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NEWS REPORT: USR Mayor and Council Meeting December 7, 2023

The End-of-Year meeting of the USR Mayor and Council is planned to take place on December 28, 2023, at 8:00 am (if needed) at the USR Borough Hall, 376 W. Saddle River Road, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. To attend the meeting online via Zoom, login and register immediately prior to the 8:00 pm meeting at:   If you log in earlier this link is not operative.  

Councilman Steven DiMartino Resigns after Serving 12 years on the Council
Council representative Steven DiMartino, who served four consecutive terms for a total of 12 years, resigned at this, the last regular mayor and council meeting of the year.  Mr. DiMartino was acknowledged and thanked for his years of service to the community, and specifically for his service on contracts and the finance committee, and for his service to the library board of trustees, among other commitments. Borough Attorney Robert Regan especially expressed his gratitude for Mr. DiMartino’s expertise on financial matters, and said that he will really be missed. Richard Lyons, esq., took the oath of office at this meeting to fill Mr. DiMartino’s unexpired term.

Firefighter Erik Seay is Awarded Distinguished Sevice Medal
Firefighter Eric Seay was awarded the State of New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal for his service as a staff sergeant in the US Air Force during Operation Enduring Freedom, the war in Afghanistan. This is a medal given by the State of New Jersey in recognition of distinguished service for the War on Terrorism. 

Erik Seay and Peter Shapiro are named Exempt Firefighters
Erik Seay and Peter Shapiro were named exempt firefighters having been of good moral character and having achieved fire duty rate of greater than 50% for the past seven years.

Bob Brigham Is Recognized
USRFD Captain Bob Brigham was named Firefighter of the Month by the mayor and council. 

Water Impact Study
Mayor Fardanesh gave an update on the Water Impact Study Committee stating that the committee will meet on Wednesday, December 13, from 6:00 – 7:00 pm. The committee is retaining legal counsel for the ongoing study. During the public comments, Frank Sonnenberg stated that it has been over 60 days since the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection sent a letter to New York State regarding the area water issues. He was told that so far there has been no response from New York State. 

The Grove and the Lake Street Borough owned Athletic Park
The mayor and council have had a detailed discussion regarding the purchase and installation of a fence which will completely surround the Lake St. athletic park.  The mayor and a representative of the council will attend the next HOA meeting at The Grove. 

During the public comments portion of the meeting, several residents of The Grove, the new townhouse development located on Lake St. at East Crescent Ave., attended the mayor and council meeting and addressed issues arising from the borough owned athletic park. 

Monica Baginski inquired about the status of the fence and noise measurements at the field. The mayor responded that the borough is receiving bids under the $44,000 threshold for the continuation of the fence. The mayor and council met with the football committee and came to an agreement that noise at the field will be monitored by the officials and members of the community. 

Jeremy Noy stated that a large patch of Lake St. approaching The Grove has not been completely paved.  Police Chief Patrick Rotella stated that Toll Bros. will be taking care of that unpaved patch of Lake Street. He added that The Grove’s HOA should direct detailed information on snow removal and trash pickup to its residents and notify the borough. 

Brian Gersten thanked the mayor and council for reaching out. He said that he was able to get Toll Bros. to put up a temporary fence, and it has been a tremendous help. He did say that someone had cut a hole in the fence and it is being repaired. He said that he notified Chief Rotella about the fence damage. Mr. Gersten asked when the borough will install its cameras at the field, and when the high lights would be turned down at night, which would not only save the borough money but also allow neighbors to have more relaxing evenings at home. The council representative stated that the high field lights are set to be turned off at 8:30 pm, if they have not been turned down already. The lower walking track lights will be left on. 

Bob Sine said that he lives near the field and the lights are still left on past 8:30 pm. He asked whether the fence would be a chain link fence, and he was told that yes, it would be a black chain link fence, the same as that which is already installed there. 

Donna Bradshaw stated that she also is affected by the lights, the noise, and everything at the field. 

Bills Paid
Bills in the amount or $4,376,132.12 were paid, 75% of which was for the local schools and for the high school. 

Ordinance #15-23 Entitled Administration of Government is Approved 
The Borough authorized the creation of a new position of Special Law Enforcement Officer Class III (“SLEO III”) to assist the USRPD perform its duties and responsibilities subject to the eligibility criteria, authorizations and limitations set forth in the Special Law Enforcement Officers Act. 

Additional Public Comments
Sheryl Romano asked whether a Zoom link to the Planning Board meetings could be available and posted on the borough website.  The mayor said that he will ask the planning board about it.  Ms. Romano also thanked the mayor and council for posting the names of the Shade Tree Commission members on the borough website. She inquired as to whether the Shade Tree meeting agendas would be posted or would she need to file a Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request. She was told that she would need to file an OPRA request.

The meeting adjourned at 8:37 pm.