Hopatcong Council - Community Support Continues – Modick Park Opens - Birthdays by Fire Truck -&- More

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The Borough of Hopatcong Council Meeting held its regular meeting on April 15, 2020, utilizing Video Conferencing for the second time, which is starting to enhance the meetings, as different commissions and committee members were able to provide insight and clarification during the open mic portions of the meeting.

2020 BCM 04 15 2020 Movie CoverWhile these highlights are for your convenience, we urge residents to watch the full 45-minute video to understand the full details of the meeting.

Meeting Highlights:

  • Community Assistance Continues – No one in Hopatcong goes Hungry - States Mayor Michael Francis
  • Modick Park Limited Reopening – Given by Council – Keep Required Social Distances
  • Authorization for limited Birthdays by Fire Truck –Given by Council

Council Updates:

  • The Hopatcong Community Center continues to fill the gap, with 50 families assisted since early March
    • Many people not able to leave home, others still awaiting unemployment checks
    • Contact Information: 973-810-3238 or email resourcecenter@hopatcong.org
  • The Lake Hopatcong Foundation has moved the Block Party to October 10th
  • The contact for Borough White Collar workers is underway
  • Councilmembers expressed a big THANK YOU to all First Responders
  • Debt decreased debt by 7% ($337k) over the last two years, Bonds decreased by 76% over last eight-years (only $1.3M remaining)
  • Sussex County Chamber of Commerce meeting will happen April 21st by Webinar
  • The Sussex County Recycling Center is still open (https://www.scmua.org)
  • Hopatcong Recreation, MUA, Environmental are still on hold
    • The Recreation Department will still hold Easter Egg Hunt whenever restrictions are lifted
    • County Food program for Seniors that depend on the meals are still being delivered
    • Cathy Millian Recreation Director is contributing to the community by delivering food and prescriptions to people in need
  • Scouts in Hopatcong are meeting virtually, and planning several major things in town, while following the proper guidelines
  • Governor is expected to make a statement Friday on the new school closure date
  • Council members ask that Residents please continue to support local businesses

Administrator’s Report:

  • River Styx Streetscape program is continuing, follow-up meeting requested by DOT for April 20, 2020, by webinar to ensure everything is finalized for when they can proceed with the sidewalk/light project

Public Comment:

Q: Heather Marie Fiore asked if the Hopatcong Recycling will be open soon (closed due to non-resident usage/abuse)

A: Borough Continues to look into the reopening issue (Checking Residency vs. No Contact), Councilmember Ryan Smith also added the Sussex County is open

Q: Gerard B. Guenfelder raised the following for the Council consideration:

  • Can the current bonds be reduced?
  • What are the Borough fallback plans on the decrease of Tax-Revenue?
  • Any news on the sale of Hudson Maxim School?
  • Should the Borough consider Fuel Oil Futures since we are at an all-time low?

Gerry Movie CoverA: Due to the importance of these topics, we have provided the following clip, which further details both questions and answers from the Borough. (highlighted only as follows): https://youtu.be/my9pASiocaw

    • Borough continues to look at Bond Reductions, will check with CFO, but sometimes regulations stipulate on what can be done
    • Borough is continuing to monitor the situation through Tax Collector
    • Borough has not received a recent update regarding the sale of Hudson Maxim School
    • Borough Administrator aware of benefits, currently buying off Coop of Futures

Ordinances:

Final Hearing: Ordinance 08-2020, Open Space Funds for Recreation Improvements [Tabled]

AN ORDINANCE TO APPROPRIATE $40,000 FROM MUNICIPAL OPEN SPACE RECREATION TRUST FOR THE PURPOSE OF RECREATIONAL IMPROVEMENTS

  • Councilmember John Young moved to table as the Open Space Committee has not met on this topic yet
    • Public Hearing:
      • Lisa – Open Space Committee has not met yet, needs time to discuss
      • Heather – What is the money for?
        A: For the kid’s playground equipment that is in bad shape in Modick Park
      • Jule – While this could be passed today, the Open Space Committee needs to meet on the subject

Resolutions:

  • 2020-70, Broadway and Monroe Trl. DOT grant Denville Line painting award [Passed]
  • 2020-71, Broadway and Monroe Trl. DOT grant Tilcon paving award [Passed]
  • 2020-72, Restriction on Short Term Rentals (for BnB) [Passed]
  • 2020-73, Award of Dump body, plow and sander purchase to Sanchez [Passed]
  • 2020-74, Emergency temporary appropriations for the Sewer Utility Budget [Passed]
  • 2020-75, Emergency temporary appropriations for the Water Utility Budget [Passed]
  • 2020-76, Emergency temporary appropriations for the Current Fund Budget [Passed]

New Business:

  • Modick Park – Residents allowed to walk along paths, as long as they follow state guidelines [Passed]
    • The Council unanimously agreed as long as residents follow mask/social distance guidelines

  • Fire Truck’s and Kids Birthdays [Passed]
    • Mayor checked with NJ Governor’s office on order 104 and found it’s not an inhibitor, and they asked that the Borough of Hopatcong just keep it under control
    • Councilmembers cited multiple areas of personal experience on the positive effects of these efforts
    • Mayor requested that the Fire Departments limit it to a maximum of three trucks, understands officials will use their best judgment

Mayor’s Comments:

Mayor thanks the multiple volunteers in our town and wants to ensure that no-one goes hungry in our town. Thanked the Community Center (Dawn) and Hopatcong Helps (Alex) for their help, and multiple other groups.

“We have a lot of heroes in our town… and that’s what we are about. Thank You…
Keep up the faith in what we can do together.”

If anyone needs help, please contact us!

Late fees and interest rates have been suspended for this quarter, but we cannot forgive the payment. The Mayor is seeking State assistance for anyone who can not pay… But no Promises…

The Mayor’s Lake Hopatcong improvement project for Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB) for Crescent Cove continues to move forward. The bid has been awarded to Ever Blue Lakes and he’s awaiting the final approvals from the DEP. “Crescent Cove is just that important and we don’t want it lost in the shuffle of the entire lake.”

The Mayor showed the following diagram that shows the placement of the Nano-Bubblers in Crescent Cove.

No one will go hungry in our town… If anyone needs help, please contact us!

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