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NEWS REPORT: USR Mayor and Council Meeting February 1, 2024

Special Police Officer Hired for School Security
Philip Tangel, who served for 39 years as a police officer with the Mahwah Police Department, and prior to that served for three years as a military police officer with the US Army, has been hired by the borough to provide full-time school security for the Upper Saddle River School District. Class III Special Security Officer Philip Tangel was sworn in by Mayor Fardanesh at the outset of the meeting (see photo). As a result, we have two (2) armed police officers providing security in our elementary schools. 

Police Department 2023 Statistics Reported  by Chief Rotella

Annual statistics for the 2023 calendar year were reported by Chief Rotella:

Incoming calls: 26,000

Calls and complaints: 23,000

Officers dispatched: 4,500

Medical Assistance: 366

Burglary and attempted burglary: 17 and 3

Stolen motor vehicles: 2  (both cars had keys left in them)

Stolen proceeds: $1.2 million

Motor vehicle accidents: 163

Arrests: 46 adult / 3 juvenile

Frauds: 66

Chief Rotella added that there had been more DWI’s arrests in the borough in the past week. He added that the preponderance of automobile deaths are caused by distracted driving, impaired driving, and speeding. 

Public Comments on the Saddle River Overflowing its Banks, Flooding and Eroding Backyards

Susan Fecht, a resident who has lived in USR since childhood and whose property backs onto the Saddle River, reported that the Saddle River has grown wider and wider which has caused it to erode its banks resulting in floods of property owners backyards. During any rainstorm, her property has become a “dumping ground” for planks, logs, branches, a rabbit hutch, basket balls, and plastic trash. She said that trees along the river have fallen into the river which has added to the waste buildup. She stated, “in the late 1970’s the river was dredged by Bergen County but since that time nothing has been done to maintain the river.” She asked the mayor and council what plans were in the works to better maintain our river so that residents don’t continue to lose their valuable acreage. She further stated that dredging was necessary in order to preserve homeowners’ properties. Mayor Fardanesh said that Saddle River had recently been approved for a grant to dredge its section of the Saddle River but it was inadvisable for our borough to dredge the river soon after Saddle River had dredged its section stating, “we can’t go next because it will affect them.” It’s unfortunate that the Borough of Saddle River didn’t coordinate its dredging project with the borough officials of Upper Saddle River so that the work could be done in a useful and logical progression with our borough dredging its section first. 

Residents Request Assistance in Resolving Pool Renovation Problems with Borough Building Department

Maria-Elena and Vincent DeGregorio asked the mayor and council for their guidance and assistance in resolving their permits for their backyard pool renovation project which has been delayed and stopped for many years, they said, by the borough building department. They said that they had been required to acquire New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) approval stating that there were no wetlands on their property, which they had secured but they still do not have approval to complete the project from the borough.  The mayor and council members directed the DeGregorios to appeal their case to the USR Planning Board. 

Resident Inquires As To Status of Environmental Protection Attorney Hire

Lauren Morin inquired as to the status of the borough’s hiring of an Environmental Protection Attorney to assist the borough with the water issues resulting from problems caused in Rockland County, NY. Mayor Fardanesh responded that a decision hasn’t yet been made on the attorney hiring. He said that he and the council are paying a lot of attention to the sewage overflows coming from Rockland County into the Saddle River. He stated that our borough officials are coming up with a resolution to declare a State of Emergency regarding this issue. He further asked that borough residents bring complaints on the water issues to the NJDEP. 

Introduction of Ordinance #01 – 24 for Purchase of New Fire Truck

This ordinance, which will be presented for approval at the March USR Mayor and Council meeting, calls for a bond issue in the amount of $2,012,500 for the purchase of a new fire truck.

Bills Paid
Bills were paid in the amount of $3,790,945.28 of which 87% was for the schools.