Fanwood Council Prepares For Public Hearing on 2021-22 Budget

By REBECCA MEHORTER
For The Leader/Times

FANWOOD — The Fanwood Borough Council met Tuesday evening, at which time it adopted five resolutions. Officials also discussed the agenda items for their Monday, July 19 meeting, including four ordinances set for a second reading.

The governing body will hold its first budget hearing at the July 19 meeting. In the meantime, the council approved a resolution to extend the grace period for third-quarter taxes, as the bills have yet to go out. Councilwoman Erin McElroy Barker said the delay in passing the budget also delayed sending out third-quarter tax bills. The due date will not be set until the bills go out.

The council also approved a resolution to pass an emergency temporary appropriation, as it has approved every month this year, so the borough can pay its bills without an approved budget.

A resolution accepting an arbitration award with the Police Benevolent Association also passed, as well as a resolution implementing increases “as per the collective bargaining agreement with the Fanwood Police Department,” the resolution reads.

The last resolution passed at the Tuesday meeting authorizes the borough to enter into an agreement with the historical architect for the exterior design of the new library, not to exceed $9,900.

Ordinance O-2021-13-R, the legislation that will opt the borough out of New Jersey’s new cannabis regulations, will be up for second reading at the July 19 meeting. Multiple people, none from Fanwood, spoke during the public portion of the meeting in favor of allowing cannabis businesses. Council members reminded the public that the ordinance is meant to give local stakeholders a chance to plan what type of businesses residents want and where they should be located.

Another ordinance for final approval allows the municipality to exceed budget appropriation limits and establish a cap bank.

Ordinance O-2021-15-S, also on second reading, would allow Fanwood to use borough-guaranteed lease revenue notes/bonds to receive the assistance of the Union County Improvement Authority to build a new Fanwood Public Works facility.

The last ordinance on second reading would permit the borough to use the aggregate principal amount not to exceed $8 million for the public works project.

On first reading at the meeting later this month will be an ordinance to amend the borough code to allow special law enforcement officers and a related ordinance adjusting this class of officers’ salaries.

Three resolutions will be on the table at the mid-July meeting, including a resolution for a contract increase for Shawn Schaffer and a resolution to cancel old grant balances as a method of cleaning up the borough’s books. The last resolution up for discussion will be to enter into a shared-service agreement with Rahway for construction code services, as a Fanwood employee currently works for both Fanwood and Rahway. Entering a shared-service agreement would help the individual as well as fit into Fanwood’s best practices.

Councilwoman Patricia Walsh gave an update from the Public Safety Committee. She said that the interviews for the police director are finished and that the committee will have three to five candidates to present to the council at the July 19 meeting.

Also at the meeting will be a short presentation featuring the findings of the downtown transit hub survey, including what residents want most from their downtown area and what issues the area currently faces.

The next meeting will take place on July 19 at 7 p.m. Residents can join via Zoom or watch through Facebook Live.

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