top of page
  • Writer's pictureChristine McGrath

February 26th Meeting Summary

On Monday February 26th we had a meeting. A large portion of our meeting was the second half of our budget workshop, which you can read about here: https://www.christinemcgrathverona.com/post/budget-workshops-2024.


We actually introduced several important ordinances. On all ordinances, you can provide feedback to the Council by emailing all of us here: https://www.veronanj.org/councilcontactform. We will be having a public hearing and vote on all ordinances at our next meeting on Monday March 11th.


The first ordinances raises parking rates from 25 cents per 40 minutes to 25 cents per 20 minutes, and adds parking fees on Saturdays. The money raised from these increased fees will be reinvested into improving our parking lots and parking infrastructure. While this is an increase, our new fees and hours collected will be in line with other municipalities. Overnight parking permits are also increasing across the board, with the annual permit rising to $375 (from $250).


The second ordinance increases water and sewer rates for the next five years, and adds in a PFAS surcharge starting in 2025. We are adopting all of the recommendations that were in our recent water and sewer rate study. The water rate for 2024 will be $8.88 per Kgal, with a $26.64 minimum. This is a 28.3% increase. After this year, the rate will go up 4%. The PFAS surcharge added in 2024 will be a flat $18 for the majority of Verona households, but will be larger depending on the size of the water pipe to the residence or commercial property. The quarterly sewer rate increase will increase 6% in 2024 to $159. After that it increases at around 4% per year.


We had several ordinances on pool fees. The first ordinance defined the classes of memberships. I advocated that we should not be charging children guests under the age of 2 from entering the pool. The current policy is that children under age 1 are free. This generated a bit of a debate and we settled on 18 months. This year we are also defining a "caregiver" so that both adults and children who need assistance can have someone join them at the pool for a set fee per year.


The second pool ordinance set the pool fees. The family rate is proposed to be $605 next year (from $520), and adding a caregiver will be $150. For the second year in a row, the Council Majority made allowances to lower the senior rate, against the Administration's recommendation. At the meeting Deputy Mayor McEvoy proposed lowering the senior rate increase from $202 to $195 so that it can stay under the $200 mark, as to preserve the senior membership at the pool. The senior rate was $175 last year. I made the point, emphatically, that crossing the $600 mark for family memberships was just as significant, and questioned why we are not making adjustments for families. I voted against lowering this rate just for seniors (as did Councilwoman Holland), and we both voted against the introduction of this ordinance. I encourage you to watch this point of the meeting, which is around 2 hrs and 30 minutes into the meeting.


Finally, we introduced with a vote 3-1 a third ordinance defining the pool memberships for the volunteer fire/rescue squad members and exempting them from paying the fees. Since Mayor Tamburro is a member of the Rescue Squad he abstained from the vote.


With a vote 4-1 we introduced salary increases for our department heads for 2024. There is an increase of 2% to the salary range for each position, with the exception of the confidential secretary to the Township Manager, who follows a different increase schedule.


With a full vote, we introduced an ordinance revising the chair of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee from the Director of Community Services to a member of the public who serves on the Committee, to serve a one year term.


We passed several resolutions, including authorizing our financing with the NJ-IBank for our PFAS remediation project, authorizing grants to Sustainable Jersey, for a Complete Streets project, and Community Affairs for the Everett field project. We authorized contracts for Pace Analytical Services and Analytical Lab Services. Finally we appointed Alex Graziano as the Rent Board Attorney and allowed for the expansion of Watchung Saints' liquor license (dba Parkside Social).


A draft of a shared service agreement with the Board of Education was sent by our Administration to their attorney for a review. The Council has not been provided a draft of the agreement yet for our review and public discussion.


That is a summary of the highlights of our meeting. Please send all feedback to the Council at https://www.veronanj.org/councilcontactform.









128 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page