Garwood Council Views DPW Presentation

By JULIA BONAVITACOLA
For Union County HAWK

GARWOOD — The Garwood Council met last Thursday, at which time Department of Public Works (DPW) Superintendent Clinton Dicksen gave a presentation on the department’s duties. The council also conducted other business and gave updates on the borough.

The meeting began with Mr. Dicksen’s presentation, which addressed the status of DPW equipment, personnel and processes. According to Mr. Dicksen, the DPW has eight full-time employees and one part-time employee working for the department. This includes three Class A laborers, two Class B laborers and two Class C laborers.

Mr. Dicksen said that the DPW has various equipment for snow cleanup, including seven different trucks and pickup trucks that have plows attached. Two of those seven trucks have salt spreaders for road maintenance under icy conditions. The DPW also has three garbage trucks, one regenerative air vacuum sweeper, one two-ton asphalt hot box for pothole repairs and one vibratory roller for pothole repairs. Four lawn mowers and tree equipment also feature in the DPW equipment for borough maintenance.

Mr. Dicksen also went over the duties of the DPW. The DPW provides curbside garbage service for approximately 1,850 residential homes in the borough, which requires six staff members for each pickup. Brush and grass pickup also requires six staff members for the once-per-week service during the late spring through early fall. The DPW additionally performs infrastructure maintenance. This includes maintaining the storm-water sewer system, making sure the sewer system is clean and passes inspection, making pothole repairs, doing street and parking lot sweeps, maintaining parks around the borough and maintaining the Garwood Brook on the south side of the municipality.

Further, the DPW is in charge of landscape maintenance and de-ice/snow removal. For landscape maintenance, this means the DPW installs the mulch and flowers around all borough facilities and maintains the grass at various Garwood buildings. For the de-ice and snow removal, the DPW clears the sidewalks on all borough-owned properties and clears all school crossing-guard locations.

“I just wanted to thank you for all that you do for our department. Everybody in the department is really A-plus, fantastic job, and they really do it all here in Garwood,” said Mayor Sara Todisco. She asked that the presentation be available to the public on the borough website for future viewing.

Mayor Todisco gave her mayor’s report. She said that the president of the board of education, Tracey Roland, has requested $150,000 for the school from the PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) payment. The use of the PILOT funds coming from the Vermella project on South Avenue have yet to be determined. Mayor Todisco said that she wants more information from the board of education before coming to an agreement on the amount of money to be given to the school. “As I’ve said all along…I’m strongly committed to helping the school; I feel that that’s important. And I think it’s just a matter of figuring out the details and staying within the redevelopment law,” she said.

She also encouraged the public to come to a special meeting on the PILOT funds that will be held in Borough Hall on Monday, March 21. During this meeting, the public can ask questions about the PILOT funds, what the funds will be used for and other related questions. Members of the public also will be able to attend via Zoom if they can not attend in person.

Council President Jen Blumenstock said that Local Government Week will be celebrated for the first time in two years, from April 3 to April 9. Among the highlights during the week will be a breakfast with the mayor, the Easter egg scavenger hunt, and a bingo game hosted by the mayor and council. The Garwood Public Library will host some events as well. Council President Blumenstock said that the council additionally is trying to coordinate a “Students in Government” night for that week. The event list will be available on the Garwood website and Facebook page in the coming weeks.

The next council meeting will be held on Thursday, March 24, at Borough Hall. The meeting also will be broadcast on YouTube and Zoom for those who can not attend in person.

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