Ridgewood News

Welcome to the May edition of the Mayor’s Corner – my monthly Ridgewood News column that aims to make Village government more accessible, more transparent, more responsive.

Council Agenda

 

The Council will meet three times this month – May 7, 14 and 28.  On the agenda will be our municipal budget, gift policy, the redevelopment zone, a new official “Honor and Remember” flag and a host of other important issues.

All of our meetings are open to the public, and residents are encouraged to attend and participate.   Please visit our website for more information – www.ridgewoodnj.net .

Budget Discipline

 

Last month, the Council introduced a 2014 municipal budget with no tax increase – the second consecutive year we were able to accomplish this important objective.

After several years of tax increases as high as 7.7% (2007) and 6.8% (2011), this Council is demonstrating – once again – that it recognizes the need for real budget discipline and the need to do government differently.     Similarly, we recognize the need to maintain and improve Village services – something that we are determined to make happen.

In addition to fixing the budget, we have worked with Village Manager Roberta Sonenfeld and our Financial Advisory Committee to fix the budget process.  More clarity.  More transparency.  More accuracy.  In a sharp break from past practice, we are now using “actual” numbers, rather than “budgeted” ones, and presenting them in a way that makes sense and is readily available to the public.

All in all, I am proud of our budget.  It strikes the right balance between providing Ridgewood residents with much deserved tax relief and much needed services.

Election

 

In about ten days, Ridgewood residents will head to the polls to vote for two new Council Members.

This is an important opportunity.  The next Council will have to work through a host of significant issues — from the municipal budget to pedestrian safety to downtown development – and we residents have the chance to decide who will sit on the dais and act on those issues.

The three candidates – Jim Albano, Susan Knudsen and Mike Sedon – are all good people, who have demonstrated their commitment to our Village.   They seem to generally agree on the issues, but each would bring to the job a unique set of qualifications and experiences.

I urge you to take this election seriously.  Learn the candidates.  Talk to your friends.  And please make sure to cast your vote on Tuesday, May 13.

Valley Hospital

 

The Planning Board is preparing for a mid-June vote on Valley Hospital’s latest proposal.  After more than a year, the hearing is finally winding down.

This is clearly a big issue – one that could have far reaching implications for our community.    Valley Hospital has long played an important role in the life of our community, but its proposal raises many questions … ranging from quality of care for patients to quality of life for residents.

This decision – like any decision before the Council or Planning Board – will come down to one basic, albeit critical question:  What is in the best interest of Ridgewood.

If you are interested in learning more about this issue, I would recommend reading the report drafted by Village Planner Blais Brancheau (March 31, 2014), which can be obtained from the Planning Board section of the Village website – www.ridgewoodnj.net .

Holocaust Service

Special thanks to Ridgewood’s Clergy for another outstanding Interfaith Holocaust Service.   It was at once emotional, beautiful, thought-provoking and life-affirming.   Thanks to Rabbi David Fine for hosting the event.  Thanks to the other faith leaders and featured guests, who shared personal stories and reflections.  Thanks to the interfaith choir and musicians for setting the mood through their extraordinary talent.  And thanks to the many residents who attended the service and whose presence made the special occasion even more special and meaningful.

Meet the Manager

Roberta plans to start holding regular “Meet the Manager” meetings … similar to my monthly office hours.   Committed to making Village government more accessible and more responsive, Roberta will begin holding these monthly meetings on Saturday, May 31.  For more information, please contact Beth Spinato at bspinato@ridgewoodnj.net.

Office Hours

I will be holding my monthly office hours tomorrow — Saturday, May 3 from 9am to 12pm in the Village Hall Council Chamber (4th floor).  All Ridgewood residents are welcome.

Please contact the Village Clerk’s office (201.670.5500 ext. 201) to make an appointment … or just take a chance and stop on by.  If you’ve got an idea, question or concern, I want to know about it…..

Mayor Paul Aronsohn can be reached via email (paronsohn@ridgewoodnj.net )  … through his Twitter account (@paularonsohn ) … or through the Village Clerk’s office.