Ridgewood News

By Paul Aronsohn

Welcome to the April edition of the Mayor’s Corner – my monthly Ridgewood News column that aims to make village government more accessible, more transparent, more user-friendly.

Council Agenda: The council will meet four more times this month – April 7 (budget), 9, 10 (budget) and 23. On the agenda will be our gift policy, downtown parking, the redevelopment zone, an abandoned structure draft ordinance 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 –ridgewoodnj.net.

New Village Manager: Our new village manager, Roberta Sonenfeld, started in her position this past Monday.

True to form, Roberta hit the ground running. Back-to-back meetings. Emails with residents. Discussions of time-sensitive issues. And much of that oc-curred even before she officially stepped foot into Village Hall!

If you need to reach Roberta, her email address is rsonenfeld@ridgewoodnj.net and her phone number is 201-670-5500, ext. 202. She is accessible and really looking forward to taking Village Hall’s “customer service” to the next level.

Parking Meter Crime: Among the top issues that Roberta is currently addressing involves the theft of over $460,000 by a former village employee. It is a seemingly inconceivable situation – one that has raised several serious questions about financial controls, building security and management practices.

The council and village manager are determined to get to the bottom of it all. At Roberta’s suggestion, we will bring in someone to conduct an independent forensic review of our finances and undertake a comprehensive review of all relevant village processes and procedures. And although the crime reportedly occurred in the 2011-12 timeframe, my sense is that our review will cover a larger period – extending back several years and including up to the present.

Stay tuned for regular updates.

“Winter Storm Warning in Effect”: Fortunately, we will not have to read or hear that phrase for quite some time.

This was a rough winter. Record snow falls. Record cold temperatures. Record headaches for everyone.

I would like to thank all our residents for your patience and cooperation. Many of you stepped up to help neighbors and to make sanitation clean-up easier for our hard working crew. Many of you helped in other ways, such as by alerting us to potentially dangerous situations.

I would also like to thank our employees – from across village government – who worked tirelessly to keep village streets clean and safe. Again, this is not an exact science, and we don’t always get it right. But our folks worked long and hard, and they deserve our gratitude.

Council Elections: May 13 is Election Day here in Ridgewood, and we have three candidates running for two slots: Jim Albano, Susan Knudsen and Mike Sedon. The good news is that they are all good candidates, who clearly care a great deal about our community. The bad news is that we can only vote for two of them.

Please use the next few weeks to get to know the candidates. Meet them. Ask questions. Share your thoughts. And if so inclined, play an active role in one or more of the campaigns.

This is your village. This is your election. This is your opportunity.

Mark Your Calendars

Autism Awareness: April 2 was “World Autism Awareness Day” and April is “National Autism Awareness Month” in the United States. This is important. With a 1-in-45 autism rate among New Jersey children, this is a subject that demands awareness and understanding.

Baseball/Softball Parade: Saturday, April 26 is a BIG day in Ridgewood. It begins (9 a.m.-noon) with the annual Ridgewood Baseball & Softball Association parade and Family Fun Day at Veteran’s Memorial Field.

Earth Day: Then (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) our annual Earth Day fair will be held in Memorial Park at Van Neste.

LAX Day: And finally (throughout most of the day) the Ridgewood Lacrosse Association will hold its annual celebration of youth lacrosse conducted in a festival setting and marked by games, activities and apparel sales.

Holocaust Remembrance: On Sunday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m., Temple Israel will host this very meaningful annual interfaith service. All are welcome. All are encouraged to attend.

Office Hours: I will be holding my monthly office hours tomorrow — Saturday, April 5 from 9 a.m. to noon 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.