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West Orange Town Council Meeting Touches on Important Topics

Cynthia Cumming

Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 1:06pm

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Tuesday night's Town Council Meeting began at 7:00 pm with an update regarding Prism Green Urban Renewal Associates.  According to Jack Sayers, Township Administrator, the Township Attorneys were contacted by Prism's attorneys to collect necessary information to process the Escrow and Property Tax payments, which are currently delinquent.  Payment is expected Wednesday, December 5. Prism Attorneys also told Mr. Sayers that the requested Financial Statements are in the process of being compiled.

Public comment began, with comments ranging from concern over excessive leaves on township streets, criticisms of the Planning Board and their approval of the Prism Redevelopment, 'stonewalling' of a vendor that had applied for a Towing Services Contract in West Orange, criticisms of the Mayor, town officials,  town council members (except Mr. Krakoviak), and accusations of excessive township spending.

In response to public comment, each town council member shared their thoughts on public comment and attempted to explain several of the issues raised.  Mr. Krakoviak gave the lengthiest response, echoing support for several of the comments and reiterating his concern, along with Council President Cirilo, that the Planning Board may have approved Prism's plan without documentation of their tardy tax payment.

The council then exited for a closed session meeting pertaining to agenda items, and returned as the ABC Council (for approval of food and liquor licenses, etc.).  After approving both requests before them, the council then resumed the regular meeting.  

Several resolutions were discussed, including two that ultimately will cost the township millions of dollars in settlement and rebate payments due to property tax appeals, though attorneys had negotiated reductions.

Lastly, two first reading Bond Ordinances were presented for vote, 2366-12,  "BOND ORDINANCE REAPPROPRIATING $1,606,799.25, PROCEEDS OF OBLIGATIONS NOT NEEDED FOR THEIR ORIGINAL PURPOSES FOR THE ACQUISITION OF VARIOUS IMPROVEMENTS BY THE TOWNSHIP OF WEST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY, 

and 2367-12, 'BOND ORDINANCE AMENDING VARIOUS BOND ORDINANCES TO AMEND THE DESCRIPTION TO PROVIDE FOR VARIOUS CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS FOR AND BY THE TOWNSHIP OF WEST ORANGE, IN THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW JERSEY:               

Go to the town council agenda to see them at : http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CDAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwestorange.org%2FFiles%2FAgendaCenter%2FAgendas%2F25%2F12042012.html&ei=HdvAUOH5O_Ky0AGIxoD4Ag&usg=AFQjCNFvbf2V5wXc_aYKLE1rWsJ4qIN5Cw.

were discussed among council members.

Money that was left over from other bonds would be reallocated to finance approximately $1.7 million in various township capital expenses.  Perhaps the most discussed compenent of the expenditures were for repair of the Lincoln Field Turf surface (WOHS Soccer Field), and a Concession Stand at the high school, that the township will cover.  CFO John Gross explained that the Concession Stand had been promised but not yet built.  Jerry Guarino and Sue McCartney underscored that the township uses the soccer field more than the high school, and in its current state, insurance companies would not insure it.  That cost is expected to run about $400,000.00 for turf renovation and $350,000.00 for the Concession Stand.  The council voted to approve the ordinances on first meeting, and additional information will be provided for the second reading, including the need for a Shared Services agreement with the Board of Education.  Mr. Krakoviak felt that the Board of Education should contribute to the repayment of the monies.

The next meeting is scheduled for December 18.  The meeting adjourned at 10:24 pm.

 

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