Banana Tree News asked the residents to share questions they wanted to ask the candidates. Here are the questions and answers from the democratic party. Please note – most represent the whole group. If it is only from one candidate – it is noted at the end of the answer.
What are your feelings on the lack of diversity on the current council?
We agree that diversity is important, and our Mayor and Council represent diversity in thought, experience, and in action. Three meaningful qualities to successfully run a Borough like Glen Rock
What is your position regarding local elected officials taking party-line county jobs paying high compensation and building pension credits that significantly increase pension payouts when they leave?
We believe in transparency. It’s important for residents to know that none of the sitting council members or mayor “took party line county jobs paying high compensation and building pension credits.” The salary of the Borough of Glen Rock elected official is well beneath the threshold to earn a pension. In simple terms, no pensionable time is accrued while serving on the Borough Council.
For the time and effort, the mayor and council put into their positions, the Borough is receiving a phenomenal rate of return. In 2023, the Mayor and her relationships brought 1 million dollars of State Aid to our Borough operating budget ($750,000 from Governor Murphy and $250,000 from LD38). Those funds have been earmarked for necessary infrastructure improvements (new roofs for Borough Hall, the GR Fire Department, and the Library) and recreational purposes (a new elevator at the Public Library, completing the lighting at Faber Field, and a renovation to the Hockey Rink at Wilde Park). Note, this is in addition to the average grant monies applied for and received by the Borough (average is $365,000/year).
With these streams of income, we are able to continue to provide services AND make necessary infrastructure upgrades (without a tax increase for the same) to the ultimate end user, our residents. All of us work full time and also are fully committed to serving our borough. We are highly capable and qualified public servants.
What are your plans to get the Ridgewood water quality problem fixed?
Ridgewood Water has laid out their plans and their timeline to be up to standards. Planning well ahead EVERY water provider in the state. Additionally, Ridgewood Water is also updating all lead lines in their service area. As a Borough, we have held countless public forums and informational outreach on the topics of lead lines, PFAS, and PFOAs and we will continue to do so.
We will not promise a rebate or any financial incentive as those could only be absorbed by the entire rate-payer system. I.e. the entire ratepayer system (Borough of Glen Rock, Village of Ridgewood, Borough of Midland Park, and Township of Wyckoff) could be charged an additional fee to cover any costs for ALL 4 TOWNS to be reimbursed. Ridgewood Water is the sole decision maker on such matters.
The Borough has been actively involved with procuring money to help fund the improvements (2.8 million dollars funded via Congressman Gottheimer). This is to, again, save the resident ratepayers the burden of increased costs. The Borough of Glen Rock, Midland Park and Wyckoff have been working together to support Ridgewood Water in receiving financial support via alternate routes (writing letters of support to Congress, Senate and State agencies). Additionally, we support Ridgewood Water in their lawsuits against those companies responsible for the PFAS and PFOAs in the system. Those suits have already been filed and are active on the docket.
The lawsuit previously filed with relation to the rate increases was overturned on appeal – resulting in a zero payout to any of the rate payer towns. There is no money coming from that endeavor.
What area of Downtown would you want to see fixed up? What would you do?
We are already working on this! We look forward to seeing the results of the DMR study which was discussed in January 2023 by the Council and with the recommendation of the Glen Rock Business Commission – to see if it will be possible to have our downtown deemed “an area in need of rehabilitation.” Which should not be confused with “Area in need of redevelopment”. The rehab designation will allow the borough to make changes to the existing code and, when landlords comply, will support them in reaching our goals through a mechanism of tax abatement. In simple terms, the improved value of their properties would not be fully taxable in year one, but rather staggered over a 5-year period. At year 5, the full value of the improvements becomes taxable. This offers support to our business owners and property owners as we partner with them to improve the look and feel of our downtown.
To the democrats: Do you feel having a young all female council, with a few that have not lived in town long, is fairly representing the boroughs residents?
Our ages range from 40s – 60s. And our longevity ranges from 5+ years to 47 years in town. We represent both the long-time residents and the newcomers and are responsive to the needs of residents, no matter how long they’ve lived in town.