Emotions Run High As Council Continues Debate on Lighting Project
The Walter T. Bergen lighting project item was tabled until the May 10 meeting.
While the Bloomingdale Council was expected to take action on the Walter T. Bergen School field lighting project Tuesday, the item was tabled until the May 10 meeting so that the borough engineer could work on cost figures for solving apparent drainage issues. But before the item was tabled, Bloomingdale Recreation Commissioner Ray Yazdi asked each councilmember how they planned on voting (see video above).
The project has been discussed for several months by the council and on Monday, the Recreation and Open Space Establishment (ROSE) Advisory Board voted to make a recommendation to the council that the project be approved.
The project is expected to cost about $394,000, which is proposed to come out of the ROSE Fund. If the project is completed by the end of June, the borough is eligible for a Green Acres loan with a 2 percent interest rate over 20 years. Payments of about $23,000 per year would come from the ROSE Fund, which currently has about $260,015 in it.
ROSE Fund money is collected as a separate tax on taxpayers' bills. Voters approved the fund by referendum.
Mayor Jon Dunleavy said there is pressure to approve the project by the June deadline or else the borough will lose the loan option.
"If we do not do the lights, Green Acres will not allow us to use the $400,000," he said. "The field will never, in our lifetime, be lit if we say no today."
Dunleavy said Tuesday that the engineer would be able to provide cost estimates by the next meeting, but resident Brian Spellman also volunteered his assistance, as well as the assistance of several other people, in helping with the drainage issues at the field to cut some of the costs of the project.