Hopatcong Council Meeting: Looking forward to Roaring 20’s Decade for the Borough

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The following are the highlights and the full recording of the Borough of Hopatcong Council Meeting that was held on January 6, 2021, by Zoom Technology.

The highly positive meeting as the first of the year spent considerable time reviewing the 2020 challenges and successes for the borough, with multiple areas of recognition given to the residents, volunteers, and different committees that made a difference in 2020. Additionally, both the Department of Public Works and Community Center provided year-end updates and accomplishments.

Mayor’s Comments:

Mayor Michael Francis captured the broadest details in his closing remarks as he started with this decade being the “roaring twenties.” He continued with statements from the Police Captain Meghan McClusky, that highlighted the challenges, and successes like:

  • Anthony Cirri cleared the airway of a choking infant.
  • Giordano responded to a broken down vehicle and instead of just calling for a tow truck, he fixed the issue, and the vehicle was able to be driven away.

The Mayor praised volunteer emergency responders who put themselves in harm’s way regularly. Their endless hours of training and drills enhance the value that they bring to our town. They deserve our utmost appreciation, gratitude, and respect.

Major Accomplishments for 2020:

  • Solar Field that now provides $23,500 every year in revenue and cost avoidance
  • Senior Center adjustment to COVID-19 under the Direction of the Recreation Coordinator Cathy Millian
  • Aeration Project in Crescent Cove funded by Grants to combat HABs.
  • Hopatcong Market has grown in the past 5 years from 5 vendors to over 90 vendors and contributes significantly to our Community Center.
  • Community Wellness and Resource Center (see below)
  • Newly renovated Animal Shelter
  • Streetscape beautification project in the River Styx area
  • Sewer extension project on Hudson Ave
  • Newly paved roads throughout the Borough (see below)
  • Work performed Volunteer Beautification Committee
  • The Hometown Hero Banner Program

“As we enter 2021, let us make this the decade of difference. Let this be the decade we move the needle forward, not backward.”

“As we settle into 2021, let us not be satisfied with the status quo.  Let us look boldly towards the next decade and make Hopatcong a town where businesses can thrive, and where a responsive town government takes care of our citizens’ needs efficiently.”


2020 Department Updates provided by:

Community Center:

Councilmember Dawn Roberts outlined the challenges and accomplishments of the Community Center:

    • Challenges came from Unemployment, Immune Deficiencies, and other factors of COVID.
    • Successes came from the generous public in the form of donations that were collected, sanitized, and distributed by contactless delivery to 50+ families.
    • Handled several Drug Addiction and Suicide cases, all of which are now stable.
    • Provided both Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners to families.
    • The Giving Tree brought in 110 gifts that were given out to kids.

Dawn thanked the generosity of the town that donated whenever it was known that a need existed.


Department of Public Works:

Newly appointed Pat Mason as the DPW Superintendent covered what the DPW was able to achieve despite COVID.

    • The Challenges came from storms, trees down, social distancing the recycling center closure.
    • Rejuvenated 13 dry wells, cleaned 550 catch basins.
    • 71 Miles of Streets Swept
    • Worked with Princeton Hydro on cleaning silt chambers in Crescent Cove.
    • Removed Underground Oil Tank at Firehouse #3
    • Installed 2 – 5 year playground equipment at Modick Park.
    • Installed 578 Tons of Blacktop for potholes and 5.000 Tons for repaving.
    • Hudson Ave. Sewer Project that is currently underway.

Council Member Comments:

Each Council member was offered the opportunity to discuss any area of challenge or success for 2020. The comments centered around the pride that they had in the town, the residents, departments, and volunteers.


Council Meeting Highlights: Watch Full Video

The following should be considered the more important community developments for residents:

  • Pat Mason has been appointed as the DPW Superintendent.
  • Both John Young and Richard Schindelar were sworn-in as returning council members.
  • The Council elected Ryan Smith as the new Council President.
  • Committee appointments will remain the same, with possible changes as needed.
  • The Mayor declared that 2020 was an important first year in the decade that will be known as the “Roaring 20’s” for the Borough of Hopatcong.

Resolutions:

All of the following Resolutions Passed:

  • 2021-14, Authorization for a Petty Cash fund [Passed]
  • 2021-15, Approval of the Current Temporary Budget [Passed]
  • 2021-16, Approval of the Sewer Temporary Budget [Passed]
  • 2021-17, Approval of the Water Temporary Budget [Passed]
  • 2021-18, Authorization of Professional Service Contracts [Passed]
    • Based upon comments from Councilmember Jennifer Johnson and Borough Attorney John Ursin, the approval of the Land Use Board Attorney was removed, as the Land Use Board will need to handle their own approval at their next meeting.
  • 2021-19, Broker of Record for Health Services [Passed]
  • 2021-20 Authorization for the Risk Management contract [Passed]
  • 2021-21, Authorization of a contract with Sussex County for management of the Nutrition center [Passed]
  • 2021-22, Approval of the 2021 Cash Management Plan [Passed]
  • 2021-23, Hiring of Kennedy and Madonna as Special Council [Passed]
  • 2021-24, Appointment of Pat Mason as DPW Superintendent [Passed]
  • 2021-25, Authorization of General Obligation Bonds for the Hudson Sewer project [Passed]

Public Comment:

  • Resident that has appeared several times before the Council to ask the status for reconsidering the Borough’s responsibility with the flooding that occurs on her property as the rainwater runs out of a nearby catch basin.

    A: The Borough Attorney will talk to the Administrator and Engineer to help obtain a final answer for the Resident

  • Resident asked if the Parking Lot is included in the Auction of the Hudson Maxim School

    A: The Borough Attorney indicated that the Borough and the School District have an agreement regarding the parking lot, and that the District would disclose that agreement to any potential bidders.

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