpretation, and she could be victimized if a neighbor calls repeatedly, she may receive a summons. Councilman Robert McGuire responded that it was up to the officer himself to determine if noise was unreasonable, if not, no summons would be issued. She provided a copy of what the animal control officer advised was a good example of a better ordinance, currently in place in Wantage, and encouraged the council to revise this ordinance in a way that would be fairer.
Barlak next offered to extend her volunteer services to any Ogdensburg resident whose dog is licensed. Part of her job is to counsel dog owners who are having trouble to avoid their needing a rescue situation. She is certified to give an 8 week training emphasizing obedience and responsibility. The classes could be free, or the town could charge a small fee and keep it.
Pat Sabourin wanted to thank four young people in town for putting together a fund raiser for her granddaughter, Maya Gordon. Their efforts netted over $2,000.
Mayor Ciasullo would like the Borough to sponsor a “Sport Swap” at the old recycling center, where people could drop off gently used sports equipment on a Thursday or Friday, and on Saturday, people could come and help themselves to needed equipment for their children.
The Edison House was demolished on August 6, and removed from Main Street.
Ciasullo is anticipating a rental agreement from Andersen Farms, who will move their stand from the current location, across from the new Stop & Shop in Sparta, to Main Street, Ogdensburg. They will be open eight to nine months a year. This will provide revenue for the town.
Residents are encouraged to get a new electronic water meter in their homes, to alleviate problems with water billing. Borough employees will be meeting with representatives from the software program to resolve the issues.
Dave Varcadipane asked about starting a taxi service in town. Garofalo explained that the Borough will have to adopt an ordinance, requiring any transportation company to provide adequate insurance, indicate the number of cars, and possibly get a land use approval, depending on where the company is headquartered.